Today at 2:35 p.m. the New York Times announced to its editors, and the world, that Dean Baquet would become the new executive editor of the world-renowned newspaper. His ascension to the post comes at the unexpected departure of Jill Abramson, the current executive editor. Baquet will become the first African American executive editor of the Times.
Here is what you need to know:
1. He Will Be Replacing Jill Abramson as Executive Editor
Jill Abramson became the first female executive editor of the New York Times in 2007. Her departure, although unexpected, was foreshadowed in a Politico article published on April 23. Politico’s Dylan Byers wrote that Abramson was increasing alienating NYT’s staff members with tantrums, and paints Baquet as the warm and paternal figure the Time‘s staff needs.
The piece, which does not quote Abramson, quotes Baquet as saying, “I never lose my temper at a person, I lose my temper at walls.”
In her statement to the paper’s staff today she said:
I’ve Loved my run at The Time. I got to work with the best journalists in the world doing so much stand-up journalism.
A spokesperson for the New York Times told Ad Age:
Arthur made the decision because he believed that new leadership would improve some aspects of the management of the newsroom.
2. He Served as the New York Times Assistant Managing Editor Since 2007
In 2007, Baquet left his job at the Los Angeles Times and became the Washington bureau chief and assistant managing editor of the New York Times. Speaking to the editors today, the paper’s publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., said of Baquet:
There is no journalist in our newsroom or elsewhere better qualified to take on the responsibilities of executive editor at this time than Dean Baquet…He is an exceptional reporter and editor with impeccable news judgment who enjoys the confidence and support of his colleagues around the world and across the organization.
Above you can hear him talking about newspapers and corporate culture.
3. He Is a Pulitzer Prize Winner
Before working for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, Baquet did reporting for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, and the Chicago Tribune. In 1988, while reporting for the Chicago Tribune, Baquet won a Pulitzer Prize for his investigative reporting on corruption in Chicago.
4. He Served as Editor of the Los Angeles Times
Baquet left his job as the national editor at the New York Times to take a position as the managing editor of the LA Times in 2000. In 2005, he was promoted to the LAT’s top post and worked there until he left in 2007. According to the Washington Post, Baquet was ousted from the Los Angeles paper because he refused to make the budget cuts dictated by the paper’s corporate owners.
5. He Once Killed a Story About NSA Wiretapping
In 2007, ABC reported that Baquet, while serving as the editor of the Los Angeles Times, killed a story about the NSA given to the paper by whistleblower Mark Klein. Klein had uncovered at AT&T, where he worked, that the NSA was installing surveillance rooms and equipment where they could monitor and copy internet traffic.
Klein took documents over to Los Angeles Times, only to have Dean Baquet kill the story at the request of then-NSA chief Michael Hayden. You can read the whole story here.