VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota, in conjunction with the Freedom Forum and Newseum Institute, will present veteran journalist and executive editor of The Washington Post Martin Baron with the 2017 Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in The Media at a ceremony in Washington D.C., June 19.
“Marty Baron exemplifies the qualities we strive to teach at USD,” said President James W. Abbott. “His skill in rigorous investigative journalism sets a high standard for those committed to accurately reporting the truth. We are proud to join the Newseum in presenting this award.”
Baron has been executive editor of The Washington Post since January 2013. Previously, he was editor at The Boston Globe from 2001 to 2012. While at the Globe, his investigative team’s coverage of the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic archdiocese of Boston earned the paper a Pulitzer Prize. The story behind the paper’s investigation was featured in the 2015 movie Spotlight, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.
Since Baron became executive editor of the Post in 2013, the paper has won numerous awards for its coverage, including Pulitzer Prizes for its reporting on killings by police officers, security lapses at the Secret Service, and secret surveillance programs by the National Security Agency. In 2012, Baron was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in The Media is named for the late USA TODAY, Freedom Forum and Newseum founder Al Neuharth, and is sponsored by the Freedom Forum, Newseum Institute and the University of South Dakota. Neuharth, a South Dakota native, graduated in 1950 from USD, which is now home to the Al Neuharth Media Center. Baron will be the 31st person to receive the Award for Excellence, which honors lifetime achievement in the media industry. Legendary CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite was the first honoree.
The award will be presented at an evening dinner during the weeklong Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference, an annual symposium at the Newseum that brings together 51 of the nation’s top high school students with an interest in journalism. Including this year’s class, more than 1,300 scholars have attended the program since it began in 1999. The conference, designed to inspire and encourage students to pursue journalism as a career, is funded by the Freedom Forum and Newseum Institute.