Media Oxpecker: Why Women in Media Can’t Have It All

Media news you may have missed this week while you were busy empowering.

Why did the New York Times abruptly dismiss executive editor Jill Abramson — the first woman ever to hold the top editorial position there — and replace her with managing editor Dean Baquet? The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta reports that a pay disparity may have triggered events:

As with any such upheaval, there’s a history behind it. Several weeks ago, I’m told, Abramson discovered that her pay and her pension benefits as both executive editor and, before that, as managing editor were considerably less than the pay and pension benefits of Bill Keller, the male editor whom she replaced in both jobs. “She confronted the top brass,” one close associate said, and this may have fed into the management’s narrative that she was “pushy,” a characterization that, for many, has an inescapably gendered aspect.

Update 5/16: Auletta has a new post removing any doubt that Abramson had been paid a lower salary than her male counterparts during her career at the Times.

Bloomberg reports that in the eyes of publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Abramson was clearly asking for it by “giving interviews and appearing on panels without consulting the company.”

Reporting from within the building, David Carr and Ravi Somaiya fill in more details:

In recent weeks, people briefed on the situation said, Mr. Baquet had become angered over a decision by Ms. Abramson to try to hire an editor from The Guardian, Janine Gibson, and install her alongside Mr. Baquet in a co-managing editor position without consulting him. It escalated the conflict between them and rose to the attention of Mr. Sulzberger, who was already concerned about her style of newsroom management.

Amanda Hess explains Abramson’s effect on the paper’s younger female employees. Ann Friedman writes about the frustration of never knowing for sure how much of a role gender plays in these situations and says, “In real time, it’s hard to be sure what’s sexism and what’s you.” Gawker takes the Times to task for repeatedly changing its story about Abramson’s salary. And Kate Arthur writes: “She got fired with less dignity than Judith Miller, who practically started the Iraq war.”

Of Abramson’s successor, Richard Prince reminds us that, “Yes, it’s a huge deal to have a black journalist run the New York Times.”

Meanwhile, BuzzFeed got its hands on an internal report on the Times’ efforts to adjust to the digital world. Both Poynter’s Andrew Beaujon and Joshua Benton at the Nieman Journalism Lab go over some of the highlights from that report.

#TBT: Ann Friedman’s brilliant “If Jill Abramson were a man…”

More links from this week:

Jason Zaragoza thinks you can have it all by applying for a scholarship to attend the AAN Convention in Nashville. Pushy and brusque applicants always welcome.

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