That is not a typo, dear industry cronies. The jilted, former executive editor of The New York Times is still making headlines. Except, as you can see, she did it for the competition. Kinda.
Yes, the New York Post’s snark comes to the rescue again with this play on words. (And for those who don’t know, The Times is known as ‘The Old Grey Lady.’ See there? Jokey jokes.)
News is now that Abramson was let go because of her refusal to back down from pay inequality. The Times has a different story. And while the national media is having a feeding frenzy on this issue, the story in the Post is that Abramson is a “badass” with a tattoo hailing her allegiance at the paper she once led.
Because that’s news.
The picture was “grammed” by Abramson’s daughter portraying “mom’s badass new hobby,” as she called it. The story also decides that all the pay inequality isn’t half as important as this in the lede:
The photo reveals the 60-year-old Abramson’s subway-token tattoo on her right shoulder, but not the now-awkward inked letter “T,” in New York Times masthead font, on her back.
And now, on with the show. Currently, there are two theories as to why Abramson is no able to pursue her career in mixed martial arts.
- Not showing her the money. The 60-year-old Abramson, who spent 17 years at the Times, had often expressed that she was paid much less than her immediate predecessor, Bill Keller, and confronted publisher Arthur Sulzberger on the issue. Ad-nauseum.
- Not getting with the program. Rumor was Abramson was old school. Too much, in fact, because she may have been too slow to adopt a more digital-friendly approach to running the newsroom.
Either way, both are worthy of consideration…but the first one is sexier and that’s where the national media have decided to perch. According to a scathing report by Ken Auletta of the New Yorker, this drama started as soon she got the gig.
In it, he addressed the efforts by Times management to do something about this sexist wage practice stuff.
Sulzberger sent Times staffers a memo stating that this notion was “misinformation,” that Abramson’s pay was “comparable to that of earlier executive editors,” and that, “In fact, in 2013, her last full year in the role, her total compensation package was more than 10 percent higher than that of her predecessor, Bill Keller, in his last full year as Executive Editor, which was 2010.”
“Total compensation” is often a mixture of a base salary along with money from stocks and bonuses, meaning that, unless the Times releases those figures, it is hard to know exactly what mix of each contributed to Abramson’s full pay package. Now, when you see her pay, you wouldn’t think she would be complaining much–but this is New York and half a million bucks just doesn’t go as far as it used to.
Let’s look at some numbers I’ve been given: As executive editor, Abramson’s starting salary in 2011 was $475,000, compared to Keller’s salary that year, $559,000. Her salary was raised to $503,000, and—only after she protested—was raised again to $525,000. She learned that her salary as managing editor, $398,000, was less than that of the male managing editor for news operations, John Geddes. She also learned that her salary as Washington bureau chief, from 2000 to 2003, was a hundred thousand dollars less than that of her successor in that position, Phil Taubman. (Murphy would say only that Abramson’s compensation was “broadly comparable” to that of Taubman and Geddes.)
Certainly, this is a subject that will not fade away quietly. However, if it doesn’t, I have an idea to get the Times some money that will not only help the paper’s profit but also help provide Abramson with a nice going-away gift: cage match. Who’s with me? Someone have Arthur on speed dial?