Dan Schwarz, a professor of English at Cornell University, author of “Endtimes: Crises and Turmoil at the New York Times, 1999-2009” and a regular blogger on the media for the Huffington Post, offers his insight into today’s surprise announcement that Jill Abramson, the executive editor of the New York Times, will be leaving that post.
“I was not surprised that Jill Abramson's 2 ½-year editorship did not go a full term. When, for my book “Endtimes: Crises and Turmoil at the New York Times,” I was interviewing Times's editors, I was pretty certain that she was not the first choice in the newsroom, She had a reputation for being difficult and abrasive, and that was my impression from interviewing her. She was the only person I interviewed who insisted I submit questions in advance, something she would have found abhorrent if she were doing an interview.
“Indeed, it was mentioned off the record that she had some of Howell Raines's qualities –favoring some people at the expense of others, being dictatorial – which was ironic in that she played a role in overthrowing Raines.
“In fact, Dean Baquet, who had returned in 2007 to the New York Times as Washington Bureau chief after resigning as editor of the Los Angeles Times rather than preside over serious cutbacks, seemed to me the first choice among several names that were mentioned.
“Another possible reason was tension between Abramson and Mark Thompson, the former BBC director who in 2012 was brought in as CEO of the New York Times Corp. to manage the business side and whose encroachment in the newsroom was not always welcome. Thompson has the full support of Publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr.
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