THE BILL AND JILL SHOW: The New York Times’ top honchos, Bill Keller and Jill Abramson, were on the hot seat Monday night in a Times Talk seminar on reporting the news. Moderated by Richard L. Berke, the paper’s assistant managing editor, this was the first time a Times Talk conversation had turned the spotlight on two of its own top editors. “And it could be the last,” said Abramson, the Times’ managing editor, after they were introduced. Abramson and Keller, executive editor, tackled such topics as the synergistic relationship between the Times’ Web site and newspaper; their complementary management styles (she’s the worrier; he sees the bright side); their decision to keep under wraps Times reporter David Rohde’s kidnapping near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border; which newspapers they read first (The Times, to make sure it came out right); the future of newspaper journalism, and how they’ve dealt with competitors and missing a scoop.
Recalling his days as a Times correspondent in Moscow, Keller said: “There was this guy, Remnick,” referring to David Remnick, the Pulitzer Prize-winning former Moscow correspondent for the Washington Post and now editor of the New Yorker. “He was more prolific than I was, or have ever been. He was scary as hell as a competitor. We’re friends now, but we were friendly competitors then. We were obsessed about the Washington Post. He was the enfant terrible. If Remnick had a story, it made me crazy. I still hate it when we get scooped, but not as much as Jill.” — Lisa Lockwood