jill abramson

When news broke that New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson was being replaced, it was surprising in that she has only been in the position for three years.

It was more surprising when NPR and New Yorker reporters explained a big reason why: she had complained about unequal pay after she discovered she was being paid “considerably less” than the male editor, Bill Keller, that she had replaced.

Read more.

In this week’s issue: Ken Auletta profiles Jill Abramson, the first female editor of the New York Times; Jerome Groopman looks at advancements made in treating premature infants; Elizabeth Kolbert examines humankind’s exponential population growth as we near seven billion people on Earth; David Sedaris remembers his summers on the swim team; and more.

Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson (born 15 April 1990) is a British actress, model, and activist. Watson rose to prominence as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series, appearing in all eight Harry Potter films from 2001 to 2011.

Watson has promoted education for girls, visiting Bangladesh and Zambia to do so.In July 2014, she was appointed as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. In September that year, an admittedly nervous Watson delivered an address at UN Headquarters in New York City to launch the UN Women campaign HeForShe, which calls for men to advocate for gender equality. In that speech she said she began questioning gender-based assumptions at age eight when she was called “bossy” (a trait she has attributed to her being a “perfectionist”) whilst boys were not, and at 14 when she was “sexualised by certain elements of the press”. Watson’s speech also called feminism “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities” and declared that the perception of “man-hating” is something that “has to stop”. Watson later said she received threats within 12 hours of making the speech, which left her “raging. … If they were trying to put me off [of doing this work], it did the opposite”. In 2015, Malala Yousafzai told Watson she decided to call herself a feminist after hearing Watson’s speech.

Also in September, Watson made her first country visit as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador to Uruguay where she gave a speech highlighting the need for women’s political participation. In December, the Ms. Foundation for Women named Watson its Feminist Celebrity of 2014 following an online poll. Watson also gave a speech about gender equality in January 2015, at the World Economic Forum’s annual winter meeting. 

Former New York Times editor Jill Abramson noted Watson’s “gutsy, smart take on feminism” and called the effort to get men involved “refreshing”.[126]

Dean Baquet will succeed Jill Abramson at the Times, effective immediately.

Abramson and Baquet clashed last year over the quality of the paper’s coverage, in an argument that ended with Baquet slamming his hand into a wall and storming out, according to a report by Politico’s Dylan Byers. In that report, Byers catalogued a litany of complaints against Abramson by various anonymous Times insiders, a number of whom described her as stubborn, condescending, difficult to please and rude to underlings.

Lack of female sources in NY Times front-page stories highlights need for change

In an analysis of 352 front-page stories from the Times in January and February 2013, we found that Times reporters quoted 3.4 times as many male sources as female sources.

Read more at Poynter

If Jill Abramson were a man...

She’s a source of widespread frustration and anxiety who is demoralizing, uncaring, morale-draining, and very unpopular. He demands excellence and relevance.

She is difficult to work with, unreasonable, impossible, stubborn. He has a strong vision and insists on seeing it carried out.

She is AWOL and disengaged. He attended Sundance and SXSW.

She is not a naturally charismatic person, not approachable, tough as nails. He is direct.

She is brusque, blunt, and dismissive. He does not like to waste time.

She is uncaring, unable to march forward or provide reassurance, and doesn’t make people feel good. He is not your mommy. 

She is condescending. He is the boss.

Jill Abramson & the slickness of sexism

Lots of smart people have weighed in on Jill Abramson being fired from The New York Times, so I’m not going to rehash what’s already been said so well. But what strikes me as notable is that those who are skeptical - incredulous, even - over the role that sexism may have played in this seem to have a very limited understanding of what sexism actually looks like.

Sexism isn’t obvious and clumsy - it’s subtle and slick. Having a certain number of female editors or writers at the NYT does not make it an institution free from sexism any more than having Dean Baquet at the helm will mean an end to any racism at the paper. Representation is important, but it is not a cure-all. These issues are deeply entrenched and surface in ways that are not always immediately obvious - especially to those whose privileges afford them the ability to ignore any oppression that isn’t explicit and oafish.

Sexism operates more like a pickpocket than a mugger. You don’t always get punched in the face - instead you’ll be happily halfway home before you realize you’ve been robbed.

There is, in face, consistent proof of a Pink Pay Gap. A recent research report, ironically published in The New York Times, in March 2013, from the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress states that ‘gay and bisexual men earn less than their heterosexual counterparts, when controlling for education, industry, race and work experience.“

Nothing surprising, statistically speaking, and I often commiserate with my close female friends, many of whom fret about their own pitfalls along the rungs of the ubiquitous corporate ladder climb. And I’m left to ponder if it’s my big gay voice, or the way I dress, or the way I flail my hands during presentations that might put others off or deterred my ability to fit into the traditional executive mode. I call it personal passion, dedication, determination and commitment; others, higher ranking, may think differently.

—  Rainbow Ceilings and Pink Pay Gaps | Pete Dorogoff for the Huffington Post Gay Voices
Was everyone lying who said they were committed to equal pay? I came to believe not. It was worse than that. It became clear that we saw things differently. I saw two people whom I believed were doing the same work but being paid unequally. Those above me saw a story and a history, something that they thought caused the man to deserve higher pay: This one had just stepped down from a senior position and taken his higher pay with him. That one had been originally hired from a higher-paid organization. Yet another had been offered a job with a competitor. How many women in the past decade have been promoted past their peers only to see in the spreadsheets the sad evidence that their own stories were apparently not as persuasive?

Jill Abramson, a former investigative reporter and Washington bureau chief for The New York Times, will become the paper’s executive editor, succeeding Bill Keller, who is stepping down to become a full-time writer for the paper.

As managing editor since 2003, Ms. Abramson has been one of Mr. Keller’s two top deputies overseeing the entire newsroom. Her appointment was announced on Thursday by Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the paper’s publisher and the chairman of The New York Times Company.

Ms. Abramson said that as a born-and-raised New Yorker, she considered being named editor of The Times to be like “ascending to Valhalla.”

“In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion,” she said. “If The Times said it, it was the absolute truth.”

…Ms. Abramson will be the first woman to be editor in the paper’s 160-year history. “It’s meaningful to me,” she said of that distinction, adding, “You stand on the shoulders of those who came before you, and I couldn’t be prouder to be standing on Bill’s shoulders.”

When women are blunt, maybe it’s seen as ‘tough,’ but actually it’s just efficient. I worked for Anna for eleven years, and you can hem and haw and pretend to like something, but why? You’re just going to end up having six more meetings about it—and you’re going to demoralize someone over days as opposed to in a moment.
—  –Sally Singer on her old boss Anna Wintour, in The New Yorker’s profile of Jill Abramson. 
Some of the very qualities that make for great top-level editors, such as firm decision-making ability and willingness to stand up for your point of view against competing interests — are qualities that are often lauded in men and seen as overly abrasive in women,” said Ann Friedman, former deputy editor of The American Prospect. “I think it’s possible for male and female bosses to be both decisive and compassionate, both powerful and well-liked. But we are harder on women who don’t manage — or perhaps don’t even try — to be all of these things at once.
—  Politico quoted me in a story about Jill Abramson’s firing and journalism’s woman problem. I’ve got so much more to say about this.

After 15 Years, Fashion Critic Cathy Horyn Leaves The New York Times

The New York Times has officially announced that its chief fashion critic Cathy Horyn will retire from her position. According to a memo addressed to the newsroom from Executive Editor, Jill Abramson and Editor, Stuart Emmrich, Ms. Horyn will step down to spend more time with her partner Art Ortenberg, who is the widower of clothing designer Liz Claiborne. After heading over to The Times in 1998, Ms. Horyn stepped into her current role in 1999 and proceeded to make waves in the industry with her critique and commentary throughout the fashion world — earning both praise and her fair share of revoked invites. Ms. Horyn’s illustrious career as a fashion journalist saw her hold positions at Vanity Fair, The Washington Post and The Detroit News.

In recent months, Abramson has become a source of widespread frustration and anxiety within the Times newsroom. More than a dozen current and former members of the editorial staff, all of whom spoke to POLITICO on the condition of anonymity, described her as stubborn and condescending, saying they found her difficult to work with. If Baquet had burst out of the office in a huff, many said, it was likely because Abramson had been unreasonable.

Politico piece on how Jill Abramson, executive editor at the NYT, is “already on the verge of losing the support of the newsroom.”