Jill Abramson Quotes F. Scott Fitzgerald

PhillipsExeterLogoThe list of famous authors who have attended Grade 9-12 New Hampshire institution Phillips Exeter Academy is long and impressive. It includes Peter Benchley, George Plimpton, Gore Vidal and Dan Brown.

However, when former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson spoke to current students there last Thursday at an event sponsored by student newspaper The Exonian, she decided to punctuate her remarks with the words of another name-brand author. From an item by Exeter Newsletter reporter Erik Hawkins:

Abramson closed her talk with praise for F. Scott Fitzgerald and his sense for detail and pacing that is necessary not only in great fiction, but in great journalism and quoting the final line of his landmark novel The Great Gatsby.

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past,” she read, before leaving the audience of future journalists with a word of encouragement.

“Join me in bringing about a renewal of love for English and long-form journalism,” she said. “Be a boat against the current.”

Cynics, or at the very least those who do not foresee becoming six-figured endowed via Abramson and Steven Brill’s new start-up, may want to swap out “life preserver,” “snorkel mask” or some other term for “boat.” The title of Abramson’s talk, part of a two-day on-campus visit, was “Journalism During a Troubled Transition.”