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Letter to Romenesko

From DONALD G. McNEIL Jr., New York Times science correspondent: A perspective from a member of the Guild’s negotiating team during the 2011-2012 labor struggle. And someone who has been at the Times since 1976.

For those of us in the union, the news that Jill self-destructed over her pay package is bitter. During the negotiations, when we asked newsroom managementtimespaper to fight for us and stop corporate management from gutting our pensions and giving us sub-inflation raises, she carried water for them, making speeches saying we all just had to buckle down and work harder for less. Dean, by contrast, met with us, and listened.

Also, consider this lede, from a 2006 review of “The Lionesses” about female journalists.

I worked for many years as an investigative reporter in Washington, digging into all manner of government grubbiness for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. In this trench-coated, gumshoe world, I only occasionally encountered other women among the journalists poring over documents in obscure federal agencies or pounding on the closed doors of K Street, the capital’s famous corridor of lobbyists. By long tradition, this was men’s turf. It was telling that one of my colleagues once anonymously described me in a published profile as having “balls like cast-iron cantaloupes.”

Byline: Jill Abramson. Those of us below the rank of managing editor are simply not allowed to write like that.

Some of us old enough to remember Donald and Ivana Trump’s divorce playing out for weeks on the front pages of the News and Post wish this would all just stop. The only thing Jill could have done more mortifying than the boxing pic would have been to pose in an Angela Davis wig with her fist raised. But this flow of “let’s correct the record” notes also prolongs the tit-for-tat. Public spats hurt the Times

Donald G. McNeil Jr.
Science Correspondent
New York Times

* NYT’s Lydia Polgreen says gender not the issue with Abramson firing (vox.com)
* From 2003: “It’s time to take a deep breath and think about the New York Times” (Romenesko Letters)

In a statement released Saturday afternoon, New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. says former executive editor Jill Abramson “is an outstanding journalist and editor,twosome but with great regret, I concluded that her management of the newsroom was simply not working out.”

He says Times employees complained about “arbitrary decision-making, a failure to consult and bring colleagues with her, inadequate communication and the public mistreatment of colleagues.”

From: NYT Company Mail
Date: May 17, 2014 at 5:00:12 PM EDT
To: All Company Employees
Subject: Note and Statement from Arthur

Dear Colleagues,

This afternoon I issued a public statement and I wanted to make sure you all have an opportunity to read it.

Arthur

Statement of Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.

Perhaps the saddest outcome of my decision to replace Jill Abramson as executive editor of The New York Times is that it has been cast by many as an example of the unequal treatment of women in the workplace. Rather than accepting that this was a situation involving a specific individual who, as we all do, has strengths and weaknesses, a shallow and factually incorrect storyline has emerged.

Fueling this have been persistent but incorrect reports that Jill’s compensation package was not comparable with her predecessor’s. This is untrue. Jill’s pay package was comparable with Bill Keller’s; in fact, by her last full year as executive editor, it was more than 10% higher than his./CONTINUES Read More