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Jill Abramson Doesn’t Want a War with Arianna Huffington

Jill Abramson, the most intriguing person in the media right now, gave an interview last night to Jessica Yellin at CNN about what it means to be the first female executive editor of the New York Times.

Yellin asked Abramson about Bill Keller‘s very public feud with Arianna Huffington, where he notoriously said about AOL’s acquisition of Huffington Post that “Buying an aggregator and calling it a content play is a little like a company’s announcing plans to improve its cash position by hiring a counterfeiter.”

So can we expect more shots fired from the new Times executive editor? Unlikely. Abramson said to Yellin:

I think that, you know, the aggregation of pieces of journalism that, you know, other news organizations have paid dearly to like get the story, get it right, tell the story behind the story, is — you know, poses a threat to us in some ways.

But I respect the fact that an awful lot of people like to read that way.  And, in some cases, I think “The Huffington Post” has been inventive and presents what it aggregates well.  So, you know, I don’t see myself — I’ve known Arianna Huffington since the early ’90s in Washington.  She is an inventive person.  I certainly don’t want to be in a war with her.

Probably a wise move. Yellin observed: “I can detect a change in tone at the top already.”

Abramson also had positive forecasts for both the Times digital and print.  She called the new paywall very successful so far, and said the number of people who have had print subscriptions for over two years has actually increased in the past year.

Video of the interview with Yellin is after the jump.


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