Support for Jill Abramson

Dear Jill:

The members of the Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS) support you.

As you ascended the ranks of top newspapers, you impressed us with your investigative journalism chops. When you became the first woman to run one of the most influential news organizations in the world, you inspired us to reach for leadership positions in our careers. And when you spoke to us during our annual conference last fall, you re-invigorated us with your self-proclaimed optimism about the journalism field and the influence we can have as women in it. Now we want to support you.

At the JAWS conference, you brought us to our feet declaring yourself to be “the newest member of JAWS” and acknowledging us as your “peeps.” Well, your peeps are here for you if you need us. We are hundreds strong in newsrooms all across the country and we stand with you and will help if we can.

You have accomplished amazing things through your talent and determination and it is fitting that you are part of the JAWS sisterhood. We are able to see ourselves as more powerful and competent because of the work you and other influential JAWS members have accomplished.

Indeed, our ties with strong women at what has ironically been known as “The Gray Lady” stretches way back. Nearly a half-century before your name graced the top of the New York Times’ masthead, Eileen Shanahan – on the founding JAWS board – was forging a bold path at the paper with her respected economic reporting. And, no woman had ever headed the foreign copy desk at the New York Times, until Betsy Wade – another JAWS trailblazer – did. Since then we have had an esteemed roster of JAWS supporters from the Times, including Joan Cook, Mary C. Curtis, Diana B. Henriques, Merrill Perlman and Nan Robertson, who spoke to us about her “Girls in the Balcony” book on the sex discrimination lawsuit filed against the Times in the 1970s.

Regarding your recent departure, we could not let this moment pass before saying loud and clear that we support women in journalism leadership positions, we support efforts to get equal pay for equal work and we support you.

If you can make it to our next conference Oct. 31-Nov. 2 near Palm Springs, California, we’ve got a room for you and your husband (and Scout).

Keep kicking ass,

Lauren M. Whaley and the rest of the pushy, brusque, stubborn and abrasive journalists of JAWS