In her first public appearance since her dismissal from The New York Times, former executive editor Jill Abramson compared herself to a new college graduate: “scared but also a little excited.”
“What’s next for me? I don’t know. So I’m in exactly the same boat as many of you,” Abramson told the Class of 2014 at Wake Forest University’s graduation ceremony on Monday, to laughs and applause.
The Times announced last week that Abramson was being replaced by Dean Baquet. Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. denied reports her dismissal had to do with complaints over unequal pay or the company’s treatment of women. Instead, he cited her management style.
In her speech, Abramson focused on a theme of resilience, talking briefly about her time at the The Times but not directly addressing her dismissal. She said she didn’t want the “media circus” taking attention from the grads.
“It was the honor of my life to lead the newsroom,” she said. “Sure, losing a job you love hurts, but the work I revere — journalism that holds powerful institutions and people accountable — is what makes our democracy so resilient. This is the work I will remain very much a part of.”