The managing editor and columnist of Baltimore’s City Paper and author, Baynard Woods, came to the Towson campus to talk about feature stories amongst other things.
Truth be told I’ve only ever heard his name from one of my past professors, Benn Ray. Ray once mentioned him when talking about the Baltimore Sun acquiring the city paper around this time last year.
Unlike our first speaker, Woods immediately took control of the floor. His voice was loud and passionate. I have to say he is exactly how I always pictured a journalist to be.
“You shouldn’t be writing if you don’t want to be better than everyone in the fucking world!” Baynard says throwing his arms. He said this same phrase in about five different ways.
As much as I agree with this, I also believe to be a good writer you should have a passion for telling people the truth and what they need to know. You also have to know when to be productively annoying and have a relentless curiosity.
Baynard remarks that journalists should also have a voice and a vision.
As he speaks it seems as though his thoughts are racing. Perhaps because he has so much experience he struggles to find the best example to explain. Or there are probably too many thoughts in his head to keep in order.
Ten years ago he was a philosophy professor here at Towson. His master’s degree was in ancient philosophy after all.
I have a minor in international studies and because of this I take a lot of Spanish and literature classes and although most believe both of these subjects can never help me with reporting; However, Baynard unintentionally explained that having a vast knowledge of subjects can help you in any way.
Baynard often referenced Socrates, his ideals and how he relates to the objectivity that journalists strive for. He even mentioned Kierkegaard, who I often study in literature for his essentialist ideals, and how he felt about journalists and journalism.
His experience and knowledge was impressive.
Baynard may seem too intense or vehement to some, but I believe his passion for honest and to have a worldly understanding shows what kind of journalist he is: the best kind.