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Posts Tagged ‘Howell Raines’

Sigourney Weaver, Howell Raines and Barbara Walters Enjoying Semi-Retirement

LunchAtMichaelsThere are Wednesdays at Michael’s and then there are Wednesday’s at Michael’s. Today was one of those days. I could hardly keep up with the steady stream of famous faces that sailed past my table and made for some of the best people watching at 55th and Fifth in a long time. First came early arrival Montel Williamswho kept himself busy with ear buds and his phone. Next came Joy Behar (who I didn’t notice until she took off her sunglasses) and two pals who were waiting for another person to join them. A little birdie told me the mystery guest was going to be none other than Barbara Walters, so I kept an eye on the door for what seemed like forever in hopes of grabbing a quick chat with her before she made it to her table. Minutes before Barbara arrived Sigourney Weaver showed up looking absolutely ageless in Prada (and from what I could tell, next to no makeup). The Oscar nominated actress (we loved her best as Ripley!) and The New York Botanical Garden’s biggest cheerleader was clearly concerned she’d kept her guest waiting because she’d gotten stuck in traffic so she dashed by before I could utter a word to her. Drats. When Barbara, who was impeccably dressed in black and white, finally arrived, Michael’s chivalrous GM Steve Millington was waiting by the door to take her by the arm and personally escort her to her table. Let me tell you, a real hush fell over the room when the world’s most famous semi-retiree made her way into the dining room. Throughout lunch, plenty of well-wishers, both famous and “civilians,” stopped by her table to pay their respects.

Dr. Phillip Romero and Diane Clehane

Dr. Phillip Romero and Diane Clehane

After making my rounds in the dining room and having made sure Barbara, Joy and their friend had finished their lunch, I made my way over to their table. When I told Barbara that her final appearance on The View, where she was joined by what seemed like every female broadcaster who has followed in her trail-blazing footsteps, including all her View cohosts as well as Jane Pauley, Katie Couric, Deborah Norville, Connie Chung, Joan Lunden and Oprah Winfrey (who managed to score the center square in the iconic photo of the seismic sorority) was one of daytime television’s most memorable moments, she took my hand and squeezed it. “I’m so glad,” she said. “It was really something.” Even more moving, I told her, was her two-hour special that aired last Friday night, where her long-time producing partner Bill Geddie interviewed her about her amazing life and ground-breaking career. What was it like to be the subject rather than the interviewer? “Bill was terrific,” she told me. “We didn’t want to have it be ‘then she did this and then she did that’ so we did it that way. I’m glad everyone seemed to like it.” I had so many questions I wanted to ask, but didn’t want to overstay my tenuous welcome (it’s a bit of a delicate dance sometimes) so I left the trio to order dessert. No word on what Barbara has planned for the summer but in her column in The New York Post this week, Cindy Adams wrote that she and Barbara planned to travel abroad together this summer. I’d say Ms. Walters has more than earned some time off after her long good-bye.

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Arthur Sulzberger Jr.: ‘The Question is, Am I Doing a Bad Job of Picking Leaders for the New York Times?’

VanityFairLogoThe statement in the headline was volunteered Sunday by Sulzberger during his first post-Ambramson interview with Vanity Fair‘s Sarah Ellison. When she asked him what the terminations of Jill Abramson in 2014, president/CEO Janet Robinson in 2011 and executive editor Howell Raines in 2004 signify, the New York Times publisher chose to read between her interview lines. He goes on to answer his own question with, “I don’t think so.”

This is the second time Ellison has interviewed Sulzberger for the magazine; the first was for the 2010 cover story “Two Men and a Newsstand.” She reminds off the top that the framed Winston Churchill quote in Sulzberger’s office is incorrect and later, ponders a strange metaphor from the 62-year-old publisher about not wanting to wait to cut off the other arm after the first arm has been chopped.

Ellison covered a lot of solid ground during Sunday’s interview with a series of well thought-out questions. Sulzberger’s answer to this one suggests Abramson ultimately may have been undone by changing Times:

When I pointed out that other executive editors of the Times had possessed the very traits that some have attributed to Abramson —that she could be aloof or autocratic — he countered that times had changed. Sure, he said, Abe Rosenthal, who edited the Times through the Pentagon Papers and Watergate, was famously difficult. Rosenthal could also focus simply on gathering and publishing the news.

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In Rising to Top, Jill Abramson’s Weakness Became a Strength

(Via Marie Claire)

In today’s New Yorker profile of Jill Abramson, it’s revealed that when it came time to name a replacement for Bill Keller at the New York Times, Abramson was seen as the frontrunner by Publisher Arthur Sulzberger. However, it was Abramson’s infamous assertiveness that ended up sealing the deal.

After Sulzberger had narrowed down his choices to three candidates — Abramson, Dean Baquet, and the editor of the Boston Globe, Martin Baron — he had dinner with each individually.

It was at this time that Abramson’s frankness separated her from the pack:

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