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Marty Baron named Harvard Commencement speaker

Marty Baron named Harvard Commencement Speaker

Editor of nation's most influential newspapers will deliver Afternoon
Program address

February 18, 2020  –  Martin "Marty" Baron, widely regarded as one of
the leading newspaper editors of his era, will be the principal
speaker at the Afternoon Program of Harvard's 369th Commencement on
May 28, 2020.

"Marty Baron has led some of our nation's most respected newspapers
through a transformative time for American journalism," said Harvard
President Larry Bacow. "His distinguished career bespeaks a deep
commitment to the pursuit of truth and  to the vital role of a free
press in a democratic society. We look forward to welcoming him here
on Commencement Day."

Baron is executive editor of The Washington Post, managing its news
operations and  a staff of more than 850 journalists. During his
44-year career, he has led three of the nation's most influential
newspapers, held top posts in two others, and  shepherded his news
staffs to  16 Pulitzer Prizes.

A strong advocate for the vital role of newspapers in holding powerful
institutions accountable, Baron was awarded the 2019 Goldsmith Career
Award for Excellence in Journalism by the Shorenstein Center on Media,
Politics and  Public  Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. Accepting that
award, Baron highlighted the role of reporters as "activists only in
service of finding out the facts, and  finding out the truth."

In 2019, he guided The Washington Post in publishing The Afghanistan
Papers , a trove of previously undisclosed information and  insights
regarding the trajectory and  execution of America's longest war. And
in 2014, he oversaw groundbreaking reporting that uncovered
large-scale surveillance of civilians by the National Security Agency.
Since 2013, when Baron began leading the Post's newsroom, the
organization has won nine Pulitzer Prizes.

Baron was editor of The Boston Globe for more than 11 years, during
which it won six Pulitzers, for public  service, explanatory
journalism, national reporting, and  criticism. Most notably, the
Globe won the Pulitzer Prize for Public  Service in 2003 for its
wide-ranging investigation into the Catholic Church's pattern of
concealing sex abuse by clergy. The investigation and  its impact were
portrayed in the Academy Award-winning movie "Spotlight."

Before joining the Globe, Baron held senior editing positions at The
New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and  Miami Herald. Under his
leadership as executive editor, Miami Herald won the Pulitzer Prize
for Breaking News Coverage in 2001 for its reporting on the raid to
recover Elián González, the Cuban boy at the center of a fierce
immigration and  custody dispute. Baron began his journalism career at
Miami Herald in 1976 as a reporter.

As principal speaker at the Afternoon Program, Baron will address the
annual meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association, held in Harvard
Yard's Tercentenary Theatre between Widener Library and  the Memorial
Church. He also will be awarded an honorary degree.

"For decades, Marty Baron has pursued truth and  tirelessly championed
the role of journalism in enabling healthy democracy and  fact-based
discourse and  debate on critical issues around the world," said Alice
Hill, president of the Harvard Alumni Association.  "A bold and
decisive leader in his field, Marty's distinguished career has been
marked by determination, integrity, and   a willingness to listen to
the powerless and  too-often voiceless . He will both inspire and
engage our graduating students, Harvard alumni, and  our entire

Born in 1954, Baron was raised in Tampa. He graduated from Lehigh
University in 1976 with B.A. and  M.B.A. degrees. Some of his career
awards and  honors include  National Press Foundation Editor of the
Year, 2004;  inductee, American Academy of Arts and  Sciences, 2012;
award for public  leadership, University of Pennsylvania's Fels
Institute of Government, 2016; Carr Van And a Award for Excellence in
Journalism, E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, 2016; Benton Medal for
Distinguished Public  Service, University of Chicago, 2018; and  First
Amendment Award, Ford Hall Forum at Suffolk University, 2019.

Past Harvard Commencement speakers have included civil rights icon and
 U.S. Rep. John Lewis; former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright; entrepreneur and  talk show host Oprah Winfrey; author J.K.
Rowling; and , last year, German chancellor Angela Merkel.

For a full schedule of Commencement Week events, visit the
Commencement Office  website.



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