New York Times Newsroom in Turmoil (Report)

Jill Abramson - Head Shot - 2006
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Editorial staff is said to be unhappy with executive editor Jill Abramson’s leadership.

Trouble may be brewing in The New York Times newsroom, according to a Politico story claiming members of the paper’s staff are upset with executive editor Jill Abramson’s reportedly abrasive leadership style.

Citing more than a dozen anonymous current and former members of the Times’ editorial staff, the story by Dylan Byers includes accounts of Abramson demoralizing subordinates with biting comments. It also cites a growing rift between Abramson and her managing editor, Dean Baquet, as a source of strife.

According to the story, Abramson called Baquet into her office earlier this month to express her displeasure that the paper’s stories haven’t been “buzzy” enough. A debate between the two turned into an argument, and Baquet reportedly left her office, struck a wall and exited the newsroom, failing to attend the 4 p.m. daily meeting as he usually does.

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Staffers interviewed by Politico say Abramson can seem cold and at times disinterested in the paper, jetting off to Sundance and Cuba during recent buyouts. While staffers praised her skill, they complained she has not been available for guidance during key times for the paper. Baquet, on the other hand, is painted as caring about newsroom morale and the paper’s staff.

Increasingly, staff members are said to be looking to Baquet when gaging the direction of the newsroom. Abramson declined to be interviewed for the story, but Baquet told Politico he and his boss had a strong working relationship, and praised her abilities. 

Abramson became the paper’s first female executive editor in September 2011. A Times spokesperson told Politico that Abramson is not always available to be in the newsroom because she has many commitments elsewhere at industry gatherings and other business functions.