MEDIA MATTERS
DEAN BAQUET PRAISES "1619 PROJECT" AS HE STEPS DOWN
<b> DEAN BAQUET PRAISES "1619 PROJECT" AS HE STEPS DOWN</b>
"THE END OF AN ERA: DEAN BAQUET (LEFT), NEW YORK TIMES' FIRST BLACK EXECUTIVE EDITOR STEPPING DOWN.
By: Richard Prince, Journal-isms
N2Entertainment.net

Dean Baquet's eight-year tenure as executive editor of The New York Times — he is the first African American in the role — is expected to conclude in June.

Baquet (Left) will be succeeded by Joseph F. Kahn, (Right) a Pulitzer Prize-winning China correspondent who rose to lead the international desk and then became managing editor.

Two years into Baquet's tenure as top editor, then-public editor Liz Spayd blasted the “blinding whiteness” of the newsroom. Asked recently by Journal-isms what he would say today, Baquet pointed to “the 1619 Project,” published in 2019 on his watch.

"Today I would say we are a much more diverse newsroom, with a much more diverse leadership team," he messaged. Of course we have work to do. But I’m not sure another newsroom could have produced the 1619 project, which is one of the most ambitious works of journalism anyone has published."

"The 1619 Project" creator, Nikole Hannah-Jones, replied on Twitter, "I haven't told this story much, but I never aspired to work at the NYT. I simply didn’t dream that big and so never even applied here.Then one day Dean Baquet called me in and convinced me it should be my home. Proud to have worked for the first Black editor of the NYT. An era ends.”

Responding to a request, Baquet also listed journalists of color with leading positions in his newsroom: Marc Lacey, promoted to assistant managing editor, specializing in the Times’ live digital report; Monica Drake, an assistant managing editor, overseeing new digital features and projects; Randy Archibold, sports editor; Gilbert Cruz, culture editor; Jia Lynn Yang, national editor; deputy foreign editor Greg Winter; Nikita Stewart, real estate editor; Hanya Yanagihara, editor in chief of T Magazine, and “probably others I’m forgetting.”

Mr. Baquet — who, at 65, has reached the traditional age when executive editors at The Times step down — declined in an interview to comment on his plans.

In a memo Publisher A.G. Sulzberger wrote only that Baquet “will remain at The Times to lead an exciting new venture.”

“The first Black executive editor of The Times, Mr. Baquet urged his journalists to pursue investigations that could yield the highest possible impact, said Sulzberger. "He helped steer exposes of Mr. Trump’s decades-long tax avoidance and the sexual misconduct of the Fox News star Bill O'Reilly and the Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, reporting that helped usher in a sea change in global attitudes toward workplace behavior.

During Mr. Baquet’s tenure, readership swelled to roughly 10 million digital subscribers, from 966,000 in early 2014, as Mr. Sulzberger sought to reduce the paper’s reliance on a collapsing advertising market and emphasize revenue from paid subscriptions to the company’s digital products. Sulzberter, too, mentioned ‘1619’ among Baquet’s accomplishments.

"In the last eight years, Dean has fearlessly led The Times through an unbelievably challenging and consequential period, from guiding our transformation into a truly digital newsroom to confronting the escalating pressures on independent journalism to keeping pace with a historic flood of giant news stories," said Sulzberter. "At the same time, Dean built the strongest investigative reporting operation on earth and oversaw a bounty of journalism that repeatedly changed the national conversation, from #MeToo, to 'The Daily,' to the "1619 Project," to our coverage of the Trump administration, COVID pandemic and conflict in Ukraine. . . ."

The news story added that "Mr. Baquet also navigated controversies inside and outside the paper."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Washington Post journalist Richard Prince occasionally submits his column "Journal-isms" to "Media Matters." Prince's "Journal-isms" originates from Washington, D.C. To check out Prince's complete "Journal-ism's" columns log on to: http://mije.org.

Photo Credit: Celeste Sloma for The New York Times.