Timothy Noah

Morning Reading Assignment

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Many years ago, before she worked at the New York Times, I gave Jill Abramson what was possibly the worst career advice of her life. We were talking about people who were angling to become editor of the New York Times--I can't even remember who the contending parties were at that time--and I said: "Getting on the management track there is a terrible idea. All these people want to be the editor and only one of them can be. If you don't get the prize then you've wasted your life. Far better to stay a reporter and achieve glory doing great stories."

Abramson, who is four years my senior, ignored my advice and did both. She stayed a reporter and did great stories for awhile; then she joined the management track, first at the Wall Street Journal (where we both then worked) and later at the New York Times. I will say in my defense that when Howell Raines (of whom I was never enamored) tried to bully her into vacating her post as Washington bureau chief I thought, "That fool has no idea who he's dealing with," and that after Raines got run off I had little doubt that Abramson would one day occupy the top spot. 

As you can probably guess from the foregoing, I'm a fan. So, on balance, is Ken Auletta in his excellent Abramson profile in the new New Yorker. You should read it.

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