Jill Abramson becomes the next executive editor of the New York Times.

Media criticism.
June 2 2011 6:46 PM

Jill Abramson: Built Truck Tough

An excellent, if unsurprising, choice for executive editor of the New York Times.

(Continued from Page 1)

I'm reluctant to give Keller too much credit for demystifying the Times because I've been unable to document how much of the glasnost that washed through the place during his eight-year tenure was his doing. But there is a lot to admire. The public-editor slot, depending on your point of view, has given the newspaper and its editor hell or has covered up for him since the mighty Daniel Okrent first took the position in 2003. Like or hate the public editor, such a position would never have flown in the Rosenthal or Raines eras. Keller instituted semi-annual "Throw Stuff at Bill" gripe sessions with his staff. (Had Raines done the same, paperweights, daggers, and grenades would have filled the air.) "Talk to the Times" has sought to give readers a chance to grill newsroom heavyweights. More than any previous Times editor, Keller engaged his critics directly, making the paper more human, more vulnerable, and in my reading, better.

But this is supposed to be a column about Abramson. Back in your cage, Keller.

Much is being made today about the fact that a woman has finally become the editor of the Times. Excuse me for not leading a parade or throwing confetti skyward or using Abramson's rise as an opportunity to cut and paste from Nan Robertson's The Girls in the Balcony: Women, Men, and the New York Times to remind people of how poorly the news profession (and other professions) have treated women. A worthy topic, but I'm all genuflected out on this one. I think of Abramson's promotion as a victory for journalism before I think of it as a victory for women. When Baquet takes over in several years after Abramson steps down, making him the first African-American executive editor of the Times, I'm sure I'll have parallel thoughts.

I don't have any advice for Abramson or Baquet aside from quoting something Keller told Hagan in 2006. Of the executive editor, Keller said:

You are dependent on this huge reservoir of talent, and your job is to create the circumstances under which they can do their best work, to reward them when they do well, correct them when they do wrong, set some guidelines, and spur their ambitions. But it's not about me.

Advertisement

******

Has my column been taken over by Opus Dei? Stations of the Cross … dispensations … genuflections. Send blessings via email to slate.pressbox@gmail.com and receive them via my Twitter feed. (Email may be quoted by name in "The Fray," Slate's readers' forum; in a future article; or elsewhere unless the writer stipulates otherwise. Permanent disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.)

Track my errors: This hand-built RSS feed will ring every time Slate runs a "Press Box" correction. For email notification of errors in this specific column, type Abramson in the subject head of an email message, and send it to slate.pressbox@gmail.com.

Jack Shafer was Slate's editor at large. You can follow him on Twitter or email him at Shafer.Reuters@gmail.com.

TODAY IN SLATE

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.
Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

Walmart Is Crushing the Rest of Corporate America in Adopting Solar Power

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 1:47 PM The Best Way to Fry an Egg
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 5:38 PM Justified Paranoia Citizenfour offers a look into the mind of Edward Snowden.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.