Never do media reporters look more like the parabular blind men describing an elephant than when describing a complicated management transaction at an operation as large as The New York Times, which changed top editors Wednesday. Different sources offer different frames, sometimes for the same events, and even the people who know best what happened may offer varnished accounts. This post aims to offer a wide-angle view of the elephant's contours.
The New York Times building, viewed from across the street Wednesday. (AP Photo)
Why Jill Abramson got fired
• Wednesday afternoon Ken Auletta wrote in The New Yorker that Abramson recently "discovered that her pay and her pension benefits as both executive editor and, before that, as managing editor were considerably less than the pay and pension benefits of Bill Keller, the male editor whom she replaced in both jobs."
“She confronted the top brass,” one close associate said, and this may have fed into the management’s narrative that she was “pushy,” a characterization that, for many, has an inescapably gendered aspect.
Abramson had also "clashed" with Times Co. CEO Mark Thompson, Auletta reported, and had planned to hire someone to oversee the paper's digital operation without consulting Baquet, who the paper passed over in 2011 for the top spot. Still, he and Abramson had a fairly good working relationship, Auletta and others report, though Auletta adds: "I was told, however, that, at a recent dinner with [Publisher Arthur] Sulzberger [Jr.], Baquet said he found her hard to work with."
• Abramson wanted The Guardian's Janine Gibson in that role, David Carr and Ravi Somaiya wrote in The New York Times. The prospect "angered" Baquet, they report, which "escalated the conflict between them and rose to the attention of Mr. Sulzberger."