People are starting to pour into the River Building atrium as Conference Services and Faculty of Public Affairs staff set up for Martin Baron's arrival. Almost a dozen people are already seated with over an hour to go before the lecture begins.
30 minutes to go and the room is almost at capacity. There is a loud chatter throughout the room. Some people are catching up. Some are just making conversation. Either way, the excitement is blatant and palpable.
A diverse mix of journos, both young and old are mixed together tonight.. J-school alumni- easily recognized by their alumni jackets and their audible conversations - reminisce with each other as grads mingle and undergraduates type frantically, desperate not to miss anything for their live blogs.
As much as people are here to see Baron, this event is also an important one on the J-school social calendar. It is evident that people are here to see and be seen.
Alan Thompson is called on by Susan Harada to introduce Robyn Bresnahan and Marty Baron.
Not a seat is empty. Not a person is talking as Alan Thompson introduces Baron.
Robyn Bresnahan stole my question for Baron: What do you think of you as played by Liev Schreiber?
The lights dim unexpectedly on the room. They turn back on soon after. Nobody pays any mind. They're too focused on Marty Baron.
Robyn Bresnahan is reclined in her chair, legs crossed one over another. Marty is sitting legs apart, leaning forward with hands in his laps.
Baron says the promotional reception in Rome was warmer than anywhere else in the world.
Jeff Bezos insists that the Washington Post, a paper he owns, should cover Amazon, another company he owns, like it would cover anything else. Baron says they've done just that.
Baron jokes about how antiquated the daily press system would appear if it were proposed today. Light chuckles spread through the room.
Bresnahan asks if there is one thing that will save newspapers in reference to recent Post Media et al. cuts. Baron, simply put, says no.
Audience question period begins. People filter slowly over to the dual microphones to pick Baron's brain.
Baron says that he doesn't think Spotlight romanticize journalism.
Two lines have formed for people to ask questions. They're starting to press against the back walls.
In light of Edward Snowden, Baron says there is a lot of fear on the part of government officials to cooperate with journalists.
Baron schools an IT student on the difference between the wealth of information available online vs. the intensive labour required to gather that information properly and accurately.
Baron affirms the importance of a strong and loyal subscriber base.
Baron is visibly annoyed by a query that questions whether media corporations largely ignored or under-covered Bernie Sanders campaign. Baron says every candidate says the media is against them. He cites Trump's unexpected success despite the large perception that his campaign was a farce at the outset.
Baron assuages a first-year journo of the fear instilled by early J-School concerning the viability of the career in modern journalism.
Baron says that every audience needs to feel its paper is working for them and not for private interests.
A mass exodus begins to the open bar.