ink-stained wretches

Jill Abramson Will Help Women at the New York Times Whether You Like It or Not

Photo: Evan Agostini/AP2010

New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson took a moment away from rearranging her masthead to appear on Alec Baldwin’s WNYC podcast “Here’s the Thing, and she barely blinked at the mention of her own historical importance. As the first female top editor in the paper’s storied history, Abramson was matter-of-fact when asked about the tradition of Ivy League men taking the “pipeline” from Columbia J-School to the Times, explaining that women are now 37 percent of the workforce, a number she has her eyes fixed on firmly. When Baldwin wondered about the perception that “the rising tide of Jill Abramson is gonna raise all female boats now at the Times,” she put it plainly: “Well, in part I expect that of myself.”

I don’t expect that I can ever raise all female boats, but I try to go out of my way, not to the exclusion of men, but I do take a particular interest in careers and work of many of the younger women at the Times and … And I’m like open about it,” Abramson continued. “If anyone has a problem with that, too bad.”

Looking out for the underrepresented has a role in her own Times origin story, Abramson explained earlier in the chat: “[Maureen Dowd] came up to me at the book party and she said, ‘Do you know of any good women we can hire?’” Abramson remembered. “And so I looked at her with, it was kind of, ‘What am I, chopped liver?’ look. And she said, ‘You would never leave The Journal’ and I said, ‘Oh, wouldn’t I?’ … And she had, like, the new bureau chief call me up for lunch and he made me a job offer and I came, and then Maureen and I became completely inseparable.” Now she’s in the position to pay it forward.

Jill Abramson Determined to Help Women at NYT