Skip to main content

tv   Charlie Rose  WHUT  October 18, 2011 9:00am-10:00am EDT

9:00 am
>> rose: welcome to our program. we begin this evening with leymah gbowee, liberian peace and women's rights activist >> my story is the story of every african woman. if you have a true worth of life you just give up, the story is a story of victory. the story is the story of not
9:01 am
allowing yourself even as you seem as a victim but that your actions and activities point to one of a hero survivor. >> rose: we continue with the executive editor of the "new york times". >> the new place is the old place in many ways which is what the d distinishes the "times" as quality joualists and we do that in print in the print newspaper and we do it in innovative ways digitally by the hour. we deepen stoes by bringing readers into the conversation, you enliven a story and add new dimensions to it and i've been very invested in our digital work and even arthur would use the phrase we have to be ready for r digital future. well, it's not the digital future, it's the digital
9:02 am
president. >> rose: leymah gbowee and jill abramson when we continue.
9:03 am
captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: gbowee see here, she is a liberian peace and women's rights activist. e and the president of liberia were two of the three women awarded this year's nobel peace prize. in 2003, she led a coalition of christian and muslim women n a campaign to end liberia's civil war. their prote culminated in the exile of former president charles taylor. leashians electeded ellen johnson sirleaf who became the first fale president iner african history. gbowee tells the story in her new book called "mighty be our powers: how sisterhood, prayer
9:04 am
and sex changed a nation at war." i'm pleased to have her at this table for the first time tell me why this is a powerful story of our time and change. >> my story is the story of every african woman, who has lived true povert who has lived through abuse. but the beauty of that story is that even when people would think that having gone through the worst of life you would just. the story is the story of
9:05 am
victory it proves that a hero or shero or survivor. so this is a story that the media in the west really doesn't contribute effortly the story of how women survive and how they build peace and thaw they bring the communities back to a state of sanity. >> as a young person you look at yoself and said "i'm intelligent, i beautiful, i can make a difference and then later you realized it's going to be much harder than you imagined. what happened? >> yeah. well, growing up i had all of the confidence of a nmal teenager with good grades and thinking you're going to conquer the world. all a sudden one july morning i wake up at 17 going to the university to fulfill my dream of becoming a medical doctor and from 8:00 in the morning to 10:00 i became an adult fighting erupted, my parents were nowhere
9:06 am
to be found. i am now responsible for over 20 persons in a home by virtue of the fact that i was the only child of my parents in that home later on they came back and my mother was like "continue as you've been doing for almost a week." it's like from teenager to woman hood in a matter of hours. then many decisions and acts of war and acts of my own... myself decisions by myself led me fro one stage to the other until where i felt like i was on top of the world. i got to the place where i was at the depth of my own life. >> you're married, you had one baby. and then... w sue knew this was not good for you. this is not a good place for you. >> well, it's, again, like many women in abusive relationships you're thinking okay, i have a
9:07 am
child now, i want this child to grow up in a normal family setting. he's probably going to change. >> rose: your husband is going to change? he'll be better. >> yes. thgs will get betr. one child leads to a second child. a second child leads to a third child. and the longer you stay, the deeper you find yourself sinking into a state of no return. >> rose: what was the motivating factor for you to say "no longer i've got to go"? >> well, for me, i had in my head a place that i will not sink to. i took all of the physical beatings in private but always said to myself if i'm ever insulted publicly, that's the end. and so the cutoff point was one morning when i really got abused in front of the children packed my things and you would think it's crazy because you've lived through this for so long and what is verbal abuse but i
9:08 am
just told myself enough was enough. pack my things, packed my kids and we went to the refugee camp and then hitchhike add ride to monrovia from gahn... from ghana to monrovia. but there was always this thing of did i make the right decision? was it the right choice? because, again, so self-esteem, no sense of future direction. then one morning my son would not come out and he said "grand ma, i woke up and i saw the net, d then i saw the man's shoe d i thought we had gone back to ghana becse i was afraid, i didn't want to be close to my father." at that moment i said to myself "what have done to my children?" >> rose: can women change africa? >> yes. and i think women are changing
9:09 am
africa but you have little media spotlights on the things that they do. in the midst of poverty keeping communities going through their microeconomy and through their family and community activities. in the midst of hardship, in the midst of war, these t people who are negotiating peace at the community level. in liberia, the current feature of the war was when a young man in the community got arrested it was the women who would gond try to negotiate for his life. so these are things people don't see on a regular basis. women, they're doing what they think is okay to change africa. whe we find ourselves now is stepping into bigger space or different spaces to say we want to be involved in the conversation around our natural
9:10 am
resources, we want to be involved in the conversation around the politics and the decision making of not jus our communities and our nation and i think once we continue to you're going to see some of the good changes on our continent. >> rose: and the president of leash ya was a fellow recipient of the nobel prize. >> she was one of the core recipients of the nobel peace prize and i think in six years lie year was at a place where it was really, really horrible but the twork is getting better, you find education being decentralized. different regions of liberia where people have to trek for dayso come t monrovia, the capital, far university are now boasng of universities in these areas big hospitals are coming up in different areas. she's she's really taking us
9:11 am
from that place of social degradation to a place where the world is now looking at liberia as one of those nations if we continue in that trend. that will be a place where peoplewill really want to go and to do business. >> rose: so suppose your grandchildren come to you one day and they say "what did you do to overthrow charles taylor? at will you tell them? >> i will tell them that i took my pains, took my fears and turned it to courage and mobilized my fellow women and we did what we were supposed to do. we protested we were in the streets picketing. we spoke truth to power and we were able at the end of the day to draw attention to the problems that we were facing even after the attention was
9:12 am
drawn to our problems we continue to push we succeeded in giving liberia and i think it will be at a place where my grandchildren are asking me where this count industry developed and you don't have any signs of war anymore so this nation you're seeing 20, 25, 30 years from now, 30 years fast forward, is at this place because of the work that we asked liberian women, by stepping out and confronting evil. i will be telling name story because i'll also want to bring them to a place where their fears, their pains, the anger can be translated in something positive to bring change to their communities >> it's an interesting phenomenon to be able to rise beyond your fear. i mean, clearly in the arab spring for all the problems, for people to risk their life they have to rise beyond their fear
9:13 am
and that's exactly what you women did. >> definitely. but when you've lived through fear for so long you have nothing to be afraid of. i tell people i was 17 when the war started in liberia. i was 31 when we started protesting. i had taken enough dosage of fear that i had gotten immune to fear. >> rose: really. >> yes. >> rose: the first tim i saw a dead body i freaked out. but at 31 i crossed over a dead body without thinking twice. >> rose: do you want a political role? >> why not? and i think i'm definitely going to go for it. if you look at the players of politics in liberia, i don't think a lot of those people who even tried to run for the presidency of liberia, even for parliamentary are smarter than i am. >> rose: (laughs) i don't think so either. i can't imagine they are. >> a i don't think they have the interest of the country at heart like i do. so why would i not wan to run
9:14 am
for politics and if politics is going to help bring liberiao the place that i wanto see beria and if my stepping into the space is going to do so i should stand up. >> rose: so you want to be president of liberia? >> the sky i the limit for me. i never put a limit to self. i could be president of liberia and do a very good job. >> rose: and what do you want to see happen to charles taylor? >> well, i hope he doesn't ever have the chance to see the light of day. never come out, never see the light of day. because for anyone who can unleash terror the way he did to liberians and the way he did allegedly involved in sierra leone, he shouldn't be allowed to walk the streets. he shouldn't be allowed the pleasure of seeing his grandchildren. he shouldn't be allowed the pleasure of even living a decent life and i think the hague is too decent for him. >> rose: you would rather he had been taken care of in liberia?
9:15 am
>> in a place where there's no electricity because there are people living within liberia... without electricity because of the terror he unleashed on them. there are people cooking outside because of the terror he unleashed on them. i would have lov to see anymore a place where he's not even sleeping on a bed or on a mat because, again, that's what he did to people in liberia. >> rose: so what he d to people, you'd be prepared to see him? >> he should really live and go through a fear of what he did to the people of liberia. all the money that has been spent on his comfort i think should go to the people who suffer the most. >> rose: the victims. >> yes. >> rose: all the money should go to the victims. >> it should go to the victims. and if they find some of his, it should be used to reconstruct and rehabilitate some of those places that were destroyed. today we're still struggling to get running water, electricity in liberia because one person
9:16 am
one personecided... even when liberians forgave him in '97 and voted him as president, he decidedly continue to be a terrorist. >> rose: the idea ofomen's empowerment has great... has become a powerful idea around the world. what stands in theay of its achiing all that it's... all ofts potential. >> i think we have a lot of commitment, rhetoric, but the real action to empower women... the political will is lacking. someone once said in order to empower you must give up some of your power. >> rose: in order to gain power you have to give u power? >> you have to giv up some of your power. so if you want to mentor me as the next producer of the charlie rose show, you have to give up
9:17 am
some days that you're sitting on the step because that's the only way i will be able to do the work the way you do it so i think globally a lot of our leaders are not prepared to give up some of the power that they have in order for women to step into the space. there's a lot of fear around women's empowerment. so we'll do all of those protocols and internaonal policies and instruments but when it comes to the actual and physical provision of the resources, taking actions, we will stay back. >> rose: do you think women will handle power differently than member? >> i think so. i have been... and i'm not saying... there haven't been women in history who have had powers and conducted themselves just like men, but i would want to say a vast majority of women would think more critilly
9:18 am
before doing anything. i think most often you find some of the men not all of the men but the men who just think it's all abt themselves, all about their interests and all about different things. i'm tempted to say something abt the politics of the world, you know, how people are holding on the what is supposed to be for communities because of political eid yols. i would think that 50% of women in the particular parliaments would be thinking for the greater good of the people instead of the agenda that they are pushing for. >> rose: are there any scars from your experience? >> yes, i have some traumas that i live with on a daily basis. one of those is that i cannot function in an orphanage with all of my advocacy and activism,
9:19 am
i get paralyzed when i go to a place where children have been affected by conflict. i cannot move, i can't do anything, i can't think. myther trauma is that-- and thiss a crazy trauma-- at some point in time i had little or no underwear so now i just buy underwear, that's the other trauma i have. >> rose: you didn't have underwear so you just buy more than you need? >> yes, because i feelike maybe i'll get to that place where ill have only two so let me just keep buying. but that's the other trauma i have that from the war. food in my pant i have another trauma. so we just keep and keep and keep even when the kids cannot eat i should always have abundance of food in my pant voy these things i continue to carry for the rest of my life. >> rose: this is your story and
9:20 am
memoir and this is what the president of liberia who shed the nobel prize with you, ellen johnson sirleaf. "leymah bore witness to the worst of humanity and helped bring liberia out of the dark. her memoir is a testament to the power of women, faith and the spirit of our great country." >> yup. and it's beyond the power of liberian women. i think... like i said elier it's the story of women globally who have gone through conflict. i'd just like the-to-step into this space to say that, you know i have been involved with abigail, the makerf the documentary "pray the devil back to hell" and they have done this five part series called "women, war and peace." and if you look at this story from afghanistan, from colombia, bosnia, and then the overview of
9:21 am
war redefined you realize that women bear witness tohe worst, but then they're still able to come out and move their communities forward. >> rose: and achieve their potential. >> of course. >> rose: thank you. >> you're welcome. >> rose: jill abramson is here. she is the new executive editor of the "new york times." she is the first woman to hold that position since the paper was founded in 1851. she was a former investigative reporter who rose to prominence as a washington correspondent and editor. she joined the "times" in 1997 and has held a variety of positions including managing editor and washington bureau chief. jane mayer of the "new yorker" mag zen said "she i a vigorous defender of the truth and she is fearless." welcome. that is love affair, new >> it certainly is. but that's brought a lot of happiness and delight and to my
9:22 am
life and my husband's and children's lives. >> rose: so it melts your heart down? >> it does. but hit in the beginning leaves you sleep deprived and worried about just about erything. >> rose: this is not the first dog? >> no, no. we h a dog before scout. we had a very hearty west highland white terrier who lived to be 16. >> rose: and so when that dog died did you immediately go looking for scout? >> no, my heartas like broken completely when buddy who was the westy when he passed away, he was in some ways my perfect relationship in life. >> rose: describe that. >> well, i am a huge walker and he was always up for getting outside. and some of my best... i alws say some of my best work time in many ways is spent walking the
9:23 am
dog. either buddy or scout. because there's something about being surrounded by either beautiful new york city or with buddy we lived in virginia and just letting your mind roam free and you're with this coanionable animal who adores you who... you know, james thurber said, which is so true, you know, he made wonderful, wonderful cartoons of dogs but he said they're in a state of perpetual delight which is, like very unlike some of the other expeences one has during the day. >> rose: there's something to be said about "a dog's life." >> absolutely. absolutely >> rose: you get up and there they are waiting for you they want to go out. you feed them, they go out, you play with them, run, jump, do whatever you do. and you're engaged with them. they get you outside. that's great.
9:24 am
and they get you outside before you go to bed, that's great. >> those are my favorite walks, the last one of the night. and in "the puppy diaries" i lk about how my husband was starting to have high blood pressure and having to take medicine and after we got scout-- because he walks with her all the time-- it's gone way down. >> rose: so what it is you want me to come away with, or somebody who going to read "the puppy diaries." >> it's a mixture of manual and memoir. man wall? this is a how-too book? >> it's part how-to and part memoir. it will tell you a lot about the various training methods that you can try with a dog. of course there no one perfect failafe system. and you learn a little bit about me and our family and the fact that my huand and i are part
9:25 am
of a group. we gave it a name. a.b.b.d.s, aging baby boomers with dogs. >> rose: (laughs) >> and we are the fastest-growing segment of dog ownership in this country. >> rose: baby omers? >> aging baby boomers. who you have... thist in nest is empty. if you've had children they've gone to coege and are out of the hou and you find your lif a little empty and sad. >> rose: are you comfortable writing about yourself? >> i never had written about myself the times. i'd never written about animals, either. and in the beginning when i was doing the online column i wasn't comfortable but what i loved was reader interaction because i was doing it only online and what i discovered, i shouldn't have been surprised, is people are so passionate about their pets and their dogs the comments streamed
9:26 am
in. i once was responsible for crashing our web site when i invited readers to send in pictures of their puppies and dogs the whole thing went down because they wanted to participate. so that interested me, that intensity, that passion, the fact that dog owners are a community of sorts and... >> rose: it's a common bond. >> at the "mes" i was beginning very seriously to focus on digital journalism and the whole issue of engagement and interaction wi readers. and i found that scout in t puppy diaries was an inviting wato begin both experimenting and that writing about myself wasn't that difficult. >> rose: let me talk about this job you've got. how did they interview for this?
9:27 am
>> well, i talked to a number of high-ranking people on our business side. i had a long lunch with arthur salzburger, jr. i was nervous. he took know a very nice restaurant, i picked up my food. >> rose: and what did he want to know? >> he was very frank with me. he wanted to know about my vision of where the news report needed to go and he wanted to discuss both some of my strengths and some weaknesses. >> rose: so he had an appraisal of both strengths and weaknesses and whether they would make... >> and i thought they were quite fair. >> rose: anding a senate >> i thought they were accurate. >> rose: like what did hsay in >> he said that, you know, when i amin a bad mood i can be too usque with people and that you can just read it on my face tt
9:28 am
there's, like, good scil who's delighted and engaged and wants to talk about a great story and compliments reports. >> rose: and bad jill is... >> would, like, interrupt and be bad. >> rose: does bad jill until or need to work on listening? >> she has to work on listening. she does. the. >> rose: (laughs) how do you work on it? >> >> well, i just try to take a deep breath and if i have a thought to not jump in and say it right away. to assess whether it actually deepens and contributes to the conversation or is just making a point to make a point and show you're smart. >> rose: so when you need turn the conversation you're prepared to do that? >> yes. >> al hunt, as you know, as a meeting with you not... to hire you even though he didn't really have the job. he said it was the best hire
9:29 am
he's ever made. what did you tell him? >> i don't remember it quite as thunderously as he does. but what i came into the intervw with was a list of stories that i thought were great stories that the "wall street journal" hadn't really done tho types of stories and that really caught his attention and he liked those ideas an and i think took him from being blase about meet me thinking she should contribute to this place. >> rose: in the end if you can convince somebody you can make their life easier, better, or improve the mission then you're halfway there. >> rose: you are, indeed. >> rose: and that you understand the mission, right? >> i thought the mission then... oddly it was in washington was to that no one was paying enough attention to the role of lobbyists and money in politics. and now we live an era the
9:30 am
candidates all disclose their finances just now where it's a big story but back in those days it was a part of washington happening beheine a ctain. >> rose: look at tax legislation and the supercommittee, what kind of influence is taking place there? or in fashioning the regulations that are coming out of dodd-frank. >> oh, gosh. >> rose: there's a story. >> right. everything is and since you mentioned the tax committees, one of the stories i remember that was on my list long ago for al involved a story about senator russell long who had become a lobbyist and was one of the masters of the tax code. >> rose: because lobbyists help write the tax code and if you ask them what theyo they say they improve the process by making it better. >> right. it's a permanent other government. >> rose: where are you in terms of how you taken a online
9:31 am
culture and a mainstream culture and find a new place for both of them? >> the new place is the old place in many ways which is what distinguishes the the "times" as quality journalism. and we do that in print in the print newspaper and we do it in innovative ways digitally by the hour. we deepen stories by bringing readers into the conversation. you enliven a story and add new dimensions to it. and, you know, i've been very invested in o digital work and we used to talk at the "times," even arthur would use the phrase "we have to be ready for our digital future." well, it's not the digital fure, it's e digital present. >> rose: right. it's here. >> but meanwhile we have a print newspaper is treasureed by
9:32 am
hundreds of thousands of readers. we actually have more people who ho subscribe to the "new york times" in print for two years or more now than we did. so we have a very dedicated core of people who enjoy the news report most in print and so we're gonna keep delivering it that way to them. th love that. but we have to be on the cutting j of digital right now, we're working a lot in social media >> how are you using social media? >> i'll give you anxamp. and example of why quality journalism is the thing that creates one news report for all platforms basically came... like the night of steve jobs' death. we had a state-of-the-art wonderful obituary that john markoff, one of our tech writers had prepared along with steve
9:33 am
lore, one of his colleagues. john markoff... >> rose: he knows silicon valley. >> and has known steve jobs since the formation of apple. that was inform a class by itself because it was full of markoff's incredible anecdotes and it was just a wonderful piece. but at the same time, we go up with that on the web because we learned of jobs' death a little after 7:00 if i remember. we were live blogging on our bits blog. we had by 8:30 we were culling from in social media some of the tweets. there was an outpouring of people on twitter. people felt a visceral connection to jobs and we culled some of the best tweets and put putt them on the home page. john markoff did a video.
9:34 am
and the next day we were back with only only in the "new york times" story behind the story. >> rose: let me guess what you were talking about. >> the final d... >> rose: and how you knew who he was dying and 40 who he didn't nt to see and how they had to close him down? >> that was difficult reporting. where... >> rose: because you have to be sensitive or... >> because, you know, the families... the family didn't want to talk right away and you don't want to intrude. but nonetheless everyone... you know everyone is interested and his final weeks were interesting and he met with people including might i say, the same john markoff was one of these who saw him last summer. >> rose: but this was mainly about the last days of his life. >> right, it was. >> rose: that was sopowerful. >>. >> rose: >> but that's what "new york times" signature journalism does
9:35 am
and when i talked about covering lobbying before it takes the reader behind the curtain of public events and explains why they happened and how they happen and the characters that were driving the action. >> rose: tell me about the sisterhood of you and maureen and jane. i mean what... there are >> there are a couple of other members... >> rose: who else? >> alexandra stanley is very close to maureen and is someone i know going back to college days. and our lead brilliant book critic. >> rose: tell me about it, what it means and how you reinforce each other. $well, i think thehing... >> rose: is it life supportive? >> it's very supportive but mainly it's journalistically supportive. i will talk to maureen about i want her take on the republican
9:36 am
debate or jane will hear something. we're mainly talking about current events and what the cutting edge ideas are. >> rose: i mean, the obvious story en you almost lost your life when you were hit in front of the times and almost died and the cops said to you on the street... >> two inches higher and you'd be out of here. >> rose: and then maureen drops everything, comes every week to see you. >> they all did. >> rose: so that's what i'm talking about. you think of... do you know men at had the same kind of... >> well, not quite. and i think part of it is that we all started out in an era in journalism in the' 80s where there weren't that many female repoers >> but you stuck together for a shared sensz of... >> well, we just drew a lot of joy in each other's successes as
9:37 am
we moved forward in the procession. when maureen dowd goter kohl flupl the "times" i went to bring flowers and champagne. i've done work at the journal and her death was like an altar. there were so many bouquets and a whole liquor shop full of celebratory booze but, you know, you just... you exalt in each other's successes. an with jane mayer of the "new yorker" who i've known going back to junior high school days... >> rose: you wrote a book with her didn't you? >> we wrote a book about clarence thomas and anita hill together. she is a fantastic investigative reporter and and her... she's written ma great books, not only thene with me but i feel the book we did together was i
9:38 am
feel my best work. >> rose: why? >> because we took four years and it was one of those stories where everyone was saying "you'll never know where the truth lies." and we reported and reported and reported and felt like the weight of our reporting. >> rose: you got the confirmation of clarence thomas and the other stories around him... $what interested me this weekend because the "the puppy diaries" had actually come out that this weekend marked 20 years since the hill thomas hearing. >> rose: wheres she now? >> she's been teaching at brandeis. she was at a conference at hunter that i was able to listen to on c-span radio a bit that seemed really good. >> ro: mrs. thomas called her
9:39 am
up... >> yes the "times" broke that story. >> rose: what did she ask her. >> recant. yomust want to recant what you said. (laughs) >> rose: but that was the toughest and hardest and scariest thing for you in journalism? >> it was tough. jane and i were attacked by conservative supporters of justice thomas and it was pretty furious for a while. >> rose: your reputation... toughness goes hand in hand with the name jill abramson. it does! look at you smiling! it's true. >> rose: the question is whether you felt you had to be tt way. >> in the book or at work or in snauls. >> rose: in your journalistic career. >> well, investigative reporting is a tough line of work. it's not one where you usually make its a whole lot of friends.
9:40 am
you're usually investigating scandals. >> rose: and therefore people will be pushing back more than you've seen. >> when i began, especially doing big money there politics investigations at the "wall street journal" it was hard for me to cold call people and ask them unpleasant questions. rose: did it get easy? >> it got easier. >> rose: when did you know... >> but i always try to walk in the boots ofhe person i'm writing about. that's a good way to, like, make sure you do not have anything gratuitous in ur pieces. >> rose: do you ask yourself "is this fair?" >> do. i do. and i've had some crises in t reporting and writing of stori with myself of, like, this is tough but is it fair and worryingbout that. >> rose: and have you ever said "i went over the line, this isn't fair"? >> um... >> rose: have you been close to
9:41 am
the line? >> close to the line on a few, yes. >> rose: like what? >> this is sort of an ancient story. when i worked at the "journal" i did... i broke atory about bruce babbitt was the interior secretary and he had been involved in approving a license for an indian casino and the lobbyist invold in that had been a college friend and it was a big story at the time and in the end i'm not sure i took fair account of the entirety ofis washington career. that i don't thi he was someone on the scale of influence peddling in washington probably belong flooer the top and i spent an awful time writing stories about that. >> rose: where do you worry abouin terms of the "times"?
9:42 am
for example, some people ask about... there's increasing amount of opinion in the paper. do you worry about that? >> you know, i'm mindful of it and we have columns in the news pages. quite a few of them biz day, quite a few columnist in and, you know, i asked i sometimes read before those columns are published but we have drilled in the editors that there is a line between opinion and urging a specific action and deep analysis and i prefer to be on the side of deep analysis. >> rose: when you see a great writer, you just stand up and salute? >> i guess for me, you know, yes. and most recent sort of
9:43 am
appreciation of the beauty of writing and collecting everything and to just... into just a seamless story was, like after all of the journalism that was focused on thenniversary of 9/11, bob mcfadden who's been at the "times" forever who, you know, has been... a master of the art of rewrite, he wrote just one story about the day which if y hadn' absorbed any television or read anythg else every ragraph was a jewel. >> rose: but you have to worry about tv times and the future we live and print and all that stuff. and arthur sulzberger has been getting some praise about having transversed this digital place. >> well, i think that we he so
9:44 am
deserves the praise is that our business strategy is rooted in quality journalism. and so in a time period where the economics of newspapers and of the news media generally have been very difficult and rocky he has... he has kept our news-gathering mull really strong. we have opened domestic bureaus when other newspapers have closed them all. he has continued to invest both digitally and in pnt. and we... it's amazing to think that our news gather magazine or newsroom now is as big as it was ten years ago. >> rose: and you won't have to make any layoffs? >> one never can say never with the economy as cloudy as it is.
9:45 am
but i no of no layoff plans. we have announced a very small completely voluntary buyout plan >> rose: the "times" always said it's all the news fit to print. how does jill abramson see the mission of the "new york times?" >> you know, i see the mission to definitely still cover the world. and that's why it's so important that we actually have increased our forgn corresponding... staff of foreign correspoents. but i have a feeling that my definition of fit to print is probably different from when th saying was first... >> rose: what would be your definition of fit to print? >> fito print is is it legitimately newsworthy a also is it interesting?
9:46 am
sometimes i willick a front-page story just because i think people will find it interesting, not because it's a world-shaking importance or seriousness. >> rose: and will you put it on the front page? >> i will put it on the front page. >> rose: what's an example of that? >> oh, i'd say an example of that was... i guess because i'm talking to you in the bloomberg building i'm thinking of we had a story about the mayor's decorator, the mayor's very prive about his... where he lives. snipe was that the michael mubar story? >> whatever. >> rose: (laughs) whatever means what? >> the private... very private mayor's decorator had brandished like big glossy pictures of the mayor's very elegant domiciles in london and new york.
9:47 am
so we did an entertaining story about that and showed pictures and it was just interesting and it was newsworthy because the mayor is so private and very much resents reporters poking around into the part of his life he considers private. and here his own decorator was doing it. >> rose: what is it the paper ll look like after ten years of abramson? will it be more... how will it be different? >> i'm not sure it will be all that different. >> rose: it ll all be about online? >> it will not be all about online, i'm totally in love with the paper and td him it's the best way to rdour news report because you can read it serendipitously d stop at things you weren't looking for but catch your interestlong the way. but digitally it will be real different and i think the transition we're seeing... and i
9:48 am
think we see it in my life, what is the first thing i reach for when one eye is open but my ipad because it's right next to the bed. >> rose: you keep your ipad right next to you? (laughs) >> i do! >> rose: and if you wake up at night do you look at it? >> occasionally. i try not to because i find then i start reading and don't go back to sleep. >> rose: the foreign coverage of the ew yk times" will be stronger? we're not going to reduce our presence around the world? >> it's hard to imagine it being stronger it's so strong now. we will not reduce our presence around the world. this past summer the managing editor of the "times" and i went to visit our bureaus in pakistan and afghanistan and we still maintain a big commitment in those countries which. you know, you serve under difficult circumstances but we keep a
9:49 am
fully operated bureau in iraq still. are not retreating for any of the big stories. >> rose: as the editor-in-chief how much will you write? >> in the beginning i wrote something for our member issue, the nth anniversary. which we called the reckoning and i wrote a piece which was ofof some of thethings i observed in afghanistan and pakistan. hope to do some writing but i have my hands full as executive editor. >> rose: you grew up on the west si of manhattan. >> i did. >>. >> rose: with all the normal impressions we have of people who grew up on the west side of manhattan in terms of their political inclan nations? i grew up... my parents were democrats and the upper west side of manhattan is definitely
9:50 am
known on the electoral map as one of the reliably liberal places in the country. but i think just like i was saying to you with tough stories i really try to think about are they fair. i do a fair amount of second guessing. are we bringing any kind of political overlay to a story or especially i worry that because we're the "new york times," we have an urban outlook o stories. >> rose: what does that mean? >> it means that... >> rose: we're all sort of a ceain... >> yeah, certain issues that we write about, we make assumptions that evebody might find it a normal course of events when in some parts of the country it might not be. and i'm sensitive that we have to have a diverse newsroom and that doesn't only mean gender or
9:51 am
ethnicity, it means like having people with different backgrounds. like chris shivers who writes these amazing stories from afghanistan was a marine. and his experience set in way of looking at thing was somewhat ffert. >> rose: you came from the "wall street journal." >> i did. because i had always dreamed of working at the "new york times." >> rose: you've always dreamd? >> i did. because my parents were just giant "times" readers. >> rose: you said it was like religion in the house. >> well, i wasaking a joke but certainly the times said something was important or true that's the way it was. >>ose: so therefore you have to protect sometng very important which is the integrity of the times. >> absolutely. >> rose: there have been stories in the times... they look back and there's a lrning experience. the term today is "teachable moment." >> right, well, a teachable
9:52 am
moment for me came when i was watching the bureau chief in the leadup to the war in iraq when there was a loud unified chorus coming from the bush administration about saddam hussein's weapons of mass destruction and we had some writers at the the "times" and they were hearing this from their sources and they had multiple of these sources. what we found in the teachable moment was that there was an echo chamber and while there were many government officials who confirm these stories, the original sources were sometimes iraqi defectors who were unreliable and i think for me what it caught me is the importance of... we did have a reporter of a colleague i love and value who was picking up from the c.i.a. that there were
9:53 am
ubters of the evidence and he would do stories and sometimes they would sit for days or they weren't played as prominently as these other stories and i did learn there from that that if there are dissending voices, listen and evaluate them. >> rose: as we say good-bye to "the puppy diaries"... oh, can i show you this before you g that's in the by againing when she first came to new york. the this was like crossing west street for the first time. >> this is in thesfo otlls of... >> of connecticut. this is scout when i first met her, when we w breeder. >> rose: (laughs) i >> i know. >> rose: oh, look at this one. is this right out of the book? >> rose: that's right out of the book. >> rose: what is in the a broader sense that we owe audiences and readers and
9:54 am
viewers? >> right now the economic struggles of the world from china through europe to what's happening in our country, just a huge story, one we're well placed to cover because we do have both the global audience and reporters and all of these places, the bringing context and trying to ke sense of what's going on. >> rose: i'm asking more, too, i mean, the sense that people a beginning to... there's a sense of people rising up about what they think might be unfairness and the income divide that xis in the world today. thats something that is gaing trtion. and it is a huge developing story. >> i think that... i totally agree with you. and i would say something i'm very proud of and bill keller deserves a lot of credit as well
9:55 am
as does our business editor is that we had extremely tough and probing coverage andealtime of the financial meltdown. we did a series called the reckoning and we did another deep investigative reporting by reporters like gretchen morgen son about all of the bad practices coming back and we're all over it now. and i think that the... some of the practices of wall street are now rightly being called into question and you're right that it's linked to a broader anger over the hollowing out of the middle-class and income disparity. >> people worrying that the future will not be as good as the past. >> right, that their kids are not... >> rose: that it won't be the world they kw. >> it's very disconcerting and troubling. many people are suffering. >> rose: thank you for coming. >> thank you for having me, charlie.
9:56 am
captionsngpo b sedor rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh
9:57 am
access.wgbh.org
9:58 am
9:59 am