New Yorker's Auletta: NYT Editor Fired over Pay, 'Brusque' Style

Thursday, 15 May 2014 10:11 AM

By Wanda Carruthers

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Jill Abramson's abrupt firing as executive editor of The New York Times was due to issues over her pay and complaints about her "brusque" management style, said Ken Auletta, writer for The New Yorker.

The newspaper announced Wednesday that Abramson was "dismissed" and replaced by managing editor Dean Baquet. Publisher Arthur Sulzberger told the newsroom staff the decision was made due to "an issue with management in the newsroom," the Times said. Abramson had been the top editor of the Times for less than three years.

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According to Auletta, Abramson complained to company executives when she discovered her pay was less than her predecessor, Bill Keller. The New Yorker writer also said she was also paid less than one of her deputy editors, John Geddes, when she served as managing editor. Geddes left the newspaper last year.

Auletta said those complaints fed the idea that Abramson was hard to work with.

"She went to raise what she thought was a polite protest [about her pay], and it fit into a narrative that had been forming in Arthur Sulzberger's mind and Mark Thompson's mind, the CEO, that she was just a difficult person to deal with," Auletta told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Thursday.

There were "a lot of people in the newsroom" who found Abramson "very brusque," Auletta said. He said she was also "immensely talented."

Another reason for Abramson's dismissal was a conflict with Baquet over the hiring of a digital editor, Auletta said. He said he was told that Baquet complained to Sulzberger about the digital position, and also mentioned Abramson was "difficult in the office."

"She was recruiting a deputy to work with Dean Baquet on the online paper. He felt undermined by that, because she had not, according to his side of the story, she had not really kept him informed," he said.

Auletta said Abramson refused to put out a statement that she was leaving for "career opportunities." He said she told the management, "You fired me, and that's what it should say. And, I'm not showing up in the newsroom today when you make the announcement."

Auletta detailed the departure of Abramson on his blog at The New Yorker's website.

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