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Abramson’s Exit at The Times Puts Tensions on Display -


z3bo77mwfuz7ll7fd9z0_reasonably_small.jpOm Malik @om

"For pundits and reporters, episode is akin to a piñata that hangs itself &then hands you a stick" Superb Mr.


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But none of that was as surreal as what happened last week. When The Times’s publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., stood up at a hastily called meeting in the soaring open newsroom where we usually gather to celebrate the Pulitzers and said that Jill was out, we all just looked at one another. How did our workplace suddenly become a particularly bloody episode of “Game of Thrones”?

It is one thing to gossip or complain about your boss, but quite another to watch her head get chopped off in the cold light of day. The lack of decorum was stunning.

Even though Mr. Sulzberger wanted to effect a smoother transition, Ms. Abramson refused to make nice. She had fought her way to the top, and now she would fight on her way out. She may have professed love for The Times, but once it decided not to love her back, she decided to inflict some damage on its publisher. (She’ll have more opportunity on Monday when she gives the commencement speech at Wake Forest.)

After very public charges that sexism drove his decision, Mr. Sulzberger responded with a statement on Saturday that was both specific and personal, saying that Jill had engaged in “arbitrary decision-making, a failure to consult and bring colleagues with her, inadequate communication and the public mistreatment of colleagues.”

Her approach created a fair amount of tsoris — a favorite Yiddish word of hers that connotes aggravation — but along with that it also produced, as Mr. Sulzberger acknowledged even as he fired her, a very good version of The Times.

Jill rose as a woman in a patriarchal business and a male-dominated organization by being tough, by displaying superlative journalistic instincts and by never backing up for anyone.

Some might suggest that these traits are all in the historical job description of a man editing The New York Times, but Arthur concluded “she had lost the support of her masthead colleagues and could not win it back.” I like Jill and the version of The Times she made. But my reporting, including interviews with senior people in the newsroom, some of them women, backs up his conclusion.

Perhaps stories is necessary for producing a very good version of The Times. 

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