Mar 27, 2017
Award to Be Presented by the Freedom Forum, Newseum Institute and the University of South Dakota on June 19
WASHINGTON — Veteran journalist and executive editor of The Washington Post Martin Baron is the recipient of the 2017 Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in The Media, to be presented June 19 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
Baron has been executive editor of The Washington Post since January 2013. Previously, he was editor at The Boston Globe from 2001 to 2012. While at the Globe, his investigative team’s coverage of the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic archdiocese of Boston earned the paper a Pulitzer Prize. The story behind the paper’s investigation was featured in the 2015 movie Spotlight, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.
Since Baron became executive editor of the Post in 2013, the paper has won numerous awards for its coverage, including Pulitzer Prizes for its reporting on killings by police officers, security lapses at the Secret Service, and secret surveillance programs by the National Security Agency. In 2012, Baron was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in The Media is named for the late USA TODAY, Freedom Forum and Newseum founder Al Neuharth, and is sponsored by the Freedom Forum, Newseum Institute and the University of South Dakota. Neuharth, a South Dakota native, graduated in 1950 from USD, which is now home to the Al Neuharth Media Center. Baron will be the 31st person to receive the Award for Excellence, which honors lifetime achievement in the media industry. Legendary CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite was the first honoree.
“We are honored to present Marty Baron with this award, which recognizes his career as a journalist devoted to uncovering truth and asking the tough questions,” said Gene Policinski, chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute. “The new Washington Post motto declares ‘Democracy Dies in Darkness,’ and it is journalists like Marty on whom we all depend to provide light.”
The award will be presented at an evening dinner during the weeklong Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference, an annual symposium at the Newseum that brings together 51 of the nation’s top high school students with an interest in journalism. The conference, designed to inspire and encourage students to pursue journalism as a career, began in 1999 and is funded by the Freedom Forum and Newseum Institute.
“USD is proud to join the Newseum Institute in honoring Marty Baron,” said James W. Abbott, president of USD. “His success in guiding journalistic investigations of important public issues exemplifies the qualities we teach aspiring journalists through the Department of Media and Journalism and the Al Neuharth Media Center.”
The Freedom Forum Institute is the education and outreach partner of the Freedom Forum and the Newseum. The Institute includes the First Amendment Center, the Religious Freedom Center, the Newseum’s education department and diversity and inclusion programs. The Freedom Forum Institute’s affiliate organizations include the Al Neuharth Media Center at the University of South Dakota; the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi; and the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University. The Freedom Forum Institute is a 501(c)(3) public charity funded by generous individuals, corporations and foundations, including its principal funder, the Freedom Forum.
The Freedom Forum, based in Washington, D.C., is a nonpartisan foundation that champions the First Amendment as a cornerstone of democracy, and is the principal funder of the Newseum and Newseum Institute. The Freedom Forum was established July 4, 1991, under the direction of founder Al Neuharth as successor to a foundation started in 1935 by newspaper publisher Frank E. Gannett. The Freedom Forum is not affiliated with Gannett Co. Its work is supported by income from an endowment of diversified assets.
Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 206 undergraduate and 66 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.