Tonight Carleton University’s School of Journalism and Communication will be hosting its 17th annual Kesterton Lecture. This year’s guests include Martin Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post, and CBC’s Robyn Bresnahan.
Before his position at the Post, Baron was an editor at the Boston Globe, spearheading the Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into sex abuse in the Catholic Church. The investigation has since been turned into an Academy Award nominated film “Spotlight”.
Tune in on tonight’s discussion on investigative journalism in the digital age and the story behind “Spotligtht”.
The Kesterton Lecture begins.
Spotlight is currently nominated for 6 Academy Awards:
Best Motion Picture of the Year
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Mark Ruffalo for the role of Mike Rezendes
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Rachel McAdams for the role of Sacha Pfeiffer
Best Achievement in Directing: Tom McCarthy
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen: Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy
Best Achievement in Editing: Tom McArdle
Professor Alan Thompson takes the podium to introduce the guest speakers.
Bresnahan asks whether there was ever any discussion that a story such as this one would cause a significant decrease in subscribers. Baron answers saying that the possible negative impacts were known but a discussion about subscribers was never brought up.
Besnahan asks what was going through Baron's head when the first story came out.
Baron speaks about the emphasis on digital journalism and the new building the Post has moved into. Baron says the the new building embraces all the new digital forms of journalism yet pays homage to the history of the newspaper.
Baron says the most serious competition to journalism nowadays are search engines such as Google and social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter. These sites profile their users and are able to cater to each person's personal interests by placing appropriate data and ads to gain their attention.
Baron jokes about how ridiculous the old business model of print is by breaking down each aspect down.
Bresnahan thanks Baron for the discussion and leads to the second aspect of the Kenserton Lecture. We are now moving onto the questioning period.
A 4th year Carleton journalism student asks whether the movie "Spotlight" romanticizes journalism and the work that journalists do. Baron responds by saying that he doesn't believe that it does however the movie actually shows how much hard work journalists do in acquiring their stories.
Bresnahan speaks on how many of the journalists who had to screen and listen to all the graphic details of the investigation later suffered from PTSD. Baron replies saying that he was unaware of this until after the fact, he says he would have sent them for treatment if he had known.
An audience member asks about the relationship between publisher and their editor.
Baron says that every institution will have a different relationship between the publisher and editor. He speaks on how he was lucky enough to have very supportive publishers in the past but there will always be instances where one will disagree with the other.
Randy Boswell, a Carleton journalism professor, asks about Baron's thoughts on on the split revenue sources and the challenges they present. He also poses the question if whether the different revenue streams require different types of journalism and journalists.
Baron replies that there is no perfect model but the revenue sources will always have to be split between ads and subscribers because neither can supply all of the revenue.
Susan Harada, Associate Directior of Carleton's School of Journalism and Communication concludes the Kesterton Lecture. She thanks Bresnahan and Baron as well as all those involved in the preparation of the lecture.