Politico’s Dylan Byers wrote a story that posits New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson is “already on the verge of losing the support of the newsroom.” I didn’t like it.
Here are some other reactions:
• Emily Bell says Byers’ piece “deserves attention, as it fuels an exasperating and wholly sexist narrative about women in power.”
For a news organization such as Politico to run a piece focused so tightly on Abramson’s personality is disappointing. It might have highlighted the fact she has just had the most successful week of her professional life. Her news organization picked up four Pulitzer Prizes, the third highest haul in the Times’s history, and the coverage of the Boston bombings was, by wide acknowledgment, exceptionally good, when others were rocky and error-strewn.
• Dylan Byers replies to Bell:
I spoke with more than a dozen staffers from across the newsroom, male and female, old and young. They all voiced similar complaints, and said that those complaints were deeply felt and widespread.
• Hanna Rosin says the situation with Jill Abramson is a little more complicated than just sexism.”
For many years Abramson was more popular. She was an investigative reporter and the Washington bureau chief. But running the paper is more complicated, and requires you to deal with many more situations and people. Maybe with that much going on, it’s harder to keep in check the less pleasant parts of your personality. And if you’re a woman, that’s still unforgiveable. Do it too long, and suddenly, you’ll wake up to the news that “Just a year and a half into her tenure as executive editor, Abramson is already on the verge of losing the support of the newsroom.”
• In a video interview, New York Times reporter Brian Stelter says “A lot of the [Politico story] didn’t ring true…. I have to wonder if [it] would have been written if there was a male editor-in-chief.”
• Ann Friedman recasts criticisms of Abramson as compliments to men:
She is brusque, blunt, and dismissive. He does not like to waste time.
Politico senior writer Steve Friess thought my critique of the piece was “odd”:
— Steve Friess (@SteveFriess) April 24, 2013
And Politico writer Ben White, in a Twitter conversation with Heidi N. Moore, said Byers’ story is “legit.”
— Ben White (@morningmoneyben) April 24, 2013