By:
January 26, 2021

One of America’s great journalists is retiring.

Marty Baron, the esteemed editor of The Washington Post, told staff on Tuesday that he will retire next month.

In a memo to staff, Baron talked about his legendary career and said, “The experience has been deeply meaningful, enriched by colleagues who made me a better professional and a better person. At age 66, I feel ready to move on.”

His final day will be Feb. 28.

Baron joined The Washington Post as editor at the end of 2012. During his time there, he helped return the paper to glory, leading a newsroom that won 10 Pulitzer Prizes.

He wrote, “From the moment I arrived at The Post, I have sought to make an enduring contribution while giving back to a profession that has meant so much to me and that serves to safeguard democracy. It has been my honor to work alongside hundreds of journalists who make The Post an indispensable institution.”

New York Times media columnist Ben Smith tweeted, “The revival of the @washingtonpost over the last decade is one of the really great stories in US journalism.”

Before the Post, Baron was the editor of The Boston Globe. While there, the “Spotlight” investigative team wrote a series of blockbuster stories exposing sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic church. That became the subject of the 2015 film “Spotlight,” which won the Oscar for Best Picture. Baron was played by Liev Schreiber.

His career also included stops at the Miami Herald, Los Angeles Times and The New York Times.

Since Baron took over the Post, the newsroom has grown from 580 journalists to more than 1,000.

Tributes immediately flooded in.

Longtime Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten tweeted, “Marty  Baron, the executive editor of the Washpost, retired today.  He was a great editor, in the sense that the staff never for a second doubted his decisions were made b/c of anything other than integrity. He screwed me many times. I still respect him.”

Charles Pierce, who worked for Baron for seven years, wrote a piece for Esquire. Pierce wrote, “There is no newspaperman I admire more. In an era in which too many newsrooms are run by sycophants, beancounters, and corporate time-servers, Marty would walk through fire for his people, which is the only true measure of a great editor.”

In a note to staff, Washington Post publisher and CEO Fred Ryan said, “Although we have long known this day would come, it does not lessen the emotion we feel with news of Marty Baron‘s decision to retire.”

Ryan added, “Under Marty’s eight years of newsroom leadership, The Washington Post has experienced a dramatic resurgence and has soared to new journalistic heights. As Executive Editor, he has significantly expanded our coverage areas, inspired great reporting, managed an awesome digital transformation and grown the number of readers and subscribers to unprecedented levels.”

As far as what’s next for the Post and Baron’s replacement, Ryan wrote, “Marty has been thoughtful in his planning, which has allowed us to carefully discuss the timing of his retirement as well as the selection of a worthy successor. Please know that I view this as one of the most consequential responsibilities I will have as your publisher. The search will be a broad and inclusive one, considering both outstanding internal candidates as well as journalists at other publications with the vision and ability to build upon Marty’s success.”

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for Poynter.org. He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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  • In a world of cutbacks, Baron doubled his workforce and dominated the print feeds during his tenure. Best of luck to him in his retirement.