Dean Baquet and Jill Abramson

Dean Baquet and Jill Abramson

*(Via Journal-isms) – Dean Baquet, managing editor of the New York Times and former top editor at the Los Angeles Times, was named executive editor on Wednesday after Jill Abramson stepped down  from the New York newspaper’s top editorial job.

“Baquet, 57, becomes the first African American in the job.

“It is an honor to be asked to lead the only newsroom in the country that is actually better than it was a  generation ago,” he said in a New York Times account of the development, “one that approaches the world with wonder and ambition every day.”

The reasons for the switch were not immediately clear,” the Times’ Ravi Somaiya reported. At a meeting in the newsroom, Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. “made some cryptic statement about a problem with management in the newsroom,” a Times employee told Journal-isms.

In the New Yorker, Ken Auletta speculated that Abramson’s ouster could be traced to clashes with Mark Thompson, the New York Times Co. president and CEO, and to Abramson’s unhappiness with her compensation.

Regardless of the reasons, Baquet’s ascension was big news for black journalists, whose ranks have been buffeted by newspaper staff contractions and indifference to diversity concerns.

“He has reached a height many can only dream about,” messaged Don Hudson, the executive editor of the Decatur (Ala.) Daily who tracks the number of black top editors for the National Association of Black Journalists. “He’s an inspiration to all of us editor types out here in the trenches. I know I’m proud of him.”

Hudson added, “It’s a good day. God is good. First a president and now the top journalist.”

Get the rest of this story at Journal-isms.