Today we learn from the front page left bottom that Jill Abramson will replace Bill Keller for unknown reasons immediately at the helm of the Times. Abramson Named Executive Editor at The Times By Jeremy Peters
What could have triggered this? Are they in a panic over the Web? The Times recently started charging for Web access but it aint gonna replace print ads. If the Times goes, we will be stuck without a reliable daily voice as the foundation of our understanding of almost every topic. Despite its sometimes horrendous flaws – as in its mindless support of the great scientific boondoggle, HIV/AIDS – we are married to the Times until the end, our end at least, we hope.
Here’s another man’s view of the Times (a softened Gay Talese):
The clergy doesn’t tell the truth. Bankers don’t tell the truth. The government doesn’t tell the truth. Bush doesn’t tell the truth. Obama doesn’t tell the truth. Nobody tells the truth as much as the Times tries to tell the truth. And without the Times, we might as well be the Soviet Union in the old days.
Be that as it may, while we wait for some genius to tell us how to save print from the ad drought, we have to wonder also at the steady elevation of the great Abramson despite what psychologists would say is a very great handicap when it comes to impressing others in this culture with your leadership quality – a massive drawl, a drawl so vast in its braking power that it paralyzes the thought processes of all who are listening, or trying to listen to her.
What is it in Jill’s makeup that so impresses all who deal with her that they entirely overlook what would otherwise mark her as the village idiot? Surely it is not the possibility that it matches the general lethargy of Times editors, who seem incapable of allow texting to breathe and run. Wading through the magazine is usually like running across a ploughed field. Only the most determined and fit can do it.
Yet the new executive editor, bless her warm heart with its love for tradition at the Times plus her openmindedness to the new digital age, is the vocal embodiment of that ploughed field. What gives?
Is it the new PC era where people with handicaps are treated with special kindness and the challenges they have to meet, and do meet so courageously, are overlooked in the cause of treated them equally, as befits the greatest democracy?
At least Jill assures a Yale student that the Times is still making money:
Some worry that the dominance of the Internet has disrupted the business model of newspapers, but I see it presenting us with a great challenge. That challenge is to publish the best newspaper in the world — which still makes a nice amount of money and has a very avid readership — but also to develop what I think is the best news site on the web, and to be terrific at both. The Internet has made us more creative and more competitive in many ways.