In a long article bemoaning the fact that the new CEO of the New York Times likes to keep his eye on the newsroom, an interesting anecdote reveals executive editor Jill Abramson has a special vacation destination when she wants to unwind: Cuba.
Former BBC head Mark Thompson was hired in September of 2012 to take over as the CEO of the New York Times, but when he finally began to execute his duties, the paper’s editors and writers found that he was making a habit of hanging around the newsroom. This was not to their liking.
“The Times’ reporters and editors, eager to hold on to the protocols of a legacy media world, hold quasi-religious views about the sanctity of the newsroom against the influence of business concerns,” the article in New York Magazine notes. “The mere presence of a corporate suit among the journalists was like a belch in a cathedral nave.”
The article is an amusing illustration of the “uneasiness” between the editors and journalists of the paper of record and their new overseer, who has taken the non-traditional tact of keeping his thumb directly on the denizens of the newsroom instead of observing the usual hands-off role most executive “suits” had obeyed in years past.
But one bit of info is telling. Executive editor Jill Abramson finds one of the most oppressive countries in the world to be a fitting vacation spot.
Deep in the story we find this passage (emphasis added):
In February, when the staff held farewell parties for two popular veteran (and, by Times standards, expensive) editors, Jon Landman and Jim Roberts, who had been encouraged to take buyouts, Abramson left on a trip to Cuba with her sister. “I remember at one point Jill announcing she was leaving on this vacation because she was exhausted by all the tension of the buyout,” says a colleague. “Oh, I’m sorry, it was even harder for the people who were leaving.”
So, here we learn that the executive editor of what is purported to be the premier American newspaper, the New York Times, thinks the oppresive Communist utopia of Cuba is the best place to unwind.