News / USA

Ousted NY Times Editor Talks of Resiliency at Wake Field Commencement

Jill Abramson, former executive editor of The New York Times, receives an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during the commencement ceremony at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., May 19, 2014.
Jill Abramson, former executive editor of The New York Times, receives an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during the commencement ceremony at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., May 19, 2014.

Related Articles

VOA News
The New York Times' ousted top editor Jill Abramson made her first public remarks on Monday not shying away from the controversy surrounding her departure and told graduates to fight back.
 
“Some of you, and now I'm talking to anybody who has been dumped ... You know the sting of losing and not getting something you badly want. When that happens, show them what you are made of,'' she said.
 
Abramson delivered the commencement speech to students graduating from Wake Forest University in North Carolina after unusually scathing criticism of her management style leveled by Times' publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.
 
She brought up Anita Hill, noting that the attorney who accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment turned her insults into a badge of honor.
 
FILE - With Executive Editor Jill Abramson (R), publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. holds up four fingers to indicate the four Pulitzer Prizes won by the New York Times, as winners for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize are announced in the newsroom in New York.FILE - With Executive Editor Jill Abramson (R), publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. holds up four fingers to indicate the four Pulitzer Prizes won by the New York Times, as winners for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize are announced in the newsroom in New York.
x
FILE - With Executive Editor Jill Abramson (R), publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. holds up four fingers to indicate the four Pulitzer Prizes won by the New York Times, as winners for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize are announced in the newsroom in New York.
FILE - With Executive Editor Jill Abramson (R), publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. holds up four fingers to indicate the four Pulitzer Prizes won by the New York Times, as winners for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize are announced in the newsroom in New York.

‘Anita wrote me last week to say she was proud of me. That meant so much,'' Abramson said.
 
Abramson co-wrote a book with New Yorker magazine writer Jane Mayer  about Thomas.

Message of resiliency

Abramson's abrupt dismissal last Wednesday unleashed a polemic in the media world amid speculation that she was fired for complaining about being paid less than her male counterparts -- an allegation denied by the company, the French news agency AFP reported.
 
Amid high media interest in her case, the ousted editor did not address the circumstances about her dismissal but said she wanted to bring a message to students about resilience in life.
 
"Sure, losing a job you love hurts," she said.
 
"But the work I revere -- journalism that holds powerful institutions and people accountable -- is what makes our democracy so resilient. This is the work I will remain very much a part of."
 
She cited numerous cases of people bouncing back from adversity and urged the graduating class to take inspiration from that.

"I'm talking to anyone who's been dumped, not gotten the job you really wanted or received those horrible rejection letters from grad school," she said.
 
"You know the sting of losing or not getting something you badly want. When that happens, show what you are made of," Abramson said.

Sulzberger, whose family controls the New York Times Co., announced to a stunned newsroom last week that he had replaced Abramson with her second-in-command, Dean Baquet. Abramson was the first woman appointed to lead the newsroom.
 
She told the students that she had no immediate professional plans.

“What's next for me. I don't know. So I'm in exactly the same boat as many of you,'' Abramson told the audience.
 
Sulzberger's abrupt dismissal of the woman he hired three  years ago sparked a firestorm of debate over women managers in the workplace. The controversy was fueled by a report in The New Yorker that said Abramson was paid less than her predecessor as executive editor, Bill Keller, and other male counterparts during her 17-year career at the paper.
 
Compensation factors

Sulzberger has since twice spoken out to say that Abramson's compensation was not ``considerably'' less than that of Keller's - that it was directly comparable - and to deny she was removed because she is a woman.
 
In a statement on Saturday, Sulzberger targeted Abramson's management skills, ticking off a list of reasons including ``arbitrary decision-making, a failure to consult and bring in colleagues with her, inadequate communication and public mistreatment of colleagues.”

To the Wake Field graduates, Abramson offered special praise for The Times in her remarks.
 
She said Times journalists "risk their lives frequently to bring you the best news report in the world" and is "such an important and irreplaceable institution."

Abramson famously got a tattoo of the Times iconic ``T'' on her back. When asked if she was going to remove it, she said: ``Not a chance.”

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters and AFP.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jim Lewis from: Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsi
May 19, 2014 2:03 PM
Ms. Abramson has spunk and well deserves the special attention from the community she has served so well over the years. Presently she has been given the opportunity to catch her breath and prepare for the next episode we call life.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs