A Nice Surprise From Dean Baquet

I can speak for almost anybody when I say that when I heard Dean Baquet speak in the Foster-Forman Conference on the 29th, I walked out of there with a uplifting feeling that the field of journalism is not a just a field that is fading, but one that is rising.  The way that Baquet spoke about the future of journalism was revitalizing to a young journalist in the making because of his optimism towards the future of the field. It was nice assurance to know that my career could blossom when he said, BaquetDean “This is a great time to enter the world of journalism”. Especially in economic times like these, for the managing editor of the New York Times to say that is reassuring.

One thing that really caught my attention during Baquet’s speech is when he spoke about what his biggest fear would be in the field of journalism. “My biggest fear and only fear with the ability to do things unimaginable. It won’t be the newspaper that will die, the craft of reporting and witnessing will be lost.  I learned to report by trial and error.” I took this comment as an important aspect to pay attention to while growing as a journalist. He surfaces a valid point; us journalists need to be eager, and prepared witnesses in the midst of the action.  That is when we can truthfully report a respectable analysis, and not just sitting in a desk chair waiting for a phone call.

I walked into the Foster- Forman conference with one big misconception about the field of journalism. I viewed journalism as a very competitive field. I thought that ethics were completely thrown out the window when it came to who reported the best story first. When Baquet answered a question regarding whether to publish or not to publish a debatable topic with immense competition. He responded by saying “ Your ethics are your ethics…if your competition choses to do it; that’s their ethics… if you change your ethics nobody will know who are you”.  After Baquet answered this question, it put a smile on my face. It is really great thing to know that a paper as big as The New York Timesdoes not throw their morals our the window, they stay true to what they believe is the right news to report whether their competitor may report it instead of them or not.

Baquet came into the conference, spoke about many journalistic values and what we have to look forward to in our careers as journalists. It was a great conference to listen to, especially to stay enthusiastic about the forthcoming events in my career.

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6 thoughts on “A Nice Surprise From Dean Baquet

  1. When listening to the speech, and trying to, as quickly as possible, write quotes and topics, I somehow lost what Dean said about his fears in journalism. It’s a great point that we may not get to experience some of the struggles and trial-and-error situations that Baquet did when he was first starting out in the field of journalism. There’s something that we need to learn as journalists, and that’s that we will have to learn on the spot. The other part of your blog I enjoyed was that “Ethics are ethics,” and we have to know that we must stick to our ethics even in the thick of major problems. You must use your ethics in order to maintain a certain credibility to your writing. If you lose your ethics in different situations, you will never be able to be taken seriously as a journalist.

    • I know, sometimes we forget that our technology advances may not necessarily be the best thing for trial and error aspect of the field of journalism. It’s good to keep in mind though and make sure that we apply that to when we are in the field of journalism!

  2. Hi Izzy,
    I had the same “uplifting” feelings that you did leaving the conference. Baquet was a natural speaker; he reminded me why we all want to be in this career and why we work so hard now to learn about this amazing craft. I also agree with what you said about taking Baquets words into account while growing into a journalist. He said he learned most by “trial and error”, hopefully by sharing his experiences with us we can learn from his mistakes and avoid them in the future. It truly is refreshing to hear someone so high up value personal ethics so much in a typically competitive industry. Ethics are the most important part of journalism, it shows character and credibility and without either of those things you are nothing in the world of journalism.

    • Hi Kristina,
      Ethics are definitely one of the most important aspects of journalism, you have to be able to stand by your ethics or else you lose who you are, whether the your component may report the story or not. It is definitely refreshing to hear all of this, it makes going into journalism that much more exciting.

  3. I completely agree with you about having an uplifting feeling from listening to him speak and I’m not even a journalist major! Your quote in the second point really help validate his positivity during the entire conference. Good job! I feel that Baquet made his speech positive because he wanted to provide the audience with enlightenment that will carry over to the questions he asked. I feel that this worked because there were so many good questions!

    • Thank you! Trial and error really is a huge aspect of journalism and we need to be able to understand that even throughout our technology advances because that’s the best way to actually gather information for a report

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