Ousted N.Y. Times editor tells graduates to keep fighting

Mon May 19, 2014 5:19pm EDT
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By Ken Otterbourg and Jennifer Saba

WINSTON-SALEM/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ousted New York Times editor Jill Abramson struck a defiant note on Monday in her first public remarks since the newspaper fired her, urging a group of university graduates to fight back in the face of adversity.

"Some of you, and now I'm talking to anybody who has been dumped ... You know the sting of losing and not getting something you badly want. When that happens, show them what you are made of," she said during a commencement speech at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

Abramson's remarks came less than a week after her dismissal by publisher Arthur Sulzberger, which has triggered accusations of sexism and management issues at the Times and cast a spotlight on the internal politics of its newsroom. Sulzberger is a member of the family that controls the New York Times Co.

David Carr, the newspaper's media columnist, on Monday compared the fallout from her firing to a bloody episode of "Game of Thrones."

The media frenzy surrounding the circumstances comes on reports that Abramson refused a payout package.


While she acknowledged the controversy, Abramson never directly addressed the acrimonious details during her speech.

Instead she touched on many influences in her life, including her parents, Katharine Graham - who led her family's newspaper as publisher of The Washington Post, and her Times colleague James Risen.   Continued...

Jill Abramson, former Executive Editor of the New York Times, waves after giving the commencement address at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina May 19, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Miczek