Today's surprise announcement that New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson was departing was not completely out of the blue.
There had been some past reports of disagreement in the newsroom over her work.
Interestingly, she had made clear she had already given much of the day-to-day oversight to managing editor Dean Baquet, who will replace her.
She told me in 2011:
"I've given him broad authority over the daily news report," Abramson said of Baquet, former Times Washington bureau chief and past editor of the Los Angeles Times. "I don't go to the front page meeting in the afternoon. I think I'm the first executive editor who hasn't.
have a morning meeting at 10 where we pick likely stories for the front
page. And that meeting is more focused on what's leading our home page
and when certain stories are coming in. It's a good meeting for me, it
gives me the lay of the land in terms of what the most important news
events of the day are and what our best enterprise journalism is. But I
let Dean lead. ... Dean is the most senior editor in charge."
As for Baquet, this marks his second stint as top editor of a major newspaper. He led the Los Angeles Times before being dismissed in 2006 shortly after a critical speech at the Associated Press Managing Editors conference in his hometown of New Orleans.
I detailed that departure in a 2006 profile of Baquet and his brother, Terry, a veteran editor at the Times-Picayune in New Orleans.
Interesting that Abramson was the first woman executive editor of the Times and Baquet becomes the first African-American executive editor of the grey lady. He also served as the first such editor at the Los Angeles Times.
Whatever the newsroom management issues at play here, it is certainly a tough time for anyone to run a major daily paper, especially the Times, which many consider the best in the country. Still, it cannot be what it used to be with cutbacks, revenue problems and the same financial hits ever paper is taking.
Stay tuned to see why this happened and what it means for the paper's future.