On 25 January 2017, the Rafael del Pino Foundation and the School of Communication of the University of Navarra organised the 5th edition of "Conversations with...", which featured the participation of Martin Baron, director of the Washington Post. Baron addressed a topic in which he is considered one of the leading experts: The future of traditional media.
Martin Baron began his career as a staff writer at the Miami Herald. At the Los Angeles Times he headed the Business section. His brilliant work led the New York Times to hire him in 1996 as associate editor. He spent eleven years as editor of the Boston Globe, winning a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for his investigation into the heinous sexual abuse of minors by priests of the Archdiocese of Boston. In January 2013, Martin Baron was appointed editor of the Washington Post. Shortly afterwards, on 5 August, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, bought the newspaper for 250 million dollars. Since then, Baron has been the man who lends credibility to the journalistic project that caused so much uncertainty at the time and which, three years later, has returned the Post to the first division of the world press.
On 25 January 2017, the Rafael del Pino Foundation and the Faculty of Communication of the University of Navarra organised the 5th edition of "Conversations with...", which featured the participation of Martin Baron, director of the Washington Post. Baron's intervention had two central themes: on the one hand, the relationship between the president of the United States, Donald Trump, and the media, with the implications that this has for the future of democracy, and, on the other, the future of the media in the face of the disruptive change that new technologies are causing. Baron recalled the disqualifications that Trump has directed at the media, of which he has said, according to Baron, that they are the enemy, that they are disgusting, that they are dishonest and that they spread false news. For this reason, the editor of the Washington Post, the newspaper that uncovered the Watergate scandal that cost Richard Nixon his presidency, suspects that Trump will try to put all kinds of obstacles and legal obstacles in their way in order to limit freedom of expression and of the press. He therefore believes that freedom of expression is at stake. For Baron, a possible hardening of relations between Trump and the press is a matter of great concern because the media play a central role in democracy, since democracy does not exist without freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Regardless of the relations between the White House and the media, the media are already suffering the consequences of a disruptive technological change that, in his opinion, will go even faster in the future. Now, the media are no longer competing only with each other; they also have to compete with social networks, YouTube, and so on. The scenario, therefore, is now completely new and different and the media have to adapt quickly to it. Today things have changed so much that the internet and social media are undermining the media's ability to influence. Worse for traditional media, new technologies allow anyone to get any information they want, anytime, anywhere, on any device. This poses a problem, because there are many people who only want to read information that is in line with their opinions, something that is very easy to do today precisely because of the new technologies, but which has the major drawback of preventing alternative news and opinions that might challenge people's views or worldviews from reaching them. This is a fundamental problem for democracy. Social networks shape the information we receive, spread stories to millions of people, and have become key competitors to traditional media. In this sense, it will be key for the survival of the media that they are able to quickly create new products for readers and advertisers.
The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for the comments, opinions or statements made by the people who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their sole responsibility. The contents included in the summary of this conference, written for the Rafael del Pino Foundation by Professor Emilio González, are the result of the debates held at the meeting held for this purpose at the Foundation and are the responsibility of the authors.
The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for any comments, opinions or statements made by third parties. In this respect, the FRP is not obliged to monitor the views expressed by such third parties who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their own responsibility. The contents included in the summary of this conference, written for the Rafael del Pino Foundation by Professor Emilio J. González, are the result of the discussions that took place during the conference organised for this purpose at the Foundation and are the sole responsibility of its authors.