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Illustration of Jill Abramson, executive editor of The New York Times. (Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail/Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail)
Illustration of Jill Abramson, executive editor of The New York Times. (Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail/Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail)

The Lunch

Jill Abramson: NYT's Alpha female Add to ...

“I gotta go in, like, two seconds,” she says, scooping a few berries into her mouth for dessert. Even a lunch on home turf is taking longer than she’d like. “I’m going to visit my Metro desk.”

CURRICULUM VITAE

PERSONAL

Born March 19, 1954

A native New Yorker, she grew up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side

Bachelor of Arts in history and literature from Harvard; graduated magna cum laude in 1976

FAMILY

Married to Henry Griggs, a media relations consultant to non-profit organizations

Daughter Cornelia is in her first year as a surgeon at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital

Son Will runs a record label, Cantora Records, with two partners

CAREER

Was a reporter for the magazine American Lawyer and then editor of Legal Times

At The Wall Street Journal, she worked as an investigative reporter and became Washington deputy bureau chief

Winner of the National Press Club award for national correspondent in 1992

Joined the Times in 1997; became Washington bureau chief in 2000 and managing editor of the paper in 2003

Author of three books: Where They Are Now; Strange Justice (with Jane Mayer) and The Puppy Diaries

HER IDOLS

E.B. White, “not least because he loved dogs,” but also because he is “just the finest kind of writer.”

Jane Mayer (co-author of her second book) and Times columnist Maureen Dowd – who both have the ability to dig up information, zero in on its importance, and communicate it to readers with style, wit and clarity, “something akin to having perfect pitch.”

IN HER OWN WORDS

On Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who declared in a recent speech, “I’m a goddamn journalist”:

“He was a source for us. We were well aware of what his ambitions were for Wikileaks itself, and I guess a role in journalism that he saw it playing. ... He was not working on our journalism. He was a source of documents.”

On aggregation sites like the Huffington Post:

“That can dilute the impact of New York Times journalism. We pour so many resources into doing the kind of digging and reporting that we do, that we want to make sure that there is a big awareness that it’s the Times’ story and we still are making that investment. The flip side is ... aggregation sites can create more awareness of high-impact stories and bring people linking to read the story. So we benefit from that.”

On an issue so well-worn, her predecessor Bill Keller capitalizes the phrase in his columns – The Future of Journalism:

“I think there’s a giant future for reliable information. It’s wrong to obsess over ‘will there always be newspapers?’ ... The raw ingredients for the newspaper are the same for the journal as on all of our other platforms. And those even deepen more, are the power of our storytelling and the power of our journalism. I’m confident of that at the Times. And I feel that, given the economic realities of this era, that people do crave information and that being better informed is an active part of citizenship here that isn’t going away.”

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