May 20 New York Times Co Chairman and
Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said he tried to part ways
peacefully with the top leader of the newsroom, Jill Abramson,
whom he ousted last week.
"We originally drafted the whole thing to be very amicable,"
Sulzberger said in an interview with Vanity Fair, his first
since he changed the leadership of his paper. "Jill said no."
"It was my hope for Jill that we could make this go away as
peacefully as possible." (here)
The frenzy surrounding the story has been anything but quiet
since Sulzberger replaced Abramson with her deputy, Dean Baquet,
stunning the Times newsroom and close followers of the paper
when it was announced last Wednesday.
The volley of accusations over Abramson's firing has come
hard and fast. The New Yorker reported that Abramson was paid
considerably less than her male predecessor Bill Keller, a
charge Sulzberger denies.
On Saturday, Sulzberger issued a staff memo saying he
terminated Abramson for her "arbitrary decision-making, a
failure to consult and bring colleagues with her, inadequate
communication and the public mistreatment of colleagues."
Abramson is the third hand-picked executive that Sulzberger
has ousted including Times executive editor Howell Raines and
the company's chief executive Janet Robinson.
When asked about his decision-making process, Sulzberger
told Vanity Fair: "Am I doing a bad job of picking leaders for
The New York Times? I don't think so. Everyone who pretends they
have a 100 percent success rate isn't trying hard enough."
At an awards ceremony on Monday night in New York, hosted by
the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Sulzberger
thanked Abramson for being one of the most "forceful voices" in
challenging a secretive White House.
Earlier on Monday, Abramson spoke out for the first time
during a commencement speech at Wake Forest telling graduates to
"Some of you, and now I'm talking to anybody who has been
dumped ... You know the sting of losing and not getting
something you badly want. When that happens, show them what you
are made of," she said.
(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Tom Brown)