The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta has dropped another bomb on
The New York Times’ claim that former executive editor Jill Abramson was making the same amount of money as her male predecessor.
In a story published Thursday evening, Auletta reported Abramson actually made as much as $US84,000 less than Bill Keller, the man who had her job before her.
“As executive editor, Abramson’s starting salary in 2011 was $US475,000, compared to Keller’s salary that year, $US559,000. Her salary was raised to $US503,000, and — only after she protested — was raised again to $US525,000,” Auletta wrote.
Auletta also claimed Abramson made less than her male predecessor’s as The Times’ managing editor, the position he held before taking the paper’s top newsroom position in 2011. Further, he said her salary as Washington bureau chief from 2000 to 2003 was “a hundred thousand dollars less” than that of her male successor in that role.
These numbers weren’t the only bombshell in Auletta’s report. He said Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy “conceded” the fact Abramson hired lawyers to discuss her salary “was a contributing factor” in her determination. Murphy subsequently demanded a correction from The New Yorker and Auletta added an update defending his story.
“Her quote is accurate and in context, as I’ve confirmed in my notes,” Auletta wrote in the update. “However, she now emails: ‘I said to you that the issue of bringing a lawyer in was part of a pattern that caused frustration. I NEVER said that it was part of a pattern that led to her firing because that is just not true.'”
Auletta was first to report that a pay disparity may have been a factor in Abramson’s abrupt firing from the paper, which was announced Wednesday. According to Auletta, Abramson’s departure was preceded by her confronting Times management after discovering the wage gap. Since then, in a series of statements including an email from publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., The Times has steadfastly maintained Abramson was never paid less than Bill Keller, the man who had her job before her.
On Wednesday, Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy told Business Insider Abramson never made “meaningfully less” than Keller. Murphy also gave Auletta a potential explanation for the apparent discrepancy between his figures and The Times’ statements about Abramson’s salary.
Auletta indicated he had a conversation with Murphy about the numbers and she “cautioned that one shouldn’t look at salary but, rather, at total compensation, which includes, she said, any bonuses, stock grants, and other long-term incentives.” Murphy also told Business Insider in an email Thursday that Abramson’s “total compensation was higher as executive editor in 2013 than Bill Keller’s total compensation was in any previous year.”
Business Insider emailed Murphy Friday morning to ask whether she disputed Auletta’s numbers. As of this writing, we have not received a response.