Jill Abramson

A Q&A With Jill Abramson

The Times' top editor on mean bosses, liberal biases, and the demise of the Washington Post

The Times' top editor on Mean Bosses, Liberal Biases, and the Demise of the Washington Post

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Who Should Buy the Paper?

The Sulzbergers say they’re not selling. But if they were...

"Evan Williams"—Nick Denton, owner of Gawker MediaDavid Paul Morris/Getty Images News “Evan Williams [who helped found Blogger and Twitter]. The New York Times on Medium wouldn’t just look beautiful—it could become a Wikipedia for all news.”"Fran Lebowitz"—Graydon Carter, editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair

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How to build a smarter Times, 
according to the Times’ own journalists

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Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight is drawing massive traffic to the New York Times. And he's not even a Timesman!

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Here is Bill Clinton, reviewing The Passage Of Power, the fifth volume of Robert Caro's Lyndon Johnson biography, in the May 5 New York Times Book Review:  L.B.J., [Sargent] Shriver and other giants of the civil rights and anti­poverty movements ... believed government had an essential part to play in expanding civil rights and reducing poverty and inequality. It soon became clear that hearts needed to be changed, along with laws. Not just Congress, but the American people themselves needed to be got to.

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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.

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When Anita Hill came forward during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings to accuse him of sexual harrassment, it created a stark partisan divide. Democrats and liberals believed her, and held up her experience as a common example of women demeaned in the workplace and then smeared as liars if they dared report their experience. Republicans and conservatives furiously disagreed, seeing Hill's claim as a sexual witch-hunt and a plot by liberals who couldn't stand to let a black conservative ascend to such a high position. I remember very clearly having withheld judgment.

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On MSNBC's Morning Joe today, Joe Scarborough hosted a panel that included Chris Matthews and New York Times managing editor Jill Abramson. As the discussion was coming to a close, the subject of this morning's (excellent) New York Times story about Ted Kennedy's final days came up. The comprehensive piece was written by Mark Leibovich, the same Times reporter who wrote a much-discussed and extremely enjoyable profile of Matthews last year. Here is the amusing transcript: Chris M.: [To Abramson] By the way, congratultions on Mark Leibovich’s piece.

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On the cover of this Sunday's New York Times Book Review, Times managing editor Jill Abramson wrote a 3,400-word piece assessing Bob Woodward's bestseller The War Within. Her review offers a broad, largely positive survey of the previous three installments in Woodward's Bush series, writing that "his books offer a definitive portrait" of the president "in real time." A little more than halfway through the piece, Abramson trains her critic's eye back on herself and reflects on the Times's controversial pre-war coverage of Saddam Hussein's W.M.D program.

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