Jill Abramson Is Already Thinking About Her Successor

April 25, 2014 | by holly peterson | Women of Influence

Abramson has closed the gender gap on the Times' masthead, and she's already thinking about her successor.  

Jill AbramsonJill Abramson, executive editor of The New York Times. “Our masthead is now half women for the first time,” she says.

What is the measure of your success? 
When I leave, will there be several plausible female candidates to take my place? Our masthead, which is the leadership group of editors, is now half women for the first time, and I’m very happy to see that happen under my watch.

What does “lean in” mean to you, how do you understand it? 
What it means is don’t automatically be a backbencher. Don’t leave before you have to leave, and don’t self-edit yourself out of power equations.

How did you view your appointment as Executive Editor of The New York Times?
It was a big deal. I’m incredibly proud to have the honor of being the first woman to have this job.

Does The Times look different under your watch?
My particular passion is the story behind the story, and we’ve had more of that on the front page.

Do you see an all-digital paper?
No. We are now very happily a multi-platform news organization. Print has plenty of life in it. There are readers who just love the serendipity of turning pages and how you discover an interesting article that you weren’t necessarily searching for.

Would a man have made the same journalistic decisions you have made?
I don’t see a gender difference in how you make editorial calls.

Do you think a reporter asking if a woman leads differently than a man is anachronistic?
It’s not like we live in a completely gender-blind society. I think there are still some differences. It’s said that women leaders are more collaborative, and I think it’s a very good leadership style.

Any advice to those starting their careers?
Find something you love and just try to do it. I’ve loved doing this the entire time.

This interview is part of a spotlight Q&A series in our May/June issue feature on "The 50 Women Who Run New York." 

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