Times are Changing
By Marcy Driehaus
Words such as “driven”, “dedicated”, “strong”, and “determined” are consistently used to describe our Women of the Week, and this week is no exception. This week’s woman of the week embodies all of those traits and then some by taking the world of journalism by storm and refusing to back down.
Born in 1954, Jill Abramson was a pure bred New Yorker. Growing up with exposure to various cultures and diverse lifestyles, it’s not surprising that Abramson’s creativity would soon play a huge role in her future career endeavors.
After maintaining a humble high school education in the Bronx, Abramson went on to attend Harvard Law. Once graduating magna cum laude with a BA in History in 1976, Abramson’s journalistic journey took wind.
Abramson’s career jumpstarted when she was plunged into the political realm in 1976 after covering that year’s presidential election for Time Magazine. After channeling her ambitiousness in such a mainstream news outlet, it was clear that Abramson was bound to be successful in all of her career type pursuits. After her work at Time Magazine had come to a close, Abramson went on to work as an editorial consultant for The American Lawyer, a news source that covers law firms, lawyers nationwide, and various topics pertaining to legal business. Amidst the chaos of her budding journalism career, Abramson found time to marry a fellow Harvard classmate, Henry Little Griggs III, in 1981. Though she was now a married woman, Abramson was far from “settling down”. Her journey had only just begun.
After co-authoring her first book in 1986, Abramson briefly served as an editor for the Legal Times before moving onto the big leagues after landing a position as an investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal in 1988. Fast-forward nine years later to 1997 when Abramson found herself in conversation with New York Times’ columnist Maureen Dowd at a book party. While talking to Abramson, Ms. Dowd happened to ask if she knew of any women reporters who would be interested in working for the Times. Being the pistol that she is, Abramson quickly suggested herself and was hired as within the year as enterprise editor. From there her titles only got more prestigious as the years progressed going from enterprise editor, to Washington editor, to Washington bureau chief while at the same time teaching at Princeton. On September 6, 2011, Abramson was named the first ever woman to serve as the executive editor of the New York Times.
In light of all of her successes, Abramson is still very aware of the hardships that women in the business world endure. In response to Katie Couric’s groundbreaking achievement of becoming an anchor for CBS evening news, Abramson was quoted saying, “This is yet another transitional moment for professional women. There will now be a female solo anchor. But there are still few women successfully leading the cornerstone institutions of our society.” By making headway in her powerful position at the New York Times, Jill Abramson is doing a great job by proving herself to the world and exemplifying the notion that women can in fact be leaders in cornerstone institutions of our society.