Welcome! The room is quickly filling up with journalism students, faculty members and the general public, all eager to hear Baron speak. Interest in this talk has been immense, as tickets are sold out and there is a waitlist and overflow room. It loos like tonight will be a full house!
Baron and Bresnahan were greeted with applause as they entered the stage and sat on the red chairs. Susan Harada, associate director for the School of Journalism and Communication, will give a formal introduction after watching a trailer for Spotlight.
Allan Thompson, associate professor of journalism at Carleton University, introduces Baron and Bresnahan. Thompson says Spotlight made him tear up, as it was both inspiration and saddening, representing a different era of journalism.
Baron says most devout Catholic followers focused their anger at those running the church, not at the faith itself or at the Globe.
Baron says investigative journalism is one of the most important things newsrooms can do, and not just for large newsroom. He emphasizes the importance of holding those in power accountable.
On a lighter note, Bresnahan asks Baron about the "resting bitchface phenomenon," an example of click-bait journalism. This leads to a discussion on the future of journalism.
On encouraging older journalists to embrace digital journalism: "you have to tell people 'this is where people are.' ... I'm not interested in dying gracefully ... why should we fail? We should succeed. We should be the ones who succeed."
Baron says main competition is Facebook and Google because of their ability to track users' Internet use. He also says they're companions to journalism. He sums them us as "frenemies," a complex combination of friend and enemy.
Bresnahan's final question before opening up audience questions focuses on job cuts in the industry. Baron says there is no one plan that will save journalism. He says there is no "moonshot," that one answer that 'solves' the challenges the industry currently faces.
Baron says baggage wheels were invented after the moon landing in 1969, but the former has had a bigger impact in our day-to-day life and drastically transformed the luggage industry. The message of this anecdote? The little things matter and can have a huge impact.
Craig Lord, fourth-year journalism student, asked Baron if Spotlight romanticizes investigative journalism. Baron said the film realistically portrays the difficulties journalists face in investigative reporting without rose-tinted glasses.
Information technology student asked Baron about journalism in the face of increasingly easy access to information. Baron jokes that someone once said to him that if Watergate happened today, finding out would be as simple as Googling it. He says that would be absurd, further emphasizing the importance of journalism to gather information.
Answering an audience question, Baron refers to comment sections as "sewers." He says it is important to be "more ambitious" with comment sections to help facilitate discussion.
Baron's advice to those starting out in journalism: "learn the basics, be curious about the world." Baron stresses importance of understanding new digital tools and how the business works.
Question period is over. Harada closes the event before attendees make their way to the reception in the River Building atrium.