Marty Baron stories dwell on cuts at The Washington Post

Boston Globe Editor Marty Baron is The Washington Post's incoming executive editor. Profiles and accounts of his ascendance all praise his journalism career, then rue the cuts that presumably face him.

• “I’m not bringing in Marty to make cuts," Post publisher Katharine Weymouth told the Post's Paul Farhi. "He’s managed to trim his staff without trimming the ambitions of the journalism he produces," New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson says. Under Brauchli's tenure, Farhi reports, the Post's "budget shrank by about 30 percent" while the "newsroom staff was cut by 40 percent."

• In a piece that mostly discusses Baron's tremendous journalism bona fides, Baron tells the Post's Steven Mufson "All news organizations are under tremendous financial pressure.”

“I wish I could make that go away. The best I can do is work with the resources I’m provided. The resources will depend on the revenues of the company.”

Baron also tells him about the time he dramatically underestimated how much it would cost to audit the 2000 Florida presidential recount:

The recount ended up costing $850,000, far more than Baron’s initial $250,000 estimate, though he avoided the wrath of Knight Ridder chief executive Tony Ridder and the Herald’s then-publisher, Alberto Ibarguen.

“By the grace of God, Tony, and Alberto, I wasn’t fired for being so wildly off on the estimate,” Baron wrote Mufson in an e-mail.

• Baron tells The New York Times “There isn’t a news organization that isn’t facing significant financial pressures."

I’ve worked with many different publishers. I worked with three here at The Boston Globe. It’s an important relationship. It’s not always an easy relationship. At times, there can be moments of tension. But we certainly have to share our goals and be compatible and everyone needs to work at that.”

• Jack Shafer traces the paper's history back to the days when its "biggest problem was finding something to spend all that money on" and writes "right-sizing the Post to fit the new economic realities was part of the job description when Post Publisher Katharine Weymouth was shopping for an editor to replace Downie."

It’s the Post‘s transition from fat to slim that will be Brauchli’s legacy, not the journalistic accomplishments during his watch that he briefly tallies in his statement to the Post staff.

"Presumably, Weymouth will have a more harmonious budgetary relationship with Baron," he writes.

• Erik Wemple writes that "by virtue of its business model, the Post is a regional newspaper, with all the grim implications for newsroom resources." It's far more like The Boston Globe than The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal, even if all three "chase the same stories."

Related: Katharine Weymouth says stepping down was Brauchli’s decision | "Baron is an unusual breed of cat," Peter Kadzis writes, saying he's "capable of internalizing the ever-shrinking financial resources available to running a newsroom without losing his soul - or turning into a front-office patsy" (The Phoenix)

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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