City Desk

Washington Post Editor Martin Baron Is an Enigma

Pity the reporter tasked with covering Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baronhe's just too inscrutable. Today, National Journal reporter Chris Frates got a lesson in trying to profile the tight-lipped Baron.

Here's Frates on Baron's plans for the Post:

If Baron has a vision for the paper’s future—and almost certainly he had to offer one to Publisher Katharine Weymouth to be handed the helm—he’s loathe to discuss it. He’ll talk about his journalistic accomplishments, the mechanics of a good story. But as for fixing The Washington Post, he’s not about to admit that it’s even necessary.

And on how Baron's last job as the editor of the Boston Globe helped the Post's Boston bombing coverage:

“What did you make happen?”

“See, that’s what I don’t want to talk about.”

“You can’t tell me anything about what you did?”

“That’s your challenge,” he replied.

In other words, as one Post editor tells Frates, “People can find him hard to read."

Baron does talk about his online philosophy (accuracy over traffic) and any potential layoffs ("not out of the question"). There's also this curious dig against Baron, from an anonymous consultant talking about the paper's impact on the news cycle:

“From a strategy perspective of planning where we go, they’re not even in our top 10,” a Washington public-affairs consultant said of the paper. In fact, the consultant hadn’t even heard of Baron.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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