Jill Abramson: Women Should Not Feel Stigmatized if They're Fired

Image: Jill Abramson: Women Should Not Feel Stigmatized if They're Fired

Wednesday, 16 Jul 2014 07:39 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Former New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson said she cried after reading an April 2013 article in Politico that portrayed her as a bad manager, according to Cosmopolitan magazine.

The Politico piece depicted her as "stubborn," "condescending," and "uncaring."

At the time she was fired by publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. in May 2014, she could not bring herself to read what was being said about her. "It was a survival mechanism," she said. Friends including Maureen Dowd and Michiko Kakutani at the Times told her what she needed to know.

Abramson implied that the negative coverage of her firing was sexist. "What Arthur Sulzberger Jr. has said publicly is that he had problems with my management style," she told Cosmopolitan. "The whole issue of how women's management styles are viewed is an incredibly interesting subject."

She told the magazine that Politico's "hatchet job" had a "silver lining." Women journalists from around the country expressed solidarity and sent her flowers.

Her best advice to young women professionals "and it may seem crazy because I did lose this job I really loved" is to be "an authentic person. I did cry. That is my authentic first reaction. I don't regret sharing that."

Women "should not feel stigmatized if they are fired. Especially in this economy, people are fired right and left for arbitrary reasons, and there are sometimes forces beyond your control," she told Cosmopolitan.

She has been doing some writing, but despite offers Abramson does not want to take on a management job in journalism. She will also be teaching journalism to undergraduates at Harvard University in the fall.

Abramson described an up-and-down relationship with Hillary Clinton whom she first met in 1978 when she worked for a PR firm handling Bill Clinton's run for the Arkansas governorship. Clinton was "fantastic, friendly, and helpful" as a source on legal matters when Abramson was editor of American Lawyer. "As a candidate's wife, she was sometimes angry at me and at some of the stories I wrote," she told Cosmopolitan.

Clinton has a "first-class" mind and would make a successful president, she said.

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