To do good writing, read good writing. Here’s the good writing I’ve been reading this week:
In my first job out of journalism graduate school close to 30 years ago I worked as the associate editor and then editor of a health-care trade magazine. The job entailed reporting on developments in the health-care industry, which meant a fair bit of travel, to Washington D.C. to meet with politicians and lobbyists, to visit companies I was profiling, and to medical conventions, conferences and trade shows to check out the latest in health care services and equipment.
I was young, in my early 20s, and naive, so naive I didn’t recognize the sexism I encountered on the job for what it was. Walking down the aisles at expos and conventions, I got cat calls from market reps manning their companies’ booths, the same obnoxious treatment they gave the scantily clad girls my age working as booth models. I heard pickup lines at the cocktail parties I was required to attend a representative of the magazine I worked for. It wasn’t any better back at the office. After I was promoted to editor, the publishing company’s production manager bullied me on a regular basis because he didn’t like the fact that someone 10 years younger than he was had been given so much responsibility.
Why bring this up now? Because it’s what I’ve been thinking about since the news broke yesterday that come September, Jill Abramson will replace Bill Keller as executive editor of the New York Times. When she takes over, she’ll be the first woman ever to hold that position at what’s one of the most respected news organization in the country.
It’s about time. We’ve come along way since those bad old days of my early journalism career. Some would argue that it’s taken too long, and at the Times maybe it has. Strong editors who happen to be women have run daily news organizations for years; here in Portland, Sandy Rowe led the Oregonian for 16 years, during which time the paper won five Pulitzer Prizes.
Here’s to editors like Rowe and Abramson. Maybe with enough of them in positions of responsibility, young journalists will never again have to walk through the gauntlet of sexism and misogyny that I did.
Here are other stories discussing Abramson, her career and her new role at the Times:
- Collins on Abramson’s appointment: ‘Maybe we’ve reached the ultimate goal of the women’s movement (Romenesko)
- Jill Abramson: Built Truck Tough (Slate)
- When Jill Abramson was the only grown up in the Times building (Capital New York)
- Jill Abramson: The NYT’s New Executive Editor (The Daily Beast)
- Meet the new boss: Jill Abramson’s NYT ascent and its potential impact on the digital side of the Times (Nieman Labs)
- Jill Abramson doesn’t want a war with Arianna Huffington (FishbowlNY)