New York Times

Baquet abruptly named new editor of NYT, Abramson out *

Baquet, left, with the two editors to precede him, Jill Abramson and Bill Keller. Fred Conrad/NYT

Dean Baquet, the former editor in chief of the Los Angeles Times who was pushed out during the worst of the Tribune Company manhandling of the LAT, today was named executive editor of the New York Times. Baquet returned to the NYT in 2007 after leaving Los Angeles and worked his way back up to number two under Jill Abramson. But a memo from publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. announced, without elaboration, that she is out and Baquet, the managing editor, is number one effective immediately. The NYT story includes a terse statement from Abramson and flackage about Baquet.

“I’ve loved my run at The Times,” she said in a statement. “I got to work with the best journalists in the world doing so much stand-up journalism,” she said, noting her appointment of many senior female editors as one of her achievements.

“There is no journalist in our newsroom or elsewhere better qualified to take on the responsibilities of executive editor at this time than Dean Baquet,” said Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the publisher of The New York Times and chairman of The New York Times Company. “He is an exceptional reporter and editor with impeccable news judgment who enjoys the confidence and support of his colleagues around the world and across the organization.”

Mr. Sulzberger made the announcement to senior editors in a gathering at a conference room Wednesday afternoon, and addressed the full newsroom around 2:30 p.m.

Mr. Baquet, 57, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and a former editor of the Los Angeles Times, will become the first African-American executive editor at The New York Times. “It is an honor to be asked to lead the only newsroom in the country that is actually better than it was a generation ago,” he said, “one that approaches the world with wonder and ambition every day.”

Then comes a tagline for posterity: "The reasons for the switch were not immediately clear."

* Update: Ken Auletta of the New Yorker reports that Abramson had made inquiries (including via a lawyer) about why she was paid less than previous editor Bill Keller and others. That opened up conversation over whether she was too "pushy" and her clashes with the business side, and ultimately the decision to can her for someone easier to work with. Auletta also notes that his earlier profile found some newsroom women concerned about Abramson's brusque style, but he says it's clear too that the "pushy" characterization "for many, has an inescapably gendered aspect."

Earlier: From the NYT release -

Mr. Baquet said, "It is an honor to be asked to lead the only newsroom in the country that is actually better than it was a generation ago, one that approaches the world with wonder and ambition every day. The talented journalists of The New York Times make it the greatest news operation in history and I look forward to working with them to deliver the world's most engaging and enterprising journalism."

Mr. Sulzberger continued, "Jill Abramson has my sincere thanks for not just preserving and extending the excellence of our news report during her time as executive editor, but also for inspiring her colleagues to adjust their approach to how we deliver the news. Her leadership helped further The Times down the path to our digital future, particularly with her embrace and oversight of new platforms and products like The Upshot, NYT Now and NYT5."

Ms. Abramson said, "I've loved my run at The Times. I got to work with the best journalists in the world doing so much stand-up journalism. Holding powerful institutions accountable is the mission of The Times and the hallmark of my time as executive editor, whether stories about China, government secrecy, or powerful figures and corporations."

Ms. Abramson continued, "We successfully blazed trails on the digital frontier and we have come so far in inventing new forms of story-telling. Our masthead became half female for the first time and so many great women hold important newsroom positions. Dean has been my partner in all this and he will be a great executive editor. I thank Arthur, who has been a steadfast protector of our journalism, for the chance to serve."

Mr. Sulzberger added, "Our business continues its digital transformation and in our newsroom, we are moving fast to a digital first reality. With Jill, Dean was closely involved in the work of our newsroom innovation team over the past six months, which helped to outline how we can best organize to extend our tradition of innovation and excellence into the future. I'm very pleased that he will now lead that work as executive editor."

Also see, from 2006: Tumultuous Times

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