When Jill Abramson becomes The New York Times' first female executive editor in September, she takes over a more diverse staff than the average U.S. newsroom. Minority journalists make up about 19 percent of the Times' staff, compared to about 13 percent in the average U.S. newsroom. I asked Abramson today by phone why a diverse staff matters. She responded:

I think it’s important because of the world that we cover, which is a diverse one and if you have a staff of reporters and editors and Web producers and other professionals who come from the same exact background you’re going to miss some important aspects of stories. And people have a diverse way of approaching their reporting, and I think that when you have a diverse staff you get a diverse reaction to news developments and angles on things that have happened that you might not have thought of otherwise.

I also asked Abramson about her goals for the next year. She said:

My goals are to keep the news report as strong and as vibrant as it has been, to try to move ahead with our plan to integrate all aspects of our newsroom, print and digital. I think that I get to lead the Times in a both thrilling and challenging period when we’re making a transition from a world dominated by print and we’re moving to a world that’s dominated by news that comes digitally. And completing that transition, I think, is probably the most important challenge that I face.