Promoting her new book, “The Puppy Diaries,” on “Morning Joe” Monday, Jill Abramson spoke about what it is like to be the first female executive editor of the 160 year-old New York Times and her “brusque” style, as partially detailed in a recent Ken Artuletta New Yorker profile.
Abramson explained that while she is known for being “tough” and “hard-nosed” she is working on adjusting how she deals with people.
“I think I have always been plenty kind, and maybe not so gentle, I’m working on the gentle, I think what you may find is a Jill Abramson who listens more and dominates the conversation a little less,” she said, adding that she is not making any big changes.
Co-host Mika Brzezinski pushed back against Abramson’s concession that she is working on becoming more “gentle” and urged Abramson not to change to be liked.
“The reason I ask about adding a more gentle touch and exactly what you were tweaking there is because I was speaking to women recently, about my book, and they are all so worried about looking like the ‘B’ word and I said, ‘Let it go. I mean, seriously, the only one worried about that is you. Let it go and others won’t as well,’” Brzezinski said. “And so when I read that, I’m, like, thinking is she adjusting so that she is more likable, because you shouldn’t. Clearly you’ve gotten where you are by being who you are.”
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Abramson denied that she has changed her approach in any way.
“I’ve been in this business for decades and I think everyone will tell you I am the same person I’ve always been,” she said.
According to Abramson, while she is a women, she does not think that any of her challenges will be due to the fact that she is a female.
“There are always obstacles to face, you know, and I can’t possibly anticipate what they’re going to be, Joe, but I do not think it is going to be because of my gender,” she said, responding to co-host Joe Scarborough’s concern that newspapers are an “old boy’s club.” “And something I keep in my office is an over-sized photograph of the “New York Times” newsroom in 1905. It’s a bunch of men in suits with many of them with beards, one lone woman sitting down.”
Abramson added that with females comprising a third of management, the New York Times is a great place for women.