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Dean Baquet becomes 1st African American Executive editor of The New York Times

The New York Times is largely known to report stories with a true perspective. But on March 25, when Tara Reade, a former Senate aide for Joseph R. Biden Jr., alleged over a podcast interview that Mr. Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, had sexually assaulted her in 1993, the New York Times did not publish the story right away. The New York Times took 19 days to report this accusation against Biden to the people of America. Was it politically motivated? There is only one person called Dean Baquet who can provide an answer – but right or wrong we will never know.  Glenn Greenwald, openly stated that Baquet had “a really disturbing history of practicing this form of journalism that is incredibly subservient to the American national security state”. Dean Baquet the American journalist, Pulitzer Prize winner and first African American executive editor of The New York Times is the force behind the 150 years old and third-most circulated American paper after USA Today and Wall Street Journal. However, his career story is strewn with acclaim and accusation.

In COVID19 Times

On April 1, 2020, when Dean Baquet was questioned about covering the major coronavirus story from New York City, a global hot spot for COVID-19 he said, “We are all actually living the story we are covering. We all have relatives and friends whose lives have been upended. Our own lives have been profoundly altered. That should make us empathetic and give us story ideas. Most importantly of all, it should remind us that we have to take care of ourselves and our own families.”

Dean Baquet and New York Times

Dean Baquet, is the first African American to work for the New York Times as executive editor.

Dean was known to be a hard-hitting investigative reporter. Hearing about his accomplishments, Joseph Lelyveld, Managing Editor, The New York Times, hired him in 1990 with the sole intention to write articles that would expose dealings between New York politicians and private businesses. Dean Baquet gave the NY Times what it needed. From exposing price-fixing in the dairy industry and money laundering at the Bank of Credit and Commerce International his research, reporting, and writing skills were becoming highly noticeable. Here he rose in the ranks to become special projects editor for the business desk in 1994 and the national editor in 1995.

But in 2000 Dean Baquet took up another role as the managing editor of Los Angeles Times reporting to Editor John Carroll. At Los Angeles Times, he served as Managing Editor from 2000 to 2005 when he became the Editor. During this period the newspaper won 13 Pulitzer Prizes. But in 2007 Dean was fired from the newspaper for openly criticizing Los Angeles Times on its budgets and staffing cuts.

Dean Baquet once again joined the New York Times in 2007 as assistant managing editor and Washington bureau chief.  In 2011, he became their managing editor. Later on May 14, 2014, he was named executive editor of The New York Times, a prized position.

Personal Life

Dean P. Baquet born on September 21, 1956, grew up with four other siblings in New Orleans, Louisiana. His father Edward Baquet was a New Orleans restaurateur while his mother Myrtle Romano Baquet also a restaurateur was known as the matriarch of New Orleans homestyle creole cuisine creating Eddie’s signature recipes.

In 1974, he completed his junior studies from St. Augustine High School. In 1978, while still studying for his majors in English at Columbia University, New York, he took up a summer internship with his hometown’s afternoon newspaper, the States-Item. From an intern to a permanent staffer, he became a journalist without completing his graduation.

In 1984, he joined the Chicago Tribune as deputy metropolitan editor and chief investigative reporter.

In September 1986, Baquet married writer Dylan Landis. They have a son named Ari.

Tulane University Honorary Doctor of Letters 2019 – Image credits: Facebook

Awards and honors

Dean Baquet has won numerous awards but glory came to him in 1988. In the year 1988 leading a 6-month investigation team into the Chicago, Illinois, City Council, he exposed the council for “their self-interest, corruption, and waste” receiving acclaim and winning the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in the same year.Dean Baquet shared the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Journalism with William Gaines and Ann Marie Lipinski, his colleagues at the Chicago Tribune.

His other notable awards and honors include –

1988

  • Peter Lisagor Award for investigative reporting.
  • The Chicago Tribune’s William H. Jones Award for Investigative Reporting

1989

  • The Chicago Tribune’s William H. Jones Award for Investigative Reporting

2013

  • Honorary degree from Loyola University New Orleans

2018

  • Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press’s Freedom of the Press Award

2019

  • Larry Foster Award for Integrity in Public Communication at the Arthur W. Page Center
  • Norman C. Francis Leadership Institute National Leadership Award for Excellence,
  • Named one of the “35 most powerful people in New York media” by The Hollywood Reporter.
  • Tulane University Honorary Doctor of Letters

2020

  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Xavier University of Louisiana
Image credits: The Hutchinson News

Dean Baquet and his investigative stories

Being an investigative journalist or the editor of a newspaper is no easy task. Dean Baquet has received criticism and credit. Some of which was reflected in,

  • 1994, Dean Baquet was once again the finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. This time he unearthed stories that exposed “fraud and mismanagement” at the largest U.S. non-profit health insurer Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New York.
  • 2003 while Arnold Schwarzenegger was a front-runner in the California elections Baquet through articles in Los Angeles Times, exposed him for sexually harassing over half a dozen women in Hollywood.
  • 2006 Brian Ross and Vic Walter of ABC News blamed Baquet and Los Angeles Times managing editor Douglas Frantz for coming under political pressure and killing the story that would have otherwise exposed NSA’s warrantless surveillance of American people.
  • 2019 Baquet who was formerly on the Board of Directors of the Committee to Protect Journalists spoke out against Donald Trump in November saying Trump has put “his reporters’ lives at risk”.

In today’s Times

The business of journalism has its own grey area. It is in this grey area that Dean Baquet emerged as the first Black American to become executive Editor and a figurehead in investigative reporting. Today people believe many stories, would have passed Americans and the world if it were not for persons like Dean Baquet. Another year to go before Dean Baquet retires from The New York Times. Whether he passes away into oblivion or brings us yet another exposé, only time will tell…..

Another report on Dean Baquet to follow then!

Image Credits: Benson Industries
http://doerlife.com
Rukshana is a freelance content and communication strategist based out of Mumbai, India. She mingles her expertise in PR with comprehensive domain knowledge and creative writing skills to assist and propagate business, worldwide. Being a quick learner, she utilizes her diversified digital expertise to provide copywriting and content writing services to create highly profitable brands, products, and services.

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