The NY Times First Female Editor

Finally, after the New York Times 160-year history Jill Abramson is to become the first female executive editor at the New York Times. Bill Keller is giving up the highest editorial position at the newspaper and moving to a columnist role, which he was said to have accepted with 'mixed emotions'. The succession which is to take effect in September gives Abramson enough time to savor the shift. A former Investigative Reporter and Washington Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal, Abramson, has real journalistic credits. She joined The New York Times in 1997 and has worked her way up to the highest editorial position at the newspaper.

From my vantage point, this is an exciting move for The New York Times and for Abramson.   Abramson is credited for leading the integration of print and digital news and understands the urgency of delivering content 'yesterday' even if it happens today. The only disappointing aspect of her move up was Abramson herself admitted to  NPR that she would not be making any changes   to the newspaper- and here I thought that the NY times would move to less journalistic hard line news and more fluffly celebrity stories...oh wait, I spoke too soon- that's just the digital version- right?

I'd like to see Abramson push her higher sensibility to action, utilize her deep feminine intuition and give the American public a louder voice. After all, isn't the point of having someone new to shake up the status quo? To be what has always been is boring, because now, in this form, it will never be what it has been- there is a new view from where I can see. It would be a shame for this new historical change to simply be symbolic.

A few weeks ago, a friend mentioned that the Tsunami buzz was dead, and that no one cared anymore and as proof he took me directly to the New York Times digital front page. Really? I thought, Really? The New York Times is the American pulse- to be honest I have always thought of The New York Times as the voice of corporate communication.   It's where the too rich corporations take out entire ads to silence the tiny voices. It would be great to see Abramson solve the paper's elite reputation problem and really be a paper for the people and a new voice for all Americans. I can't help myself for hoping that one change can hurdle many many more. It's just the way I think.

And to my friend who thinks the Tsunami buzz is dead, maybe read the Financial Times, they actually cover global news- knowing global news is LOCAL.

Read Bill Keller’s email to the staff at NYT:

Colleagues:

Beginning June 1, Jill is going to take a six-month detour from the traditional Managing Editor role to run the news part of the Website and to fully immerse herself in the digital part of our world. Her aim will be to push our integration to the next level, which means mastering all aspects of our  digital operation, not only the newsroom digital  pipeline  but also the company’s digital strategy in all its ramifications. During this time she will  largely disengage from day-to-day news coverage.

We have invited three editors – Larry Ingrassia, Dean Baquet and Susan Chira – each to fill in for two months as acting Managing Editor for News. Larry will step up for June and July, Dean for August and September, and Susan for October and November.

No doubt this  rotation will be widely analyzed, interpreted and speculated about. (I look forward to hearing and reading a lot of entertaining nonsense.) The real purpose is threefold: 1) to give us a chance to see some of our best editors applying their talents to the entire news report, in print and online, rather than to specific departments; 2) to give these editors a break, a digression, a cobweb-clearing, an adventure; and 3) to allow deputies in their departments to show what they can do with a couple months of greater authority and autonomy.

At the end of these sojourns, we expect the substitutes to return to their department a little smarter and a little refreshed.  Jill will return to the ME job ready to guide the final lap of newsroom integration.

Best,

Bill

Jill Abramson Gaurdian UK.