The most emailed story on the New York Times Web site right now is the debut of Jill Abramson's new weekly series called "The Puppy Diaries," about the first year of her new pooch's life. Abramson is the Times managing editor for news, who can more typically be found fielding questions from readers on such weighty matters as the state of investigative journalism and Times' coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Let's just say the Puppy Diaries is a departure for Abramson. "She arrived almost housebroken, a wonderful surprise," the Times editor writes. "Somehow I had forgotten how much having a new puppy is like having a new baby. It's not only the made-up games, the hide-and-seek and stuffed animals. There is the special puppy smell, much like the distinctive scent, better than perfume, of a new baby's head." Yes, there is a super cute Flickr photostream of the pooch and Abramson, too.
In sum, one of the most powerful women in American journalism is now simultaneously on the news desk and on the chew-toy beat. Cognitive dissonance, anyone? As Salon's editor-in-chief Joan Walsh tweeted yesterday: "I like Jill Abramson. I love my puppy Sadie. Is it just me, or is the idea of NYT female ME blogging about new puppy off somehow?"
While the New York Times, like every other newspaper, struggles to find a new business model in the digital age, it must be great to have a puppy-loving hit on their hands. And I am certainly sympathetic to the tremendous devotion that pets inspire. Hey, maybe giving readers' a more intimate view of the lives of the editors who run the Grey Lady suits the new Web-tastic journalism world, too.
Still, what's next? Times executive editor Bill Keller's weekly ruminations on the vagaries of his home remodel. Somehow, I highly doubt it.
What do Broadsheet readers think?