paper trail

The uproar over Jill Abramson's dismissal

Natalie Nougayrède

The conversation continues apace about Wednesday’s firing of Jill Abramson from her post as executive editor of the New York Times, which may have been tied to Abramson’s complaints about her compensation. At the Atlantic, Rebecca J. Rosen is cheered by the generally feminist tone of the response to the incident—“Not too long ago, a reader would have had to head to feminist websites (or, longer ago, zines) to find the sort of thinking now represented at some of America's most mainstream news publications”—and at New York Magazine, Ann Friedman reflects on the difficulty of being a woman in the newsroom: “It’s hard to be sure what’s sexism and what’s you.” Meanwhile, Olga Khazan points out that the story is likely more complicated than the “social-justice-resonant narrative that gained traction on Twitter,” and notes that the Times has said that Abramson’s compensation was not less than that of her predecessor, Bill Keller. The New Yorker's Ken Auletta crunches the numbers: "Abramson’s starting salary in 2011 was $475,000, compared to Keller’s salary that year, $559,000. Her salary was raised to $503,000, and—only after she protested—was raised again to $525,000. She learned that her salary as managing editor, $398,000, was less than that of the male managing editor for news operations, John Geddes." The Times's insistence that Abramson wasn't making significantly less than Keller was likely based on her total compensation package, Auletta explains, "which includes . . . any bonuses, stock grants, and other long-term incentives." But it's hard to evaluate this without more information from the paper. Finally, the New Republic'sNew Republic'Rebecca Traister laments the lack of women and people and color in positions of greatest power, which “makes each one of the representatives come to mean so much more—both when they rise and when they fall.”

On the other side of the ocean, an oddly similar story: LeMonde’s first female editor in chief, Natalie Nougayrède, has left the paper “after a power struggle with top staff.”

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