New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson, the head of the paper’s editorial operations, was removed from her position by publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. this afternoon. The move was unexpected though perhaps foreshadowed by past reports of interpersonal friction in the paper’s proverbial “newsroom.” From Politico:
Senior editors were unexpectedly summoned to a 2 p.m. leadership meeting at the Times headquarters in New York on Wednesday. The news was then announced to staff by publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. at a 2:35 p.m. meeting.
In his announcement to staff, Sulzberger said Abramson’s departure was related to “an issue with management in the newsroom,” and had nothing to do with the quality of the paper’s journalism during her tenure. Abramson was not present for the newsroom announcement.
“I choose to appoint a new leader for our newsroom because I believe that new leadership will improve some aspects of the management of the newsroom,” Sulzberger said. “This is not about any disagreement between the newsroom and the business side.”
Abramson will be replaced by managing editor Dean Baquet—with whom, Politico reported last year, she once had an infamous semi-public argument that spoke to “widespread frustration and anxiety” among staffers regarding her leadership style. (Baquet, who becomes the paper’s first African-American executive editor, strongly defended Abramson in the Politico piece, whose assertions were criticized in Slate and elsewhere for being unfair and possibly holding Abramson to a sexist double standard.) New York magazine, meanwhile, reported last August that Abramson had a tense relationship with new Times CEO Mark Thompson and that she felt she was “isolated” without allies in the paper’s management.