Decoding Jill Abramson

Jill Abramson has been Executive Editor of The New York Times for just under a week now, so it’s time to start overanalyzing every single thing she says, just like we used to do with Bill Keller. Over the weekend, the Times’ Public Editor, Arthur Brisbane, interviewed Abramson, so let’s check out some of the more interesting quotes. Followed — of course — by what she really meant.

Brisbane: Will the public see a change because a woman is now in charge?
Abramson: Do you think any readers noticed it when I was a managing editor and had a major role in the play and picking of stories online and in print? The idea that women journalists bring a different taste in stories or sensibility isn’t true.
What Arbramson wanted to say: That’s a stupid question.

Brisbane: The legendary Times executive editor A. M. Rosenthal once told a colleague he felt the need to steer The Times to the right to compensate for the leftward political leanings of some staff. Will you do that?
Abramson: I sometimes try not only to remind myself but my colleagues that the way we view an issue in New York is not necessarily the way it is viewed in the rest of America.
What Abramson wanted to say: The rest of America is usually wrong. But, yeah. I guess.

Brisbane: With digital on the rise, resources on the print side have been cut in the past few years. Do you think that has led to a decline in quality?
Abramson: We had to give up our separate Metro section, which was a very painful thing. But the metropolitan report has never been stronger. We had a staff reduction of around 100 people, and that was painful. Even so, I think the quality of the news report — digital and print — is better than ever.
What Abramson wanted to say: That’s what happens when people will pay for a Maroon 5 album but not top notch journalism.