Everyone's still stupefied over Abramson/Baquet swap

May 15, 2014

We probably don't need to tell you today's top trending news in the media: yesterday the New York Times replaced Jill Abramson, the Times' first female executive editor and the editor who's presided over 8 Pulitzer wins during her three-year tenure. NYT's Ravi Somaiya and David Carr shouldered the daunting and unenviable task of covering the dismissal of their own boss, which they did in an impressively honest fashion. "Must be tricky to be a NYT reporter, covering what's going on at the NYT. But an example of church/state separation," observed Sam Litzinger with CBS News. At the Wall Street JournalMatthew Dalton pointed out, "In one of most badly-timed tattoos in journalism history, Abramson recently got one of NYT's gothic 'T' on her back." Still, Abramson's dismissal paved the way for managing editor Dean Baquet to assume the role as her successor, making him the first African American to hold the Times' loftiest position. As Quartz's S. Mitra Kalita pointed out, it's "[a] bittersweet moment for women journos of color: Gender inequity led NYT to tap first black editor." On that subject, here's the NYT's own piece on how newspapers hooked Baquet at an early age.

Of course, the swap signaled lots of jostling between other publications to speculate on reasons behind Abramson's dismissal. The New Yorker was one of the first to hypothesize why Jill Abramson was fired. "Pay dispute, native advertising & more," succinctly summarized PBS MediaShift's Mark Glaser. New York Magazine also touted its theory on why the Times Publisher and Jill Abramson were doomed from the start. "According to this, Abramson is the second editor Sulzberger has fired in part because of her public profile," noticed Mathew Ingram with GigaOm.

The news also triggered a flurry of other conversations on the fallout. Slate's Amanda Hess declared Abramson "everything to young women" at the Times, while The New Republic's Rebecca Traister denounced her firing as singularly humiliating. On a similar note, Gawker's Hamilton Nolan declared that the Times must be run by a human PR disaster. Meanwhile, FiveThirtyEight's Chadwick Matlin reminded us that Abramson wouldn’t be the only female editor to face a pay gap, while Felix Salmon penned a piece for Vox on why salaries shouldn't be secret. Finally, at Buzzfeed Kate Aurthur analyzed the Times' chaotic future while colleague Myles Tanzer boasted an exclusive on how a Times internal report painted a dire digital picture.

(Image credits: Dame MagazinePBS.org and The Atlantic)

About the author

Writes the @MuckRackDaily & runs #muckedup chat. Creator of #100helpfuldays. I can haz media tips? kirsten@sawhorsemedia.com

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