Last Friday, New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson addressed the newsroom troops in a town hall meeting. The semi-annual event, known as “Throw Stuff at Bill” under her predecessor Bill Keller, had been rebranded: “Grill Jill.”
“The past few months have been a time of tremendous creative energy in our newsroom, sadness and some tension,” her remarks began.
Times reporters have been without a contract for more than a year and some of them say morale is an historic low. The Newspaper Guild that represents them is engaged in a protracted and contentious battle over the company’s pension plan—a crucial retention incentive and a staggering legacy cost—that has dialed up the normal grumblings of know-it-all newsmen to an impassioned fever pitch.
Reporters signed open letters criticizing chairman, publisher, Ochs heir and acting CEO Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., and were filmed protesting the sacrosanct Page One meeting. Pulitzer Prize-winners Amy Harmon, Dan Barry and Kevin Sack appeared in a video put out by the Guild that publicly reminded management that Bloomberg, Reuters and the Huffington Post pay competitively and—having already lured an unprecedented number of Times reporters to their digital shores—win fancy prizes now too.
Before that, a long-simmering e-mail chain among a couple hundred senior reporters bubbled over into Gawker’s pages. The site published one especially vivid installment in which science reporter Don McNeil accused Mr. Sulzberger of dilettantish leadership, citing his Himalayan excursion with leadership guru Michael Useem.
off the record
New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson spoke at SXSW in Austin, Tex. yesterday, further proof of her tolerance for meta-media spectacles previously hinted at by appearances at the World Economic Forum in Davos and the Iowa caucuses.
Ms. Abramson, well within her area of expertise, appeared in a conversation about “The Future of the New York Times” with Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith.
Less than a year after her predecessor, Bill Keller, wondered aloud in the Times magazine if Twitter was making us stupid, Ms. Abramson said that the real question was whether or not to break news on Twitter without a story to link to. Some of her political reporters wanted to “issue an edict” against it, but she’s not ideological about it. She’d seen on the campaign trail that Twitter was a “revolution” for news gathering.
Over the weekend Barnard College bumped New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson from her spot as 2012 commencement speaker for a better offer—the trump card in the commencement bookings game, some might say: President Barack Obama.
It’s surprised no one that President Obama had zeroed in on the Manhattan women’s college for a spring speech. Facing a slate of pro-life GOP rivals and a Congress thrown into old school culture wars over his contraception-mandating health care bill, the President has publicly allied himself with women’s interests groups.
Along with quite a few other people, New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson has now been successfully trolled by Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane, having dignified the paper’s ombudsman tonight with a response after he incited a brouhaha of populist outrage with a poorly-worded column published earlier today.
So Kim Jong Il, Christopher Hitchens and former Czech president Václav Havel walk up to Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates of Heaven …
If you’ve been lost in the static of radio silence this past week, you must be thinking, “What a witty opener for that Upper West Side Christmas party!” Unfortunately, the humor is coarsened by the fact that the North Korean supreme leader, outspoken British-turned-American intellectual and Eastern European politician moonlighting as everything under the literary sun all passed away this weekend. We can’t help but imagine Mr. Hitchens being amused by the inevitable comparisons that one could draw between him and the company he’ll be keeping in the newsworthy obits this week: The pages of which will be filled with terms like “revolutionary,” “tyrannical,” “egomaniacal” and “possibly insane.” (And that’s just for Mr. Hitchens!) It’s dark humor, of course, but did the Vanity Fair contributing editor know any other kind?
It wouldn’t be another glorious fall week in New York if there weren’t more celebrities down at Zuccotti Park. Unfortunately, Kanye has not made a return visit, but Alec Baldwin did put his hours in, as did Meghan McCain, who voiced approval for the message of the 99 percent in her recent Daily Beast column. Ms. McCain’s biggest issue with the protests? Pot smoke and a guy wearing a tinfoil cape. Mr. Baldwin? Hippies pressuring him to admit he’s a libertarian.
The New York Times Company seeks to eliminate up to 20 newsroom positions through voluntary buyouts by the end of the year, Brian Stelter reported on the Times media blog. In a staff memo, executive editor Jill Abramson specified that there would be no layoffs.
This is the first major Times newsroom trim Read More
Don’t let the warm weather fool you, we are officially in Fall season mode. You can always tell the changing of the seasons by the changing of the leaves, or at least by the changing of the hair colors of The Real Housewives of New York—which we anticipate will take place any day now in some of the city’s higher end hair care establishments as LuAnn de Lesseps and Ramona Singer reap the rewards of their cast-off cast members by doubling their salary. The two will now be getting $500,000 each to throw champagne in each other’s faces. Who says that there are no high-paying jobs anymore? Rather unbelievably, fellow New Yorkers, these are the 1%.
“There aren’t many dissenters in the room,” said another young man at the party Monday night for Steven Brill’s new book, Class Warfare, about education reform in the United States. The young man, blond, worked with one of the schooling organizations celebrated in the book.
“But, us two,” he continued to The Observer. “We’re certainly Read More
The New York Times’ Sam Sifton is leaving his position as restaurant critic to be the paper’s national editor.
“I’m stepping down as restaurant critic to be the national editor of The Times. #checkplease,” he wrote on Twitter.
In her official announcement posted on the paper’s food blog, newbie Times executive Read More