At the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists on Tuesday, June 5, on the 20th floor of the Yale Club, awards judge and former Los Angeles Times editor Dean Baquet proclaimed himself delighted with his return to The New York Times, where he is now Washington bureau chief. “It’s great to be dealing with reporters more directly every day, which is hard to do as the editor of a whole paper,” he said after lunching on salmon and gazpacho. “It’s good to be able to click off the part of your brain that deals with the economics of newspapers a little bit and just focus on coverage. And I just think that The New York Times, right now, is just doing great stuff. It feels good to be there.
And what if Rupert Murdoch succeeds in buying Dow Jones and Co,? “The competition would be great!” Mr. Baquet said, beaming. “I’ll use that as an excuse to get more people in our Washington bureau, so take that down.” Yes, sir!
Retired NBC anchor Tom Brokaw was present as a judge of the Livingstons—or the Livvys, as we like to call them. “I think it looks like it will [go through],” he said of Mr. Murdoch’s $5 billion bid. “I have no inside knowledge of knowing. Rupert has a long history of getting what he wants.”
Former Livingston recipient Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s chief international correspondent, did not want to comment on the bid, but she did have a lot to say about whether journalism is moving in an O.K. direction. “I think it is, as long as people continue to understand what journalism is,” she said. “Look, I believe that we are a profession. We’re not just a free-for-all, anything goes. Anybody who can write with a pen or do a blog doesn’t necessarily have the right to call themselves a journalist. It’s a profession that we work hard to uphold its traditions, to uphold its standards … rather than just some sort of easy-come, easy-go platform to spout your opinions or what you feel on any particular day.”