Quite sickmaking over Jill Abramson

The one thing that IO truly cannot stand about American journalism is how seriously they all take themselves. They’ve all missed the truth that it’s all about having something to put in the white spaces in between the ads and nothing more complex than that.

The most august newspaper in the US, the New York Times, was left reeling on Wednesday after its executive editor, Jill Abramson, was fired and replaced by her deputy less than three years into one of the most exalted jobs in journalism.

Reeling? Exalted? Come on folks, someone who had climbed the greasy pole in her craft (and it is a craft, not a profession) got fired, that’s all.

When she took the job in September 2011, Abramson, 60, said it was “meaningful” that a woman had been appointed to run newsroom of such an influential organisation, and her removal is now certain to be perceived as an example of the “glass cliff” facing women in high journalistic office.

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“High office”? And how in hell can anyone who makes a living with words use something as appalling as “meaningful”?

The Times also on Wednesday night appeared to be heading head-first into a potentially damaging furor over unequal pay of senior women on its staff. Both Ken Auletta of the New Yorker and NPR’s media correspondent David Folkenflik reported that a few weeks ago Abramson had confronted the “top brass” after she discovered that she was paid much less than her predecessor, Bill Keller.

Awww, diddums.

Jeez folks, get over yourselves. And wouldn’t the NYT be a much more enjoyable paper if there was rather less of this self-importance attached to it?

13 comments on “Quite sickmaking over Jill Abramson

  1. the septics have always had a highly sanctimonious take on journalism. I mean you can’t imagine season 5 of the wire taking place at a british national newspaper, let alone a regional one like the Yorkshire Post.

    Mind you, I think British journalism was summed up beautifully by The Thick Of It:

    “What’s the fucking news? Just tell me the news and I’ll put it on the front page! I mean we’re not the fucking Independent. We can’t just have a big picture of a dolphin and the word “CRUELTY””

  2. “What’s the fucking news? Just tell me the news and I’ll put it on the front page! I mean we’re not the fucking Independent. We can’t just have a big picture of a dolphin and the word “CRUELTY””

    Well you can if you’re The Sun. But only if someone is shagging the dolphin. And she has big knockers.

    Isn’t it nice to see the New York Times didn’t pay its affirmative action hire the same as it paid the previous White male? And even nicer that what everyone is saying is that she was a b!tch. Nothing like a sexist smear to make my day. Let’s see if they will pay their next affirmative action hire the same as her.

  3. Yeah, a great big fuss over nowt. Readers don’t give a bucket of pig wank, except for a few named columnists. Journalists, on the whole, should be read but not seen or heard. The egos in Brit journalism are bad enough but the self-regarding fuss from the Yanks is just…(That’s enough. Ed).

  4. “she discovered that she was paid much less than her predecessor”

    That’s her own fault for not negotiating harder. Plenty of studies show that women are weaker than men in salary negotiations.

    “And wouldn’t the NYT be a much more enjoyable paper if there was rather less of this self-importance attached to it?”

    I don’t know about that. People want to watch “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”, not “Lifestyles of the Poor and Unknown”; especially in America. It’s also a marketing ploy: both the NYT and the Guardian project an image of being nobler, holier, less tainted by money. It’s that biblical idea of “filthy lucre”.

  5. Agree on the sanctimonious shit from journalists, especially galling these days when they are nothing but political shills or copy n paste merchants.

    Still, it warms my heart to know all those idealistic fools who graduate in journalism will be writing articles about cats in local newspapers for the next ten years, and will be paid to do it if they are lucky.

  6. As SMFS hinted the other day, and AM suggests above, the feminisation of a trade or profession makes it worse.

    Because women are bad wage negotiators, the general wage level fails to keep up, respect is lost and high calibre candidates don’t apply.

    It’s already happened in primary teaching and journalism, it’s coming soon in law and medicine.

  7. “People want to watch “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”, not “Lifestyles of the Poor and Unknown”; especially in America.”

    Quite. The NYT is essentially an upscale women’s magazine and has been for some time.

  8. The phrase “tomorrow’s fish and chips wrapper” is apt; it’s just a shame you have to explain what it means over here.

  9. bloke in france – “As SMFS hinted the other day, and AM suggests above, the feminisation of a trade or profession makes it worse.”

    I don’t think I was hinting. Although I have had a good run of female line managers in my time.

    “Because women are bad wage negotiators, the general wage level fails to keep up, respect is lost and high calibre candidates don’t apply.”

    It is Margaret Mead’s law. Hardly a sexist her. But she did notice that every society all over the world values what men do and don’t value what women do. Which means if you get more women into the profession, it ceases to be a serious profession. Teaching is a good example as you say. Doctors in the Soviet Union is an even better one.

    I am not sure it is just about wage negotiation. Other people on the internet say it is because men are focused on the outcome while women are intent on making a safe working environment where no one’s feelings get hurt.

  10. SMFS,

    “It is Margaret Mead’s law. Hardly a sexist her. But she did notice that every society all over the world values what men do and don’t value what women do. Which means if you get more women into the profession, it ceases to be a serious profession. Teaching is a good example as you say. Doctors in the Soviet Union is an even better one.”

    I don’t think that’s really true. There’s some jobs that women are really good at because it suits their biology and are valued at doing. Nursing, primary teaching. I’ve also found that women are generally better at credit control than men. Recruitment (an industry that takes no passengers) is about 50/50.

    But one thing I’ve noticed is that women are often the last to spot one door closing and another one opening. They often look at jobs in terms of either the past or present, where men will look at the future. It’s why startups are full of men, and as they become more conservative, they start to become full of women. And when you look at companies with female CEOs, they’re often companies who are slowly dying like IBM and Xerox.

  11. The Stigler – “I don’t think that’s really true. There’s some jobs that women are really good at because it suits their biology and are valued at doing. Nursing, primary teaching.”

    How many functional primary schools do you know? I might agree that women are better at nursing, if it wasn’t for the NHS and its raft of female managers. How hard is it to give an OAP a glass of water? But if women are better than men at nursing, surely that doesn’t mean they are good at it. Just better than men. As far as respect goes, in the old days I certainly respected nurses. More than doctors even. Not sure I would now.

    “I’ve also found that women are generally better at credit control than men. Recruitment (an industry that takes no passengers) is about 50/50.”

    Yet women are not good at their own finances. Married men have the highest net value. Single women very poor. Worse than single men. Recruitment? Oh my God, you mean HR?

    “But one thing I’ve noticed is that women are often the last to spot one door closing and another one opening. They often look at jobs in terms of either the past or present, where men will look at the future. It’s why startups are full of men, and as they become more conservative, they start to become full of women. And when you look at companies with female CEOs, they’re often companies who are slowly dying like IBM and Xerox.”

    HP. I think the writing may be on the wall for Yahoo. It is, presumably evolution and biology. Men are risk takers, women are nest-builders and all that. Or to put it another way, a pretty young girl is never going to get a better male or males than she is right now. It is all down hill once she is, say, 21. It doesn’t matter what she does, she cannot do much to improve the quality of the men she attracts. But dorky men can get some quality women if their start up works out and they make billions. Men have a massive incentive to do well.

  12. SMFS,

    “As far as respect goes, in the old days I certainly respected nurses. More than doctors even. Not sure I would now.”

    That’s down to the professionalism thing, and the lack of any fear of getting fired.

    “Recruitment? Oh my God, you mean HR?”

    No, I mean recruiting people for jobs. Basically… sales. But actually, women are generally better at some HR too. And in software, I’ve generally found that women make better testers than men.

    “HP. I think the writing may be on the wall for Yahoo.”

    Yahoo is the AOL of search engines. Some people have it because they’ve always been on it, but I doubt that it’s getting many new users.

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