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NYT editor in shock ouster

New York, May 15 (Reuters) - The New York Times Co yesterday abruptly ousted the newspaper’s top editor, Jill Abramson, after less than three years in the job and named managing editor Dean Baquet to replace her.

Baquet, 57, a Pulitzer prize-winning reporter and former editor of the Los Angeles Times, becomes the paper’s first African-American editor.

Abramson, 60, became the Times’s first woman executive editor in 2011.

The shakeup is the latest sign of turmoil at the New York Times Co, which is controlled by the Ochs-Sulzberger family. It has been selling assets, cutting staff and looking for new revenue sources as print advertising revenue declines.

While its shares have stabilised and its latest quarterly earnings exceeded expectations, the Times’s business model, like that of other newspapers, remains under pressure. Abramson’s departure is the latest sign of upheaval in the management of the paper and its publisher.

Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr abruptly ousted Janet Robinson as chief executive officer three months after Abramson was given the top job as editor. Robinson, who received a $24 million pay package, was replaced by Mark Thompson, the former director general of the BBC.

Sulzberger told stunned staff members yesterday the appointment of Baquet “would improve some aspects of the management of the newsroom”, according to his remarks obtained by Reuters.

He did not elaborate on what those issues were but said they did not relate to the direction of the journalism or the paper’s digital future.

“This is also not about any sort of disagreement between the newsroom and the business side over the critical principle of an independent newsroom,” he said.

Thompson said in a statement: “Jill has been a brilliant and supportive partner to me over the 18 months we've worked together. She is handing over to Dean a newsroom in superb form.”

Abramson, who was not present at the meeting, did not respond to a request for comment. Abramson said in a statement, “I've loved my run at The Times. I got to work with the best journalists in the world doing so much stand-up journalism.”

The New Yorker reported that Abramson had confronted Times’s executives after she discovered her pay and pension benefits were less than those of Bill Keller, whom she succeeded, citing an unnamed close associate of Abramson.

In a statement the Times said that Abramson’s “total compensation as executive editor was not considerably less than Keller’s. It was directly comparable”.

 
 
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