Shalom Life | July 17, 2014

Jill Abramson Fired from the New York Times

The executive editor was abruptly fired yesterday, with the position being taken over by managing editor Dean Baquet

By: Peter Herriman

Published: May 15th, 2014 in News » World

Jill Abramson, the New York Times executive editor, was abruptly fired on Wednesday May 14th. Abramson’s job has been taken over by Managing Editor Dean Baquet and is effective immediately.

Abramson’s dismissal was met will shock on Wednesday. According to POLITICO, “Senior editors were unexpectedly summoned to a 2 p.m. leadership meeting at the Times headquarters in New York. The news was then announced in a staff-wide meeting by publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.”

In Sulzberger’s report, he stated that Abramson’s dismissal was due to “an issue with management in the newsroom,” and not a result of poor journalism during her tenure. Sulzberger stated that “I choose to appoint a new leader for our newsroom because I believe that new leadership will improve some aspects of the management of the newsroom.”

Even with Abramson’s achievements, tension between her and Sulzberger was evident in the workplace. Abramson was frustrated by the hands on approach by Baquet and Times CEO Mark Thompson, and she also angered Baquet, and subsequently Sulzberger by hiring an editor to work alongside Baquet to co-manage the position. Abramson did not inform Baquet of her plans.

According to POLITICO and the Times, Abramson was seen to be condescending to her staff, rarely engaged in office matters and was often absent from the office completely. To fix this past precedent of Abramson, Baquet stated, "I’ll be around. I’ll be hands-on. I’ll be walking the aisles. It’s the only way I know how to edit.” It seems that the New York Times is working towards a hands on approach, where it seems that Abramson had no approach at all.

This dismissal has led to speculation of other aspects of Abramson’s dismissal, such as a pay raise after she had learned that her male executives and predecessors had a higher salary. However, these accusations have been stated to be false by Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy who states, “Jill’s total compensation as executive editor was not less than Bill Keller’s, so that is just incorrect. Her pension benefit, like all Times employees, is based on her years of service and compensation. The pension benefit was frozen in 2009.”

Abramson’s dismissal has increased frustration among other female staff at the New York Times since she was the newspaper's first female executive editor and shares of the New York Times Company dropped by four-and-a-half percent by the news of her departure.

Sulzberger commended Abramson in a report after the meeting of Abramson’s dismissal, noting that her input was for “not just preserving and extending the excellence of our news report during her time as executive editor, but also for inspiring her colleagues to adjust their approach to how we deliver the news.”

It seems that the New York Times is working towards a new strategy for delivering the news, let us hope that this strategy goes accordingly without another abrupt dismissal.

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