With Jill Abramson at The Helm, Expect a Digital Focus

Jill Abramson, the new head honcho at The New York Times, is going to have a tough job ahead of her, but if her past is any indication, she’s the right pick to guide the paper into the digital future. Abramson has been known as someone dedicated to the power of the web, and there are plenty of examples.

She helped develop the paper’s paywall, and last year she put her Managing Editor duties on hold to concentrate on the digital side of the paper. She also once told New York that reporters should be proud of getting their pieces on the home page of NYTimes.com, just like the front page:

Abramson wants to reorient the Times culture, so newsroom incentives encourage reporters and editors to fully embrace the web. When you have a front-page story,’ she says, ‘everyone is like, ‘Wow, great story!’ I’d like to get to a place where the celebration when something goes on the home page is as pronounced.’

Abramson has the backing of Jen Preston, the Times’ former Social Media Editor, too. Preston tweeted earlier “For all of you wondering about Jill Abramson and the Web? Jill gets it. And she’s fearless. We’re lucky.” She also told Daedalus magazine that the web and social media are journalism’s future:

Decades from now, the quality newspapers that remain may not be literally on paper. They may be on portable tablets or some other device we haven’t yet envisioned. But journalism will continue to thrive.

My optimism is based on the fact that there is a human craving for trustworthy information about the world we live in – information that is tested, investigated, sorted, checked again, analyzed, and presented in a cogent form.

Yet people don’t crave just information. They seek judgment from someone they can trust, who can ferret out information, dig behind it, and make sense of it. They want analytic depth, skepticism, context, and a presentation that honors their intelligence. They want stories that are elegantly told and compelling, with quality pictures and videos.

And they want to be part of the conversation.

It all sounds good, doesn’t it? Now, if Abramson would just join Twitter. We know – that’s probably not the top priority right now. But with Abramson directing the Times, it sounds like we can expect it to be very soon.