This is potentially a big story, and not a good one for the Boston Globe. Forbes media reporter Jeff Bercovici writes that Globe editor Marty Baron is among several people being wooed to replace Washington Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli. (Bercovici notes that Baron’s name had already come up in a gossip item in the Washingtonian.)
The combination of publisher Katharine Weymouth, granddaughter of the legendary Katharine Graham, and Brauchli, a former top editor at the Wall Street Journal, has not been a happy one, as I wrote in the Guardian in 2009. Despite continuing to produce great journalism, in recent years the Post has seemed lost at the top, and its status as a serious competitor to the New York Times is but a distant memory.
Baron, who has been editor of the Globe for more than 11 years, would, in my view, be a significant upgrade for the Post. He’s done a great job at the Globe, and has emerged as something of a conscience of the industry on the strength of speeches like this and this. Before coming to the Globe he’d been the top editor at the Miami Herald. But he’s also got significant experience at the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times, so he shouldn’t have any trouble adjusting to having more resources at his disposal.
Unfortunately, Baron’s departure would not be good at all for the Globe and those of us who read it every day. And it doesn’t help that it comes at a time when questions are swirling about how long the New York Times Co. intends to hang onto the paper.
Following the Globe’s crisis summer of 2009, when the Times Co. threatened to shut it down if the paper’s unions wouldn’t agree to $20 million in concessions, and when the paper was put on the market and then pulled back, it has enjoyed a period of calm and stability, especially compared to other large regional dailies.
It looks like that may be about to end.