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Media Anticipates Jill Abramson Commencement Speech

The ousted New York Times executive will deliver her commencement address at Wake Forest University Monday morning.

ALL IN DUE TIME: What precisely ousted New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson may be rewriting for her commencement address at Wake Forest University Monday morning is still anyone’s guess. What is certain is that every last word will be chronicled by an ever-increasing pool of reporters. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, C-Span, the CBS Evening News, the Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg, NBC and Gannett are among the media that locked in credentials after Abramson’s sudden dismissal Wednesday.

Wake Forest’s executive director of news and communication Katie Neal said Friday, “The interest has gone up substantially. We will have more than 25 national and regional outlets and the calls are still coming in.”

Media decamping to the Winston-Salem campus will be out of luck with any one-on-one time with Abramson, who will not be giving any interviews. “That was never part of the plan,” Neal said. Whether Abramson will allude to this week’s showdown or disputes about pay inequity, inner-office battles with Dean Baquet or Arthur Sulzberger Jr., remains to be seen. (Editor in chief of The Guardian’s U.S., Janine Gibson, whom Abramson reportedly made a job offer to, declined comment Friday.)

Asra Nomani, whom Abramson cited as being the first to come to her defense after an April 2013 Politico piece claimed that she was “on the verge of losing the support of the newsroom,” declined Friday to describe Abramson’s current state of mind. Nomani, a former colleague of Abramson from their Wall Street Journal days, expects Abramson to address the controversy perhaps in a similarly deft manner to that of Tiger Woods’ ex-wife Elin Nordegren, who recently delivered her own commencement address. Referencing the Instagram photo Abramson’s daughter Cornelia Griggs posted Thursday of the former editor with boxing gloves raised and a punching bag, Nomani said, “Obviously Jill’s a fighter who has a clear idea of her purpose in this world.”

Nomani noted a report that Abramson may have exited the Times newsroom so abruptly Wednesday that her reading glasses were still on her desk. “You know that Jill was hit by a truck, right” referring to the 2007 accident Abramson wrote about earlier this month. “That is such a metaphor for me. Nobody — male or female — should be treated that way in the work force.”

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