What ex-NYT editor told graduates

Jill Abramson, the former executive editor of The New York Times, broke her silence on Monday, just days after she was fired.

“Sure, losing a job you loved hurts,” Abramson told 2014 graduates in her commencement address at Wake Forest University. “But the work I revere — journalism that holds people and higher institutions accountable — is what makes our democracy so resilient.” 

“This is the work I will remain very much a part of.”

Abramson was the Times's first female executive editor. She didn’t address why she was fired and said she doesn’t know what she’ll do next.

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“What’s next for me? I don’t know! So I’m in exactly the same boat as many of you!” Abramson told the graduates. “And like you, I’m a little scared but also excited.”

Abramson said when you receive disappointments, prove yourself. 

“You know, this thing of losing or not getting something you badly want. When that happens, show what you are made of,” she said.

“It was the honor of my life to lead the newsroom,” Abramson added.

Abramson said a student asked her Sunday night if she was "going to get that Times 'T' tattooed on your back removed?"

“Not a chance!” Abramson said.

It’s unclear exactly why Abramson was fired. A series of rumors  suggested her termination was tied to complaints about equal pay and circumventing other top editors in making decisions.

“I concluded that her management of the newsroom was simply not working out,” Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said in a statement Saturday. He said rumors about an unequal treatment of women at the paper were incorrect.

Dean Baquet was named last week as Abramson’s successor, becoming the paper’s first African-American executive editor.

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