10 Fast Facts on Jill Abramson, the First Female Executive Editor of The New York Times

Jill Abramson

Jill Abramson was the first female executive editor of The New York Times — and might just be getting started. Since leaving the Gray Lady, she’s been working on a new media company, specializing in long-form journalism (longer than a magazine article; shorter than a book). For this top-shelf reporting, Jill and her investors are offering advances averaging $100,000.

Here are 10 other facts about Jill Abramson:

1. She was an investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal for almost 10 years.
She left that job to become an enterprise editor for the New York Times in 1997.

2. She has four tattoos.
One is a New York City subway token she got in 2003 to commemorate her return to the city from Washington, D.C. Another is the iconic “T” from the The New York Times, and the red “H” of Harvard University. On the latter two, she has said "…[they] are the two institutions that I revere, that have shaped me."

3. She met Maureen Dowd at a book party and they have been buddies ever since.
In 1997, Maureen reportedly asked Jill if she knew of any female editors that the Times should hire. Jill suggested herself and was hired not long afterward.

4. Her boss Howell Raines did not like her choices and tried to move her to the Book Review section.
Jill reportedly “stood her ground” and, in 2003, Howell resigned over a nasty plagiarism scandal. His replacement, Bill Keller, then asked Jill to be his managing editor. From potential demotion to promotion!

5. She was the first female executive editor of the Times — and then was famously fired.
Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the Times publisher, says Jill was fired due to issues with her “management style.”

6. She wishes she had better negotiated her starting salary as executive editor.
“Silly me,” she reportedly said at the Journalism & Women Symposium’s 2014 Conference and Mentoring Project.

7. Her sister, Jane O’Connor, is a best-selling author.
Of the Fancy Nancy series of children’s books.

8. She worked in a cheese shop and as a cocktail waitress for a summer in college.
In Nantucket. Her parents rented a house there for the summer.

9. She co-wrote a book about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill.
With Jane Mayer, who is now a staff writer at The New Yorker, and whom Jill met in high school.

10. When she was promoted to executive editor, Jill personally offered her job as managing editor to Dean Baquet.
Later, he succeeded her as executive editor and became the first African-American in the position.

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