Jill Abramson out at NY Times

The Media doesn’t link anybody reporting about them, so that’s why we get things like this:

Several weeks ago, I’m told, Abramson discovered that her pay and her pension benefits as both executive editor and, before that, as managing editor were considerably less than the pay and pension benefits of Bill Keller, the male editor whom she replaced in both jobs. “She confronted the top brass,” one close associate said, and this may have fed into the management’s narrative that she was “pushy,” a characterization that, for many, has an inescapably gendered aspect. Sulzberger is known to believe that the Times, as a financially beleaguered newspaper, needed to retreat on some of its generous pay and pension benefits; Abramson, who spent much of her career at the Wall Street Journal, had been at the Times for far fewer years than Keller, which accounted for some of the pension disparity. Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for the Times, said that Jill Abramson’s total compensation as executive editor “was directly comparable to Bill Keller’s”—though it was not actually the same. I was also told by another friend of Abramson’s that the pay gap with Keller was only closed after she complained. But, to women at an institution that was once sued by its female employees for discriminatory practices, the question brings up ugly memories. Whether Abramson was right or wrong, both sides were left unhappy. A third associate told me, “She found out that a former deputy managing editor”—a man—“made more money than she did” while she was managing editor. “She had a lawyer make polite inquiries about the pay and pension disparities, which set them off.”

Gawker has a good rundown on how stupid the NY Times was, here are the first two points:

Let’s set aside, for a moment, the question of whether Jill Abramson should have been fired. Let’s instead briefly enumerate just a few of the ways that Pinch Sulzberger, who is publisher of the New York Times solely due to his last name, botched the handling of this episode:

  1. He imagined that he could replace his top editor without an explanation. Perhaps Sulzberger imagines that he runs a company that makes cardboard boxes, or toilets. Wrong: he runs a newspaper. This means that every bit of office intrigue is a media story. Which will come out. The Times is a vast and leaky ship. There is never a big media story about the Times’ interior operations that does not come out in full eventually. The workplace is full of reporters! They all gossip! They all leak! There have been entire books written about the Times’ workplace gossip! Everything will come out, Pinch! Everything!

  2. He did not give an interview to his own paper about firing his own paper’s editor. This is both insulting and dumb. He forced his own paper to run a story based on anonymous sourcing about the firing of its own editor. He also left his own reporters vulnerable to being beaten by competitors on their own story.

The thing is, all top level administrators in large companies think like this:–they don’t need to explain themselves–and the media often has no one to call them on it so they really think they don’t need to explain their decisions. It’s nice to see that not everyone is willing to go along with them.

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