The New York Times abruptly replaced its first female executive editor, Jill Abramson, on Wednesday and named managing editor Dean Baquet as the first African-American in the top editorial post.
Abramson’s departure was announced by the US daily’s publisher Arthur Sulzberger, and the paper’s own report said: “The reasons for the switch were not immediately clear.”
The sudden departure left many questions unanswered both inside and outside one of the nation’s most prestigious news organisations.
The New Yorker cited unnamed sources as saying that Abramson quit after a confrontation over her pay, said to be lower than Bill Keller, her predecessor as executive editor and previously managing editor.
“She confronted top brass,” the magazine cited a close associate as saying, adding that this may have fed into the management’s narrative that Abramson was “pushy.”
The report was backed by NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik, who said he had confirmed Abramson “did indeed challenge corporate brass over what she saw as unequal pay” and that Times staff wondered if gender had a role in her ouster.
But the Times disputed that account.
“From the start, Jill’s compensation as executive editor was directly comparable to Bill Keller’s compensation as executive editor,” spokeswoman Eileen Murphy told AFP.