Times editor defends journalism, quest for truth – The Detroit News
In an age when accusations of âfake newsâ abound, journalism is still a major medium that seeks truth â a role that aspiring professionals in the field must remember, the top editor at the New York Times said Friday night.
âJournalism right now is more important than itâs been in a long time,â New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet said after being honored at Wayne State University. âWe have an assault on âfake news.â A lot of politicians donât tell the truth. People are divided. … Itâs important for journalists today to understand that truth is the most important thing.â
The pursuit of facts and shedding light on serious developments were recurring themes at the 2017 Journalism Institute for Media Diversityâs Spirit of Diversity Awards.
Baquet was honored during the event at St. Andrewâs Hall on the Wayne State campus along with Bridge Magazine reporter Chastity Pratt Dawsey and several scholarship awardees.
The institute trains students for media careers and offers scholarships to study journalism, public relations or radio and television production at the university.
Many who spoke at the reception reminded the roughly 100 attendees that Baquet, Pratt Dawsey and others working in the profession today endeavor to inform the public, regardless of challenges.
âThe news they produce is real news, not fake news,â said Matt Seeger, dean at the WSU College of Fine Performing and Communication Arts.
Baquetâs newspaper is among the media outlets President Donald Trump has dubbed âfake news.â
Amid other criticism of the press, Trump has also repeatedly referred to the New York Times as âfailing.â
Despite the accusations, Baquet â a Pulitzer Prize winner for investigative reporting who has been the Timesâ executive editor since 2014 â said some in the public still support journalistsâ work.
âWhen weâre under assault, people really and truly want us to succeed,â Baquet said, after receiving his award. âThey truly want us to be independent and fair.â
After meeting Baquet on Friday, Wayne State junior Aleanna Siacon felt more inspired on her path to becoming a journalist.
âWe have an opportunity to do unprecedented things in an unprecedented climate as student journalists,â she said.
Earning the Working in the Spirit of Diversity Award was Pratt Dawsey, who covers Michigan cities and urban affairs for Bridge magazine. She previously reported for the Detroit Free Press.
In a program booklet at the dinner Friday, the Journalism Institute for Media Diversity described her as having âbroken many of the biggest stories regarding education in the stateâs largest city over the past decade. Her work has resulted in the removal of superintendents, the jailing of corrupt officials and the demolition of blight around schools.â
A commitment to others drives her work, said Alicia Nails, the instituteâs director. âSheâs what journalism is all about.â
In her acceptance remarks, Pratt Dawsey reflected on advice she received earlier in her career to âjust do the work.â
âIâm just trying to do the work,â she said, adding that she aims to help improve Detroit through her coverage at Bridge.