The editor of The Boston Globe is stepping down to take a position with The Washington Post.
Martin Baron, who has been the editor of the Globe since 2001, will be the new executive editor at the Post.
Baron joined the Globe just before one of the most significant events in recent U.S. history: the Sept. 11 attacks. When he announced to the staff Tuesday that he would be leaving, he recalled the newsroom's efforts during that time.
"We not only witnessed a national trauma, but I was able to witness the extraordinary efforts of everyone in this newsroom," Baron said. "It was just remarkable to see the selfless dedication of the staff of The Boston Globe. Going everywhere, doing everything, acting almost automatically in covering a story that was enormous, of course."
But the story that most defines Baron's leadership at the paper is exposing the clergy sex abuse scandal and the Catholic hierarchy that covered it up.
"He’s been able to accomplish great journalism under difficult circumstances."Lou Ureneck, BU journalism professor
"We’d like to think that eventually these thousands and thousands of predator priests and hundreds of complicit bishops would have been eventually been exposed," said David Clohessy, the national director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "But the simple fact is that no one had done it until Marty Baron came to the Globe and seized the opportunity and showed the courage and leadership to pursue this incredibly difficult but significant story."
Baron was the first Globe editor not promoted from within the paper's network and not from Massachusetts. Despite this, he quickly won loyalty, says Lou Ureneck, professor of journalism at Boston University.
"The reporters, the editors there, everyone who worked at the Globe saw how hard he worked and how serious he was, just personally serious about producing a great newspaper and that I think won everybody over to him," Ureneck said.
Like all newspaper editors over the past decade, Baron has had to contend with an erosion of the funding model for print journalism as more people got their news online. This has led to severe cuts in staff, salaries and benefits.
“He’s been able to accomplish great journalism under difficult circumstances,” Ureneck said.
Baron also oversaw the editorial operations of Boston.com, which now ranks among the nation’s largest newspaper websites.
Baron told his staff Tuesday that his departure is bittersweet.
"For me this has been the most fulfilling chapter of my professional career. It's just been extraordinary," Baron said.
The Globe says it will launch a national search for to replace Baron. Sources at the paper say there are also several strong internal candidates.
The current executive editor of the Post, Marcus Brauchli, is stepping down to become the vice president of The Washington Post Company, the paper said Tuesday.
This post was updated with Morning Edition feature content.
This article was originally published on November 13, 2012.
This program aired on November 13, 2012.