Ken Auletta: How I got my Jill Abramson scoop


Transcribed from The New Yorker’s “Out Loud” podcast, hosted by New Yorker website editor Nicholas Thompson.

Nicholas Thompson: So, Ken, you recently set the Internet on fire. You wrote a post that that I believe has had 1.3 million readers so far, about the firing of Jill Abramson of the New York Times. Tell me about the moment it happened, how you heard, and how you went about writing your blog post, which appeared maybe three hours after the news hit.

Ken Auletta: It was 2:36 in the afternoon. I was sitting in front of my Mac, and I was working on the Hillary piece and there flashed across my screen a notice – I get push notices from the New York Times and other places – Jill Abramson been fired, and I said, Oh, wow.

Then Amy Davidson, who works for you, emails me literally within minutes. Have you heard about this? Can you do anything? And I was so shocked and curious what happened, so I began to make calls. And I called someone I know who’s extremely close to her, and this person first didn’t want to talk, and I called this person back five minutes later and then this person told me some things about her pay – the pay issue – as one of the issues, and that she had hired a lawyer, which became a bigger issue. …

If a man you call tough, and a woman you call pushy or bitchy – that’s a form of gender-based attitude, and that may well exist here with her. Certainly Jill Abramson felt that. That’s really a central thing. Clearly it was in Jill Abramson’s mind that she as a woman was being treated unfairly, which is why she hired a lawyer – my God! – and that act, which was not a team-like act, was something that was deeply offensive to Sulzberger. …

* Out Loud: Ken Auletta on Media (