COLLEGE PARK (10/31/18) — Journalism veteran Marty Baron has led newsrooms to 14 Pulitzer Prizes, but it was Hollywood that made him famous.
In the Oscar-winning film “Spotlight,” Liev Schreiber shows how Baron — The Globe’s editor for more than a decade — led the investigation that exposed a decades-long sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. The real-life Baron, now executive editor of The Washington Post, will discuss the role of investigative journalism at a conversation on campus Thursday.
The Diamondback editor Ryan Romano and Capital News Service reporter Roxanne Ready, both Philip Merrill College of Journalism students, will interview Baron in Stamp Student Union’s Hoff Theater at 7:15 p.m. The discussion will follow a 4:45 p.m. screening of the 2015 movie. Free tickets are available at umdtickets.com.
“The most gratifying thing about ‘Spotlight’ is the impact it had,” Baron said in an interview. “The public gained insight into the importance of investigative reporting and what’s required to do it right. Publishers and media owners rededicated themselves to the journalistic mission of holding the powerful to account. Reporters and editors were reminded of the necessity of listening generously to those without power because they can have something vitally important to say.”
The Q&A and screening were organized by The Diamondback and Merrill College’s Howard Center for Investigative Journalism.
“Marty Baron’s internationally recognized commitment to watchdog reporting at The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and elsewhere makes him the perfect person to launch the new Howard Center speaker series,” Merrill College Dean Lucy A. Dalglish said. “We’re so grateful he’s visiting with our students, especially with the midterms less than a week away.”
Ready said she and Romano want to know how the story told in “Spotlight” would be presented differently in today’s higher-velocity news cycle. They also plan to ask Baron about violence against journalists, including the killing this month of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
“I’m hoping people can understand a little more about the difference between real news and fake news, and how much effort is put into investigative journalism,” Ready said. “I’m hoping they maybe can be a bit inspired by hearing what Marty has to say. I know I probably will be.”
“Spotlight,” like “All the President’s Men” a generation ago, may already be inspiring future journalists: At Merrill College, freshman enrollment is up 51 percent this fall.
“It’s wonderful to be able to talk about all that at the University of Maryland,” Baron said.