Arts & Ideas Honors First Female NYT Editor

by David Brensilver | Sep 29, 2011 12:18 pm

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The International Festival of Arts & Ideas will present its 2011 Visionary Leadership Award to New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson at a Nov.4 benefit luncheon at the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale.

Mary Lou Aleskie, the festival’s executive director, said in a press release that Abramson “is a trailblazer in every sense of the word and not only has kicked open doors for women at The New York Times, but is also uniquely positioned at the intersection of digital innovation and reporting on the world’s critical events.”

The Visionary Leadership Award was established last year in honor and memory of festival co-founder Jean Handley, who died in January 2010. The award was bestowed last year on Zainab Salbi, the founder and CEO of Women for Women International.

According to the festival’s website, “all proceeds from the award presentation and luncheon will benefit the Jean M. Handley Fund for the International Festival of Arts & Ideas.”

Abramson assumed the executive editorship at The New York Times on Sept. 6, succeeding Bill Keller, who had served in that capacity since 2003. That year, Abramson was named the paper’s managing editor. Abramson, who’s been at The New York Times since 1997, is the paper’s first female executive editor.

According to a July 2 story in The New York Times, “Ms. Abramson said she would turn her attention toward a full plate of tasks, focusing first on integrating the digital and print operations more fully, retaining top talent and making more of an online community.”

In comments to newspaper employees, the New York Times story indicates, Abramson identified “more than a dozen women at The Times who have helped her along the way, including the company’s chief executive, Janet L. Robinson. ‘Every executive editor stands on the shoulders of others,’ she said.”

Following the Nov. 4 benefit luncheon, Abramson will deliver a lecture at Yale University.

The International Festival of Arts & Ideas 2011 Visionary Leadership Award Presentation and Benefit Luncheon is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 4, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., at the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale. Visit for ticketing information. 

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