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New York Times names Jill Abramson executive editor, a first in paper's 160-year history

keller_baquet_abramson.jpgCredit outgoing New York Times editor Bill Keller for providing one more editorial surprise; stepping aside to promote managing editor Jill Abramson as his successor, giving the Grey Lady its first female editor in the newspaper's 160-year history.

In the shuffle of jobs, Washington bureau chief Dean Baquet will be advanced to managing editor. Baquet, who is black, creates with Abramson the most diverse leadership team in New York Times history, as well. The changes take effect in September.

The newspaper's own story on the shift says this change is sparked by Keller's entirely voluntary decision to step down and return to writing, including a Sunday column to start later this month. Already, Keller had been returning to the old tradition of newspaper editors writing columns, including a diatribe about the evils of social media for journalists.

Keller's departure feels like a transition; a move from the Times era of rebuilding after the Jayson Blair scandal. By aggressively dominating the nation's news cycle and positioning itself as a smart, surprising source for traditional news, the NYT has left the scandal which ousted former editor Howell Raines and managing editor Gerald Boyd far behind in the rearview mirror.

Now it's time for Abramson and Baquet -- both successful managers with good reputations in the newsroom -- to chart the Grey Lady's course in the 21st Century, with management reflecting the country's growing diversity.

For an industry that's supposed to be dying off, some corners of newspapering offer more opportunities than ever.

[Last modified: Thursday, June 2, 2011 12:06pm]


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