Jill Abramson has been suddenly and surprisingly replaced as the editor of the New York Times, the paper announced on Wednesday.
Abramson, who was the first woman to edit the Times is being replaced by her deputy, Dean Baquet, who has become the first-ever African American to lead the paper of record. She had been serving as executive editor since 2011.
The Times mandates that all senior editors resign their posts at 65; Abramson is 60, meaning that she left five years early.
In a statement, Abramson said, “I’ve loved my run at The Times. I got to work with the best journalists in the world doing so much stand-up journalism.”
Almost immediately after the announcement, the Times erased Abramson from its masthead.
At a hastily called meeting of the paper’s staff, publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., made it clear that Abramson’s departure was not voluntary, though he gave few details about why exactly she was fired.
“We had an issue with management in the newsroom,” he said, according to a staffer who was present. “And that’s all I’m going to say.” He added that he had made the change “because I believe that new leadership will improve some aspects of the management of the newsroom.”
He also stressed that the change was “not about any sort of disagreement between the newsroom and the business side,” causing some observers to think that that was, in fact, what led to Abramson’s firing.
There have been reports of substantial tension between Abramson and Mark Thompson, the CEO of the New York Times Company, about the role of the paper’s business side in the newsroom. But there have also been widely-publicized reports about complaints over Abramson’s general management style.
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