New York Times names Abramson first woman editor

NEW YORK Thu Jun 2, 2011 3:22pm EDT

New York Times managing editor Jill Abramson poses in this undated handout photo. The New York Times on June 2, 2011, named Abramson as its first woman executive editor, putting her in control of one the world's most respected newspapers as the industry struggles to keep advertisers and readers. REUTERS/The New York Times/Handout

New York Times managing editor Jill Abramson poses in this undated handout photo. The New York Times on June 2, 2011, named Abramson as its first woman executive editor, putting her in control of one the world's most respected newspapers as the industry struggles to keep advertisers and readers.

Credit: Reuters/The New York Times/Handout

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Times named Jill Abramson as its first woman executive editor, putting her in control of one the world's most respected newspapers as the industry struggles to keep advertisers and readers.

Abramson, 57, will lead the Times newsroom in a new era for papers, when a generation of readers increasingly prefers to get news from online sources such as Twitter, Facebook and a host of websites.

Currently the paper's managing editor, Abramson will succeed Bill Keller, 62, who will become a writer for the New York Times Magazine and for the paper's Sunday opinion section.

Assistant Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief Dean Baquet will become managing editor.

Both appointments are effective September 6, the New York Times Co said on Thursday.

It was widely expected that Abramson and Baquet, 54, would rise through the ranks and that one of them would assume the highest editorial position at the paper.

In the spring of last year, Abramson left her position for five months to work on the paper's digital strategy. Three editors -- Baquet, foreign editor Susan Chira and business editor Larry Ingrassia -- took turns serving as managing editor in her absence.

Like many newspapers, the New York Times is trying to reverse a long decline in print advertising revenue, a core piece of its business. Total revenue fell 3.6 percent to $566.5 million during the first quarter, mainly on 7.5 percent drop in print ad revenue. This reflects similar problems at other U.S. newspaper publishers in recent years.

The company has introduced various ways to pay for stories and other content at nytimes.com in an attempt to get readers to pay for its content.

Abramson worked as an investigative journalist and covered Washington. She joined the Times in 1997 from the Wall Street Journal, now owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. She became the Times' Washington bureau chief in 2000.

When Abramson moved to New York in 2003 to take the role of managing editor, she got a tattoo of a city subway token on her right shoulder, according to New York magazine.

"I grew up here and I agonized over (a way to show) I'm a New York girl back in New York," she told the magazine in September 2010.

Baquet rejoined the Times in March 2007 after serving as editor of the Los Angeles Times where he came to blows with Tribune Co management over budget cuts.

Baquet started with the Times in 1990 as a metropolitan reporter. He won a Pulitzer Prize, the nation's highest honor for newspaper reporting, while he worked at the Chicago Tribune.

Times Co Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said he accepted Keller's decision with "mixed emotions," and said Abramson was the best person to fill the role.

"Bill came to me several weeks ago and told me that he felt the time had come for him to step down from the role of executive editor," Sulzberger said in a statement.

Keller was appointed executive editor in 2003 to replace Howell Raines, who was ousted over one of the biggest scandals ever to hit the newsroom -- the discovery that reporter Jayson Blair was plagiarizing and fabricating stories.

"I wanted to move on when the newsroom felt strong in its journalism and secure in its future," Keller said in a statement.

(Editing by Robert MacMillan)

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