New York Times and Le Monde editors leave amidst turmoil

Two of the world’s most powerful female newspaper editors left their respective posts in controversial circumstances, write Emily Bennett and Paul McClean.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | May 16, 2014

Two female editors, Jill Abramson from the New York Times and Natalie Nougayrède from Le Monde, unexpectedly departed from their respective roles on Wednesday.

Abramson was dismissed from her role as Executive Editor of the New York Times after three years.

She was the first female editor in the newspaper’s 162-year history, and in her former position, was among the top 20 most powerful women in the world.

She was succeeded by Assistant Managing Editor, Dean Baquet, according to an announcement made by publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr.

Baquet is the newspaper’s first African American executive editor, though this achievement could be overshadowed by the circumstances surrounding Abramson’s dismissal.

It is alleged that her contract was terminated because she requested the same pay as former New York Times Executive Editor, Bill Keller.

She hired a lawyer to raise the issue of her unequal salary with the paper’s publishers, and a spokesperson for the New York Times claimed that this action “was part of a pattern that caused frustration” among the paper’s upper echelons.

Sulzberger insisted her pay was “comparable” with that of previous editors, and went on to say, “Her total compensation package was more than 10 percent higher than that of her predecessor, Bill Keller, in his last full year as executive editor…(and) higher than his total compensation in any previous year.”

A New York Times report also claimed that Baquet was unhappy with a decision made by Abramson to offer the Guardian’s Janine Gibson the position of Co-Managing Editor without his prior knowledge. This is said to have created a conflict between Abramson and Baquet, which caught the attention of Sulzberger Jr.

Gibson, who was recently appointed as Editor-In-Chief of the Guardian’s global website, confirmed in a report for the Guardian that she had been approached for the position: “The New York Times talked to me about the role of joint managing editor, but I said no.”

Several staff at the paper have said that she will be missed. Alison Mitchell, National Editor of the NYT, said, “Jill was an important figure. It is important that a woman became the editor of the New York Times and she went out of her way to mentor younger women reporters.”

Lydia Polgreen, the paper’s deputy international editor, tweeted, “Jill Abramson is a great journalist. I will miss her.”

Natalie Nougayrède, who was the first female editor of Le Monde, is believed to have resigned from her role following a power struggle with seven of the newspaper’s senior editors last week.

It is said that conflict arose when she called for a revamp of the newspaper. In particular, there were disputes over a new print format, a tablet edition of the newspaper and planned personnel changes.

This saw seven of the newspaper’s top editors resign from their roles in protest.

Nougayrède explained the reason for her departure in an email to staff: “The personal and direct attacks against the management and myself prevent me from implementing the transformation plan I put to shareholders and which requires the broad agreement of the editorial teams.”

Her resignation comes nearly a year after she secured the role with a record 80 percent support in an in-house ballot, following the sudden death of her predecessor, Erik Izraelewicz.

Share via
Copy link