Ousted New York Times editor to grads: Show what you are made of

Jill Abramson, former Executive Editor of the New York Times, waves after giving the commencement address at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on May 19, 2014. Credit: Reuters
Jill Abramson, former Executive Editor of the New York Times, waves after giving the commencement address at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on May 19, 2014. Credit: Reuters

The New York Times’ ousted top editor Jill Abramson made her first public remarks on Monday not shying away from the controversy surrounding her departure and told graduates to fight back.

“Some of you, and now I’m talking to anybody who has been dumped … You know the sting of losing and not getting something you badly want. When that happens, show them what you are made of,” she said.

Abramson delivered the commencement speech to students graduating from Wake Forest University in North Carolina after unusually scathing criticism of her management style leveled by Times’ publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.

The speech was closely watched by media observers eager to hear Abramson’s thoughts given the acrimony surrounding her departure.

Kelley Thompson of Maumelle, Arkansas, who was at Wake Forest to see her son graduate, said of Abramson, “I thought it was great. She approached it head-on. It was a difficult problem and she didn’t hide from it.”

Abramson brought up Anita Hill noting the attorney who accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment turned her insults into a badge of honor.

“Anita wrote me last week to say she was proud of me. That meant so much,” Abramson said.

Abramson co-wrote a book with New Yorker writer Jane Mayer about Thomas.

Abramson famously got a tattoo of the Times iconic “T” on her back. When asked if she was going to remove it, she said: “Not a chance.”

Sulzberger, whose family controls the New York Times Co., announced to a stunned newsroom on Wednesday that he had replaced Abramson with her second-in-command, Dean Baquet. Baquet is the paper’s first African-American editor and Abramson was the first woman.

“What’s next for me. I don’t know. So I’m in exactly the same boat as you,” she told the audience.

Sulzberger’s abrupt dismissal of the woman he hired three years ago sparked a firestorm of debate over women managers. The controversy was fueled by a report in The New Yorker that said Abramson was paid less than her predecessor as executive editor, Bill Keller, and other male counterparts during her 17-year career at the paper.

Sulzberger has since twice spoken out to say that Abramson’s compensation was not “considerably” less than that of Keller’s – that it was directly comparable – and to deny she was removed because she is a woman.

In a statement on Saturday, Sulzberger targeted Abramson’s management skills, ticking off a list of reasons including “arbitrary decision-making, a failure to consult and bring in colleagues with her, inadequate communication and public mistreatment of colleagues.”

One incident according to press reports involved the courting of Guardian editor Janine Gibson to serve as Abramson’s deputy.

Abramson closed her speech with an anecdote about her mother’s knitting projects – the good ones and the itchy ones as well – and told the graduates to keep pushing forward.

“So today, you gorgeous brilliant people, get on with your knitting.”

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.