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Former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson gave the commencement address at Wake Forest in North Carolina this weekend, just days after she was fired by the newspaper. Despite growing speculation of why she was fired, she said she enjoyed her three years there and doesn’t plan on getting rid of her tattoo of the Times' ‘T’ logo.
“What's next for me?” she said during the speech, which was her first public appearance since she left the Times, notes the Wall Street Journal. “I don't know, so I'm in exactly the same boat as many of you,” she told the graduates.
Abramson told the students that many of them may experience professional setbacks, but they have to deal with them with strength. “I'm talking to anyone that's been dumped, not gotten the job you really wanted or read those horrible rejections from graduate school,” she explained. “When that happens, show what you are made of.”
As for the famous tattoo she has of the Times’ script ‘T’ logo, she told students the night before the speech that she doesn’t plan on removing it, reports the Washington Post. “Not a chance!” she told students.
Abramson, the Times’ first female executive editor, was ousted on Wednesday and replaced by Dean Baquet, the paper’s first African American executive editor. There was speculation that she was fired after requesting pay equal to her male predecessor, but the Times has officially stated that it was her style of doing business that clashed with executives and her colleagues.
“During her tenure, I heard repeatedly from her newsroom colleagues, women and men, about a series of issues, including arbitrary decision-making, a failure to consult and bring colleagues with her, inadequate communication and the public mistreatment of colleagues,” New York Times Company chairman Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. said in a statement Saturday.
Sulzberger said that Abramson was actually paid more than her predecessor and that her leaving had “nothing to do with pay or gender.” He noted, “Jill is an outstanding journalist and editor, but with great regret, I concluded that her management of the newsroom was simply not working out.”