Just when it looked like the New York Times Company was finally getting its act together… a huge personnel change comes along to shake things up completely.
The company behind the “Grey Lady” announced on its own website today (paywall) that its executive editor, Jill Abramson, is “unexpectedly” leaving. She will be replaced by managing editor Dean Baquet, who was previously the editor of the Los Angeles Times.
Investors don’t seem to be taking kindly to the news. The stock price had been under pressure before the announcement, but was at session lows at the time of writing; it is down about 4.4% today, wiping out its gains for the year so far.
There is a massive amount of speculation on social media at the moment as to why the shock departure is taking place. Here is one of the NYT’s own reporters on the matter:
The change was attributed, by Arthur Sulzberger Jr, to "an issue with management in the newsroom". No further details yet.—
Ravi Somaiya (@ravisomaiya) May 14, 2014
The Times’ own Twitter list of its staffers is also worth following, if you like obsessing about this kind of thing.
Earlier this month, Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, the son of the company’s chairman, had led an innovation report into ways the newsroom operates. It’s not yet clear whether this was in any way related.
Abramson has been in the top editing position at the times since late 2011. One of her four tattoos is a letter “T” in the newspaper’s font, on her back.
It’s also worth noting that she is not the only top editor that has been ousted today. The editor-in-chief of France’s top newpspapers, Le Monde, Natalie Nougayrède, also quit today, after a long-running newsroom conflict over changes she was trying to introduce.