Courtesy of the New Yorker’s Ken Auletta comes another installment on just what happened to prompt the ouster of former New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson. As the story stood, Publisher Arthur Sulzberger was miffed that Abramson may have misled him about her plans to hire Janine Gibson of the Guardian to work on the paper’s digital operations — in a position with authority equal to that of reigning managing editor Dean Baquet.
Though Abramson reportedly told Sulzberger that she’d kept Baquet apprised of the plans vis-a-vis Gibson, “Baquet has told friends that she did not clue him in,” reports Auletta.
Whatever the truth about who knew what in the upper reaches of the New York Times regarding Gibson’s arrival, this much is clear: The internal report on innovation at the New York Times suggests that the towering priorities facing the paper — plotting an authentic digital strategy, overthrowing the tyranny of print and Page One, educating digitally averse newsroom leaders — might just require a digital executive with a bit of clout. As Auletta notes in his story, “Abramson supporters wonder why Baquet was so exercised about recruiting a second managing editor as a way of confronting the digital future.”
The ironic part is that Baquet now will have to do just what Abramson was attempting to do: Hire a Janine Gibson with real authority over the newsroom.