Jill Abramson, the executive editor of The New York Times, made an appearance last night at NYU’s journalism school. In her hour-and-a-half conversation with NYU professor Meryl Gordon she touched on what it’s like to be executive editor (“I don’t get to complain anymore.”), what the Times thinks of your potty mouth (“If a swear word is gonna be used and is actually consequential to the actual news in the story, which in some cases it is, we make exception.”), and how she felt working under her former boss Howell Raines (“I did think about quitting”).
During the question part of the talk, NYU Local asked Abramson about the rumored section aimed squarely at millennial interest (supposedly called “NYT Juniors”). Responding to the hints dropped last week by Times C.E.O. Mark Thompson, she said, “I think that it’s a wrong interpretation.”
“I know what you’re talking about, he was not phrasing it towards a younger audience, but a product that would be tailored a little bit more to people who get their news on mobile. I think we’re a ways off from looking at that…Top Stories on our apps is a version of that. The way I read what he was saying is that it was more focused on mobile and trendwise and more people are reading on their smartphone.”
I guess the Times x Thought Catalog mashup of our new media nightmares will never be a reality — at least under Jill Abramson.
She also addressed The Times‘ concerns of access to the white house:
“I think it is a story, the white house’s manipulation of the press and in some cases, this white house’s hostility to the press. I think the most consequential part of that is actually the leak investigations. They have had six criminal leak investigations, it’s like way more than there have ever been in any period of time. That puts a chill by itself. It makes all of our sources afraid that they could be prosecuted if they talk to us and I think that’s much more meaningful than not holding press conferences. The fact that they don’t hold enough press conferences is bad, but the former is far more grave a situation than the latter…I think this is a very legitimate subject to write about. The white house is more controlling of the president’s image but importantly of executive power in terms of the media more than any administration I’ve dealt with. More than George W. Bush’s when I was Washington bureau chief.”
Capital New York has more highlights from last night’s talk. Perrier and San Pelegrino were served. So were vegetable platters with purple cauliflower:
Only the weirdest space food is allowed to be served for Jill Abramson.