MAY 19 GUEST SPEAKER

Silurian Spotlight Set to Shine
On Legendary Editor Marty Baron

Marty Baron

PERHAPS THE SCREEN WON’T BE as large as it was when he was depicted in the 2015 Oscar-winning movie “Spotlight,” but on May 19, when Marty Baron is our guest at the next Silurian luncheon — a  ZOOM event — he is still likely to display the same star power that made him such an outstanding editor at newspapers in Miami, Boston and Washington, and made those papers magnets for Pulitzer Prizes.

Baron retired this year as executive editor of the Washington Post after guiding that paper for eight years, during which it snared 10 Pulitzers. Its most recent was in 2020 for a series on the effects of climate change.  

Announcing his retirement in a note to the Post staff on Feb. 28, he wrote, “At age 66, I feel ready to move on.” He is not, however, saying “thirty” to journalism. In an interview in the New York Times, where he was a top editor earlier in his career, he said, “I’ll try to stay active. I’ll try to stay involved in journalism and to continue to contribute to the profession.”

Already held in high esteem by his professional peers, Baron became known to a much wider audience when “Spotlight” opened. It took place when Baron was at the helm of the Boston Globe and guided the newspaper’s Spotlight team of investigative reporters to a startling exposé of decades-long sexual abuse by clergymen in the Roman Catholic Church in Boston — a particularly powerful institution in that city. It brought the Globe a public service Pulitzer in 2003, one of six awarded to the newspaper during Baron’s 11 years as top editor.

In the movie, Baron was portrayed by the actor Liev Schreiber, an experience he recounted in 2016, writing: “His depiction has me as a stoic, humorless, somewhat dour character that many professional colleagues instantly recognize (‘He nailed you’) and that my closest friends find not entirely familiar.”

Baron was raised in Tampa, Fla., by parents who had come from Israel. He attended Berkeley Prep School there and worked on the student paper. He went on to earn a BA in journalism and an MBA with honors at Lehigh University, where he became editor of its student newspaper. He graduated in 1976 and started his journalism career as a reporter at the Miami Herald. That was followed by top editing jobs at the Los Angeles Times in 1979 and the New York Times in 1996. In 2000, he returned to the Miami Herald as executive editor, capturing a Pulitzer for breaking news, and in January 2001, he was named executive editor of the Boston Globe. He oversaw a team of 28 Post journalists who produced a series that uncovered global surveillance efforts by the National Security Agency and won a public service Pulitzer in 2014 for a series based largely on classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden. Commenting on the ethical dilemma faced by news organizations in possession of classified documents, Baron defended his decision to reveal the contents: “Disclosing the massive expansion of the NSA’s surveillance network absolutely was a public service.”

While at the Post, Baron was the recipient of the 2016 Hitchens Prize, awarded annually to an author or journalist whose work “reflects a commitment to free expression and inquiry, a range and depth of intellect, and a willingness to pursue the truth without regard to personal or professional consequence.” In 2017, when he was presented with the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in Media, he was cited for “his skill in rigorous investigative journalism [that] sets a high standard for those committed to accurately reporting the truth.”

We know you’ll want to hear a lot more from Marty Baron when we have the pleasure of his company in May, so keep an eye peeled for an email from Silurian president Michael Serrill for the necessary information that will allow you to take part.

The date:   May 19, 2021.                              
The time:   Noon.                                                                                               
The place: Your ZOOM device.

Please join us. 

Silurian Contingency Fund: Help
Is Available for Journalists in Need

For more than 60 years, the Silurian Contingency Fund has been providing grants to New York metropolitan area journalists facing financial hardship. All present and former New York City journalists who can demonstrate need are eligible for grants from the fund. Members of the Silurians Press Club will be given priority.

All transactions — including the identities of the recipients — are strictly confidential and known only to the directors of the fund, which operates independently from the Silurians Press Club. The fund, whose formal name is the George E. Sokolsky Silurian Contingency Fund after its first chairman, is administered by a four-person Board of Directors, all members of the Silurians. Steven Marcus is president. The other directors are Mark Liff, Kevin Noblet and Michael Serrill, who as president of the Silurians Press Club serves in an ex-officio capacity. The board members evaluate applications for grants and determine eligibility and the amount of the grants.

Grants have historically ranged up to $1,000. To apply, contact Steven Marcus at steven.b.marcus@gmail.com.

If you want to contribute to the fund, also contact Steve. The fund is certified by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501 (c) (3) charity, so contributions are tax deductible. Contributions should be made payable to the George E. Sokolsky Silurian Contingency Fund and sent to Steve at 160 West 96th St., Apt. 15M, New York, NY 10025.

NEW SILURIAN OFFICERS FOR 2020-21

Michael S. Serrill Named President,
Joseph Berger Editor of Silurian News

Michael Serrill

MICHAEL S. SERRILL, A VETERAN journalist and former foreign editor, has been named the 72nd president of the Silurians Press Club, heading a new lineup of officers for the 2020-21 season. Serrill succeeds David A. Andelman, who returns to the Board of Governors following a sterling two-year term as president.

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75TH SILURIANS AWARDS GALA
A Dazzling Display of Journalistic Talent,
But If You Missed It, It’s All on YouTube

If you missed seeing the Silurians’ Excellence in Journalism Awards Gala, held on the evening of June 24, do not despair. And if you were there and can’t wait to see it again, there’s good news for you, too.

It’s available at this very moment on YouTube.

Simply click on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrpOT0NGIZ4&feature=youtu.be and settle back for a splendid 90-minute presentation of the Silurians’ 75th anniversary gala in which the best of New York City’s journalism was put on dazzling display.

It was virtual, but it was vibrant, and you will see every aspect of the gala evening, including:
• Tom Brokaw’s stirring keynote address on the role of a free press in today’s challenging climate.
• Comments from many of the evening’s winners, who revealed behind-the-scenes details of how their stories were put together.
• Excerpts of some of the prize-winning entries from print and broadcast media.
• The “passing of the gavel” from president David A. Andelman, who concluded a splendid two years in that role, to Michael Serrill, our incoming president.

The evening’s activities were presided over by Andelman and they put an emphatic exclamation point to his two years in office. Jack Deacy was again our Awards chairman, ably assisted by Silurians Aileen Jacobson, Allan Dodds Frank and Scotti Williston as well as our indefatigable intern, Ben Long.

For a complete list of individuals and news organizations that were honored with Medallions or Certificates of Merit, see story below.

2020 Silurians Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards

New York Times, Newsday Take Top Honors
At 75th Anniversary Awards Competition

A THREE-YEAR INVESTIGATION by Newsday that documented widespread housing discrimination on Long Island and an extraordinary photo essay by New York Times photographers that captured the excitement of a summer full of New York City block parties won The President’s Choice Awards — top honors in the 75th Anniversary Excellence In Journalism Awards conducted by the Silurians Press Club. The awards honored outstanding work in print, broadcast and digital media during 2019.

Newsday reporters and trained investigators spent three years uncovering evidence of widespread discriminatory treatment of home-hunting minorities by agents associated with the largest and best known residential brokerage companies on Long Island. Newsday’s 45,000 word, 16-part report found that agents accommodated white potential buyers but denied equal service to minorities, directing white and minority buyers to different neighborhoods and warning white buyers to avoid the schools in predominantly minority communities. The study found that black home buyers received disparate treatment by agents 49 percent of the time. For Hispanics, the rate was 39 percent and for Asians, 19 percent. The series, called “Long Island Divided,” included more than 35 video elements that ranged from undercover segments contrasting how agents treated white and minority home buyers to a 40-minute documentary, “Testing the Divide.” It told the story behind the story and placed the findings in the context of Long Island’s troubled racial history. The Newsday report generated action within days of publication from the highest levels of federal, state and county governments that led to significant reforms.

The New York Times also garnered a President’s Choice Award for its special photo and text essay, “The New York City Block Party.” During the summer of 2019, The Times dispatched 20 of its photographers to attend and record 65 block parties throughout the five boroughs. The result: an extraordinary series of photographs that captured the joy of New Yorkers celebrating their block and their neighbors with a day of food, music, dancing and camaraderie.

Presentation of the awards, originally planned for May 13 at New York’s National Arts Club, were postponed because of the coronavirus spread and are now scheduled for Wednesday, June 24, at 7 p.m. Instead of a traditional dinner, the event will be “virtual,” conducted over Zoom. Tom Brokaw of NBC News will deliver the keynote address.

“This year’s Excellence in Journalism Awards come at a most challenging moment for our profession,” said David A. Andelman, president of The Silurians Press Club. ”In our first Zoom awards gala, it is our privilege to recognize an extraordinary collection of the best and brightest, paying tribute to all those who each day give so much of their talent and energy to keep us informed and in touch with our world.”

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