Jill Abramson keeps cordial on radio leg of media blitz

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Jill Abramson. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
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In one of her first interviews since abruptly being fired as executive editor of The New York Times in May, Jill Abramson said that she had "few regrets and only good feelings" about the nearly two decades she spent working for the paper of record.

"I look back on it with a lot of pride because I had a wonderful career at The New York Times, and I loved being a reporter and editor there," Abramson told hosts Pat Kiernan and Rita Cosby during their afternoon radio show on 77 WABC.

She woudln't discuss recent articles, however, claiming that part of the reason for her termination had to do with pay disparity concerns she reportedly raised with Times publisher and chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr.

"I'm past the point of wanting to rehash those issues," she said, quickly reasserting herself when pressed by Cosby: "I'm not gonna talk about that."

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Abramson's departure from the Times, where she led the paper to eight Pulitzer Prizes while grappling with the ongoing digital transformation of the news industry, played out in iterative reports each floating a new piece of the puzzle about what may or may not have led to her firing by Sulzberger, and her replacement by Dean Baquet, who had been Abramson's no. 2.

Abramson had been keeping her head down ever since. But now she's on a bit of media tour, showing a willingness to publicly address certain aspects of the drama.

Shortly before her WABC spot, which appears to be her first broadcast interview since being fired, Cosmopolitan published a wide-ranging interview with Abramson that will appear in its September issue. Earlier in the day, interviews with Greta Van Susteren of Fox News Channel and Katie Couric of Yahoo were announced for Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Last week, Abramsom gave a speech at the Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York that was followed up with a brief Huffington Post interview; tonight, she's set to give a talk about political journalism at The Common Good, a non-profit headquartered in Manhattan.

Asked by Cosby about Sulzberger's stated decision to let her go due to issues concerning her "management style," Abramson said, "I respect Mr. Sulzberger, and he has said what he said, and that is his place."

Abramson also spoke about the Obama administration's clampdown on leakers, an issue about which she has been particularly vocal over the past year.

"I feel the most regrettable thing about this administration and its dealings with press are the criminal leak investigations that the Obama administration has pursued," she said. "I think it's a real threat to the freedom of the press and makes it difficult for journalists to carry out their duty to inform the public."