GROSS: But as a working journalist, as the executive editor of The Times, are you wrestling with any of the questions that he’s asking?
BAQUET: In a very, very different way. Here’s how I choose to wrestle with these questions. There is no question that we have a truly unusual figure who’s about to occupy the White House, who won the election, by the way. And he’s bringing along with him other truly unusual figures. My plan is to double down on explanatory and investigative reporting in the Washington bureau because I think we have to understand what happens when – what usually happens when unusual figures arrive in Washington, as somebody who’s spent a big chunk of his career in Washington, is really interesting things happen.
And I want to make sure we’re set up to cover that. I want to make sure that we are much more creative about beats out in the country so that we understand that anger and disconnectedness that people feel. And I think I use religion as an example because I was raised Catholic in New Orleans. I think that the New York-based and Washington-based too probably, media powerhouses don’t quite get religion. We have a fabulous religion writer, but she’s all alone. We don’t get religion. We don’t get the role of religion in people’s lives. And I think we can do much, much better. And I think there are things that we can be more creative about to understand the country.
That’s how I look at it. I now have two big jobs. Big job one is to cover the most compelling and unusual president we have had in my lifetime. Big job two is to really understand and explain the forces in America that led to Americans wanting a change so much that they were willing to select such a different figure for the White House. Those are my two big jobs.