Dean Baquet sat in his new office in midtown Manhattan, the very picture of composure and precision, as he described the top-level dysfunction that led to the firing of Jill Abramson as executive editor of The New York Times and his promotion to replace her as the top news executive there.

The firing involved three major actors: Abramson, Baquet (pronounced baah-kay) and the paper's corporate chairman and publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr. In his first public comments on the matter, Baquet told NPR that Abramson was fired because of her failed relationship with Sulzberger and with senior editors — especially himself.

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