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Jill Abramson Sacked at NY Times in Palace Coup; Lieutenant Gets Job

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 Jill Abramson was relieved of her duties a The New York Times in a major executive shakeup in the newsroom.

Jill Abramson was relieved of her duties a The New York Times in a major executive shakeup in the newsroom. (Photo by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images)

Jill Abramson, executive editor at The New York Times, was ousted in what appears to be a palace coup. Her top lieutenant, Managing Editor Dean Baquet was tapped to replace her. The move was sudden and unexpected, according to media watchers.

Abramson became executive editor, The Times top editorial position, only three years ago. No reason has been given yet for her departure.

The news comes on the heels of reports out of Washington that one of the paper’s chief rivals, The Washington Post, has been gearing up with as many as 50 new, newsroom hires over the past year.

Billionaire Amazon chief Jeff Bezos bought the paper last fall from the Graham family for a bargain basement $250 million. The paper was valued as high as $1.5 billion during its boom years in the 1980s.

But most major media companies have seen their fortunes dwindle in the face of an onslaught of competition from Internet start-ups, that have, in many cases, been able to outmaneuver the lumbering corporate giants.

With more and more people getting their information over the Internet, changing reading habits have also cut into traditional media outlets.

While papers like The Times and The Post have extensive online editions, they are not profitable.

Baquet, the first African-American executive editor, is largely cut from the same journalistic cloth. So it’s hard to see how he’ll manage The Times’ online efforts any better.

Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. reportedly sacked Abramson and informed the staff personally. “Arthur made the decision because he believed that new leadership would improve some aspects of the management of the newsroom,” a spokeswoman said.

Abramson was the paper’s first female executive editor.

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