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World

 

New York Times first black editor is popular newsroom leader

Published on May 16, 2014 12:55 AM
 
This 2007 handout photo received on may 14, 2014, courtesy of the New York Times shows Dean Baquet in Washington, DC. Hard-charging editor Dean Baquet was once sacked for standing by his reporters. He bounced back and is now the first African American to hold the most prestigious title in US journalism, executive editor of the New York Times. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Hard-charging editor Dean Baquet was once sacked for standing by his reporters. He bounced back and is now the first African American to hold the most prestigious title in US journalism, executive editor of the New York Times.

On Wednesday, the august US daily abruptly fired its first female executive editor, Jill Abramson, replacing her with Baquet in a surprise move that sent shockwaves through the newsroom and revived allegations that she was a victim of sexism.

But while Abramson's sudden departure was a blow to gender balance in the upper echelons of the paper, her 57-year-old replacement - a black journalist from a modest background in New Orleans - is a trailblazer of another type.

Baquet is a popular figure in the newsroom, despite or perhaps in part because of his fiery reputation - he reportedly once punched a hole in the wall of the Times' Washington bureau when a story did not make the front page.

 
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