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New York Times Publisher Responds To Reports Of Unequal Pay

“In 2013, her last full year in the role, her total compensation package was more than 10% higher than that of her predecessor, Bill Keller, in his last full year as executive editor, which was 2010,” said Arthur Sulzberger Jr. in a memo to staff today.

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times via Associated Press

Dean Baquet, Jill Abramson (center) and Bill Keller in May 2014.

New York Times Publisher and New York Times Company Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said it is “not true” that Executive Editor Jill Abramson was paid less than her male predecessor.

“It is simply not true that Jill’s compensation was significantly less than her predecessors,” Sulzberger wrote in a memo to Times employees obtained by Capital New York and reported by the Times. “Her pay is comparable to that of earlier executive editors. In fact, in 2013, her last full year in the role, her total compensation package was more than 10 percent higher than that of her predecessor, Bill Keller, in his last full year as executive editor, which was 2010. It was also higher than his total compensation in any previous year.”

In an article titled, “Why Jill Abramson Was Fired,” the New Yorker’s Ken Auletta reported that “several weeks ago” Abramson confronted “the top brass” at the Times after learning that her salary and pension were “considerably less” than what Bill Keller, the previous executive editor, had received. He suggested that the pay gap dispute was a reason for her ouster.

NPR’s David Folkenflik also reported these charges and called the confrontations as “the final rupture” between Abramson and Sulzberger.

A spokesperson for the Times told Politico Thursday that “Jill’s total compensation as executive editor was not less than Bill Keller’s, so that is just incorrect.”

update

The New Yorker published a second part to its Abramson story Thursday night, which doubles down on its claim that Abramson took issue with earning less than her male predecessors. Auletta reports that Abramson’s salary in 2011 was $475,000, compared to Keller’s salary of $559,000.

According to Auletta, she then “protested” after getting an intial raise to make her salary total $525,000. A spokeswoman for the Times told Auletta that this incident was a “contributing factor” to her firing.

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