After an initial burst of being out and about and meeting with people, Jill Abramson, the executive editor, has retreated into her office and Dean Baquet, the new managing editor, has taken a very large role in working the newsroom and being in charge of the daily news report. The afternoon page-one meeting is run by Dean. Abramson is presumably doing bigger strategic thinking. Her biggest moves so far have been installing Sam Sifton as national editor and David Leonhardt as Washington-bureau chief. They both represent her vision for the paper: They’re brainy, know both high and low culture, and are charismatic, but maybe without the deep reporting credentials and pedigree that you used to see. They’re not former foreign correspondents or war correspondents. You used to have to go to Warsaw and Johannesburg to become executive editor. That’s the Joe Lelyveld–Keller model; Howell Raines was London-bureau chief, and even he looked a little thin on that experience, and it was commented on back then. So to now have one political reporter and one investigative reporter running the paper is a little bit different. Jill goes to the morning meeting, which tentatively decides what gets out front and what the website is going to do, but the final front-page decisions are made at the 4 p.m. meeting, and she does not go to that. Everyone likes Dean. He turns out to be quite decisive. People walk around all day saying “Dean seems to like that” or “He’s not crazy about that.” Bill cared more about foreign and somewhat intellectual stuff. Jill cares more about domestic, and she certainly cares more about Washington.
As told to Gabriel Sherman