The University will award the Benton Medal for Distinguished Public Service to Martin Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post. Baron will receive his honor at the University of Chicago’s 531st Convocation on June 9.
Baron is regarded as an influential leader in the field of investigative journalism, whose work reflects dedication to fact-based reporting around difficult or controversial issues, the responsibility to inform the public and the protection of freedom of the press. He is the 15th recipient of the Benton Medal, which recognizes people who have rendered distinguished public service in the field of education, including anyone who has contributed in a systematic and distinguished way to shaping minds and disseminating knowledge.
Baron oversees more than 800 journalists at The Washington Post. News organizations under his leadership have won 14 Pulitzer Prizes, including seven at The Post, six at The Boston Globe and one at The Miami Herald. In Boston, he launched an investigation of the Catholic Church’s cover-up of clergy sexual abuse that won the Pulitzer Prize for public service and was portrayed in the Academy Award-winning film Spotlight. He also held top posts at The New York Times and Los Angeles Times.
Baron is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was awarded the 2016 Hitchens Prize from the Dennis & Victoria Ross Foundation, which is bestowed upon a journalist or author whose work “reflects a commitment to free expression, a depth of intellect and an unswerving pursuit of the truth, without regard to personal or professional consequence.”
Nominations for the Benton Medal are submitted by members of the faculty, evaluated by the Committee on Awards and Prizes and voted upon by the Council of the University Senate.
The University President extends an invitation to Benton nominees to receive their medals during Convocation. The nominees also are invited to give a public lecture or workshop the following academic year.