Dean Baquet: ‘Journalism Is Better Than it Ever Was’

New York Times executive editor sounds a note of optimism in New York magazine cover story.

NYMagJuly25August7CoverThe title of New York magazine’s cover story is “The Case Against the Media. By The Media.” But one of the people not making that case is New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet.

The first quote pulled from Baquet’s interview and dropped into the main article is about the unnatural tone of discourse promulgated by cable news. But if you click into the full transcript of Baquet’s conversation with national affairs editor Gabriel Sherman, it’s a different story. Baquet reminds that reporters and outlets are “20 times more widely” read today than before, and also marvels at what today’s media landscape allows for. On both sides:

“So, I grew up in New Orleans in a working-class family, and I had access to two newspapers. An afternoon newspaper and a morning newspaper. That same kid growing up in New Orleans right now, assuming he has access to a computer, can read the Guardian for free, can read newspapers and news reports in many languages, often for free, can read Facebook, can look at video, has access to the world, can see art that’s in the Museum of Modern Art on his phone, this vivid reproduction, for free.”

“Put aside — the crisis we’re in is a crisis about the institutions like The New York Times and the Washington Post that deliver news. But in terms of the quality of journalism, man, I came in last week to help run coverage of what happened in Texas, and I could call up the editor of the video unit and ask for a video. That is not a world I grew up in. That is stunningly better. It’s just better. Journalism is better than it ever was.”

Baquet also disputes the notion that the media is responsible for the rise of Donald Trump. Read those thoughts here. For anyone interested in the machinations of the media, New York’s newest issue is essential beach reading.