Jill Abramson, managing editor for news at The New York Times, is taking a six-month break from her typical duties to concentrate on digital initiatives, the Times‘ Stephanie Clifford reports. Romenesko has a copy of the memo.
During Abramson’s absence from the ME desk, three editors — Dan Baquet, Susan Chira and Larry Ingrassia will rotate into her role in two-month increments. Baquet is currently assistant managing editor and Washington bureau chief. Chira is the foreign editor and Ingrassia is the business editor.
Times executive editor Bill Keller acknowledged that the move was unusual — “radical” was the word he used — but also said that it did not foreshadow his own retirement, and that Abramson’s counterpart, managing editor of newsroom operations John Geddes, would not be affected in the reshuffling. Keller also said that the temporary three-editor rotation was not an audition for a new managing editor.
The six-month time frame for Abramson’s tenure may be meaningful. Her June 1 start date on the digital takes her nearly to the unveiling of the Times‘ paywall, slated for January 2011.