Thursday, November 09, 2006

Baquet ousted

Well, it's a good thing we journalists got a chance to talk with Dean Baquet, now former editor of The Los Angeles Times while we had the chance two weeks ago at the Associated Press Managing Editors luncheon in New Orleans.

When Baquet became executive editor last year, he made The Los Angeles Times the largest American newspaper ever to be led by a black journalist.

During the question-and-answer period at the APME luncheon, I asked Baquet to comment on where he thought the newspaper industry was in terms of its efforts to increase racial diversity. He indicated that he still needed to do a better job of understanding the experiences and perspectives of some of his reporters.

Baquet was let go just months after his publisher, John Carroll (Seen listening to Baquet in photo), was fired by the parent company, Tribune. The two refused to make further cost cuts at the paper that were demanded by the Chicago-based Tribune Company.

He recounted some lessons learned in the experience during his speech to fellow journalists at the APME Convention.

I wonder what he will do now.

Even though I only got to ask him a question in a public setting, I feel like Baquet represented other African-American male journalists like myself who are out there taking on the issue of diversity front-and-center. For him, his stance against Tribune cost him his job.

Still, I believe his willingness to stand on principles will GAIN HIM MORE than he will lose.

Stay tuned for the next chapter in this story.

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