Highlights from Jill Abramson’s Q & A

Jill Abramson, executive editor of The New York Times, took some time out of her day to answer readers’ questions. There were a variety of subjects covered, but we selected a few of our favorite questions and answers. Check them out below.

What’s your advice for a young female journalist who hopes to climb the ranks to a leadership role in the news media someday? 

Abramson: Learn how to report, listen to people and ferret out what is really interesting and important. Read Maureen Dowd.

How can you guarantee The New York Times’s objectivity in this age of “infotainment” and claims of bias?

Abramson: Our standards for accuracy and quality journalism include the separation of news and opinion, and articles are clearly labeled. A legendary executive editor named Abe Rosenthal once said he wanted his tombstone to read “he kept the paper straight.” This, too, is my standard for the news report.

Because of economic pressures and industry consolidation in the print media industry, many parts of the country have poor or sometimes no resources from which to obtain important local news. As an industry leader, is there any role for The New York Times to play in filling that vacuum?

Abramson: Yes, there is. The Times has been involved in providing quality local news in New York, California, Illinois and Texas. Our desire to bring quality journalism to a wider audience that is hungry for it extends internationally as well, including online and in-language news sites in India and China as well as a just announced expansion in Brazil. Stay tuned.

Would you please give us the criteria used to select the new public editor, Ms. Sullivan? (I think she is off to a great start!)

Abramson: Margaret Sullivan was a very strong candidate for the job because of her passion to be the readers’ advocate in understanding our journalism. She brings fresh energy to the job because of her comfort and experience with blogging and other digital forms. She was also one of the most respected editors in the business, so her basic good judgment and knowledge of journalism were also important.