Will Jill Abramson Hit Back in New York Times Firing Feud?

Ousted Editor Speaks at Graduation Ceremony

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By Reuters

Published May 19, 2014.
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The New York Times’ ousted top editor Jill Abramson will have a chance on Monday to address the unusually scathing criticisms of her management style leveled by publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. when she makes her first public remarks since she was fired.

But it is unclear whether Abramson, who was the first woman to lead the Times newsroom, will mention the controversy over her firing when she delivers a commencement speech to students graduating from Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

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.

His abrupt dismissal of the woman he hired three years ago sparked a firestorm of debate over women managers in the workplace. 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.”

Abramson has not spoken publicly since her ousting, beyond the statement she made in a press release about the changing of the guard at the Times.

It is not clear whether she would use the forum of a commencement speech to mention her own situation. Such speeches - often delivered by public figures deemed inspirational - are usually heavily focused on advice for young graduates as they go out into the world.

Abramson’s daughter posted an instagram photo of her with two boxing gloves in front of a punching bag that made the front page of the New York Post on Friday.


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