Today is a huge day for women in journalism. Jill Abramson officially starts her job as the executive editor of the New York Times, the first woman to assume the top spot in the paper’s 160-year history.
Abramson, #12 on the latest Forbes list of powerful women, joined the Times from the Wall Street Journal in 1997. She previously served as a managing editor under Bill Keller, who she succeeds as of today. She had also been Washington bureau chief and an investigative reporter for the Times. But Abramson isn’t all hard news. Next month, she’ll publish “The Puppy Diaries,” a book about raising her golden retriever, Scout, over the first year of his life.
When Abramson’s promotion was announced in the newsroom in June, she gave a brief talk in which she acknowledged that she “stood on somewhat different shoulders than past executive editors.” She acknowledged more than a dozen women in her speech, including Times CEO Janet Robinson, columnist Maureen Dowd, and Nan Robinson, an early reporter for the paper who had to fight to be hired and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize. And she said that becoming executive editor was “the honor of my life.”
Abramson is known for being web-savvy, and she has said that one of her first tasks will be to integrate the digital and print arms of the paper, and to turn NYTimes.com into more of a community. So it would be fitting that you hop online to read the first paper she puts out. But today might be a good day to pick up a hard copy of her paper, with her name at the top of the masthead, just for the sake of history.
Photo: New York Times