5:50pm

Sat May 17, 2014
The Two-Way

Times Publisher: Abramson Storyline 'Shallow And Factually Incorrect'

New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. defended the sacking of executive editor Jill Abramson in a statement on Saturday.

After her firing, the Times has come under heavy scrutiny after reports arose that just before her firing Abramson complained that she was not being paid as much as her predecessor, Bill Keller.

Sulzberger dismissed allegations that was the reason for her firing and he dismissed allegations that Abramson's compensation was less than her male predecessors.

In truth, Sulzberger did not break newer ground than he did in his memo to staff last week, but he explained Abramson's firing in much more personal terms.

He said the storyline that emerged about Abramson's firing was "shallow and factually incorrect."

"Fueling this have been persistent but incorrect reports that Jill's compensation package was not comparable with her predecessor's," he said. "This is untrue. Jill's pay package was comparable with Bill Keller's; in fact, by her last full year as executive editor, it was more than 10% higher than his."

He goes on:

"I decided that Jill could no longer remain as executive editor for reasons having nothing to do with pay or gender. As publisher, my paramount duty is to ensure the continued quality and success of The New York Times. Jill is an outstanding journalist and editor, but with great regret, I concluded that her management of the newsroom was simply not working out.

"During her tenure, I heard repeatedly from her newsroom colleagues, women and men, about a series of issues, including arbitrary decision-making, a failure to consult and bring colleagues with her, inadequate communication and the public mistreatment of colleagues. I discussed these issues with Jill herself several times and warned her that, unless they were addressed, she risked losing the trust of both masthead and newsroom. She acknowledged that there were issues and agreed to try to overcome them. We all wanted her to succeed. It became clear, however, that the gap was too big to bridge and ultimately I concluded that she had lost the support of her masthead colleagues and could not win it back.

"Since my announcement on Wednesday I have had many opportunities to talk to and hear reactions from my colleagues in the newsroom. While surprised by the timing, they understood the decision and the reasons I had to make it.

"We are very proud of our record of gender equality at The New York Times. Many of our key leaders – both in the newsroom and on the business side – are women. So too are many of our rising stars. They do not look for special treatment, but expect to be treated with the same respect as their male colleagues. For that reason they want to be judged fairly and objectively on their performance. That is what happened in the case of Jill."

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