New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson says she and new Times CEO Mark Thompson have a strong relationship, and that in meetings, Thompson “seems full of energy and ideas.” She added that she has “every confidence [in Thompson] as CEO.” Abramson made the comments at the Business Insider Ignite conference in New York.
Thompson has only been at the helm of the Times for two weeks, but he is under intense scrutiny due to a scandal that erupted at his former employer, the BBC. Thompson was the director general of the BBC when an investigative report that would reveal a major pedophilia scandal at the company was quashed. Thompson maintained that he had no involvement in killing the story.
“The people who have been saying he perhaps isn’t the best choice for the best job are the public editor, who does not actually work in the newsroom, and one of our columnists, who work for the editorial page,” Abramson said, adding ” I don’t think the public editor looked at our coverage.
I certainly have had a team of reporters in New York and London reporting on this story, and we have done a number of lengthy enterprise pieces on the unfolding issues in the BBC investigation,” Abramson added.
Abramson, the first female editor of the venerable newspaper, oversees a newsroom that is constantly evolving. Gone are the days of separate print and digital newsrooms, but both products are still vital to the company, she maintains.
“I don’t even go to the front page meeting, and it isn’t because the newspaper isn’t important,” Abramson says. “I think the focus and energy of the newsroom in the past was a bit too focused on the print product.
“we have 80 and some thousand people who subscribe to the newspaper for two years or more,” Abramson added. “The price keeps going up but they still find it indispensable to their lives. I know that no one can predict that there will always be a robust appetite for both of these things, but for the foreseeable future, i am going to be putting out the best report in journalism in both newspaper form and all kids of digital forms.”
While she is still new to the editor’s role, Abramson has no qualms with talking about her legacy. When asked about what she hopes to accomplish in her tenure, Abramson didn’t dodge.
“I want people to say that I expanded the depth and breadth of our news report, and some version of what [former Times executive editor] Abe Rosenthal had on his tombstone, ‘He Kept The Paper Straight’. It isn’t just the paper now, “I Kept The Place Straight.’”