Anatomy of a Decision

Decisions in the Newsroom

Jill Abramson

Former New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson discusses the role of the press in a democratic society and how she weighed the consequences of printing stories with global and national security implications. Abramson details The Times’ reporting of intercepted conversations with an Al-Qaeda leader and how she navigated warnings from top security personnel.

Interviewed by Eric Jaffe, GLG’s Head of Research for NAFS


“I’ve faced editorial decisions where we were under enormous political pressure to handle a story in a certain way. Being able to successfully navigate that terrain is as crucial today as ever.”


About Jill Abramson

For over 17 years, Jill Abramson served in the most senior editorial positions at The New York Times. She was the first woman to be named the paper’s Washington Bureau Chief, Managing Editor, and Executive Editor. Before joining The Times, Abramson worked at The Wall Street Journal as their Washington Bureau Chief and as an investigative reporter covering money and politics. Abramson is the author of three books including the National Book Award finalist, Strange Justice, which she wrote with Jane Mayer. Since 2014, Abramson has taught narrative non-fiction writing at Harvard University. Previously, she taught undergraduate writing seminars at Yale and Princeton. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as The American Philosophical Society.


Read more:

For Jill Abramson, journalism comes full circle, Harvard Gazette
Press Freedom Versus National Security, C-SPAN
Qaeda Leader’s Edict to Yemen Affiliate Is Said to Prompt Alert, The New York Times