Dean Baquet, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, who until recently served as executive editor of the New York Times, will receive the Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award at the 47th Murrow Symposium, where he will also deliver the keynote address on April 4, 2023.
For more than 47 years, Baquet has had a dramatic impact on the American news media. Born and raised in the Tremé district of New Orleans, Baquet began his career as an intern for what was then the New Orleans States-Item (later the New Orleans Times-Picayune), eventually earning a full-time post as a reporter.
In 1984, he joined the Chicago Tribune, where in 1988 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for his seven-part series on corruption in the city council. For many, that would have been the highlight of their career, but there was more in store for Dean Baquet. In 1990 Baquet joined the Metro Desk at the New York Times where he transitioned from reporter to editor.
In 2000, he joined the Los Angeles Times as managing editor eventually becoming the first Black person to serve in the top editorial post at the Times. In 2006, Baquet risked his career when he criticized the paper’s parent company for significantly cutting newsroom positions. He chose to be fired rather than concede to what he saw as the destruction of the profession.
Fortunately, The New York Times was quick to bring Baquet back into its fold. Initially, he served as Washington Bureau chief and eventually he served as the paper’s executive editor. During his tenure in The Times’ highest editorial position, Baquet managed a variety of difficult and ground-breaking stories, including the reporting of Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey concerning sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein, and the controversies over ‘fake-news’ and reporter safety during the Donald Trump presidency.
Baquet also oversaw The Times’ growth in both circulation and respect when print media circulation suffered steep declines nationally. His work helped ensure that The New York Times maintained its position as a thriving cornerstone of a significant force in global media. Under his leadership, The Times received 18 Pulitzer Prizes and saw its circulation rise to more than 9 million subscriptions. In a changing world, Baquet has worked to ensure that the fourth estate has grown and prospered.
In addition to his Pulitzer and the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award, Baquet has been the personal recipient of various other accolades, including the Peter Lisagor Award for Investigative Reporting, the William H. Jones Award for Investigative Reporting, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press’ Freedom of the Press Award, the Larry Foster Award for Integrity in Public Communication, the Norman C. Francis Leadership Institute National Leadership Award for Excellence, and the National Press Foundation’s the Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year Award.
Now, after countless accolades and successes, Dean Baquet has stepped down as executive editor to lead The New York Times’ local investigative Times fellowship, a new initiative to help fight against the growing crisis in local news and cultivate the kind of watchdog reporting where he got his start.