I wanted to pull out something Laura said in a comment here:
Very few bosses in my 20-year career stood their ground to protect journalism. They wanted to protect their reputations and their pets, and the kind of journalism that enhanced their repuations. 2) Yet there were, in fact, Gus Hayneses, and I’ll name one name: Lynda Robinson, my editor for a time at the Sun, who had to flee for her own career, ended up at the Washington Post. She was kind, she was ethical and she had my back. In fact, when a story of mine was almost spiked on the grounds that it was mean-spirited — I wrote a piece about how local soup kitchens don’t need that much help on Thanksgiving or Christmas, but sure would appreciate some volunteers the other 363 days — she marched into the top editor’s office and said, “If this story doesn’t belong in the paper, then I don’t deserve to be an editor here.” Or words to that effect.
Because it goes to the heart of what comes across to me when I watch The Wire, and watch recent politics, and watch basically the whole world ever of late, which is that we seem to ask ourselves just how much we can suck and get away with it. We seem to tell ourselves a lot that we’re trapped creatures, that we’re hamstrung by this that or the other circumstance, that things are all beyond our control and so what we need to do is sit down and tell ourselves there was nothing we could do. And it’s not like there are tons of examples of things going the other way. Thieves get rich and saints get shot, to quote Mr. Sondheim. Dean Baquet refused to fire his reporters at the LA Times and just wound up fired himself. He was a hero, and rightly so, but it cost him dearly.