By Christopher B. Daly
Is former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson getting back into journalism?
Yes, according to hints she dropped Monday night during a talk at Boston University. Abramson said she has been exploring the possibility of launching a new journalism start-up with veteran publisher and investigative reporter Steven Brill.
The proposed new operation would focus on a few large stories, and it would employ professional journalists at decent salaries, Abramson told a packed hall during a conversation with Times media columnist and B.U. professor David Carr.
After Carr teased her about making some news and challenged her to “show a little leg,” Abramson said, “Well. . .” Then she divulged that she and Brill have been conducting talks with investors who might back their proposed venture.
But she revealed little else, offering no details on how her journalism start-up would work financially or how it would stand out
Since her departure from the Times, Abramson has given a series of i
nterviews (mostly to female journalists), and she has been teaching a course in narrative non-fiction in the English Department at Harvard.
When Carr brought up the subject of her separation from the Times and seemed to be groping for a euphemism, Abramson abruptly corrected him, saying “I was fired.” She added that she has spent her career seeking the truth and telling it, so she saw no reason to sugar-coat her dismissal from the newspaper in May at the hands of the publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr.
Abramson, 60, began her career in journalism by reporting for and editing a student publication at Harvard, the Independent, then went on to jobs at the American Lawyer, Legal Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Times.
Her conversation with Carr was sponsored by Boston University’s NPR affiliate, WBUR-FM. It was to be broadcast Tuesday evening at 8 p.m..
[Full disclosure: Jill and I were classmates in college, and I have seen her sporadically since then. I enjoyed her book about her dog.]
Update: You can listen to the full conversation here on WBUR’s superb midday program “Here and Now.”