Jill Abramson Tells Wake Forest Grads She's Looking for Job Too

Former NY Times Executive Editor jokes about 'Times' tattoo, tells graduates she's in exactly the same boat as them.
11:33 | 05/19/14

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Transcript for Jill Abramson Tells Wake Forest Grads She's Looking for Job Too
Think the only real news here today. Is you're graduation from this great university. First of all. Congratulation. I'm impressed that you're achievements. Have attracted so much media -- As well they soon. I'm so happy to be eager to share this important day. My own college graduation is still a -- memory. In fact I actually had breakfast this morning -- one of my college classmates. -- theory it's it's one of the very proud parents. Of the graduate. Sitting here today. And one of my favorite family. Is that -- interestingly prime father at Harvard. College -- he never got to Wear them happen again. So he rammed his sixth itself in tomorrow and he looked silly that radiance. I hope all of you in the class of twenty -- scenes aren't lucky enough to have at least one parent. For someone who helped raise you here today. A shout out -- all the parents grandparents and others in the audience. My own children -- in college grants. So I know how -- your hearts -- today because your kids have worked so hard and -- -- months. President had suggested that I speak to you today about resilience. And I'm in a taped his wise counsel. But I'm not quite finished with the parents' part. Very early last Thursday my sister can't. She said I know -- would be as proud of you today as the day you became executive editor of the New York Times. I didn't fired the previous day so I knew what she was trying to say. It may have more in our father to -- -- deal with the -- And try to bounce. And to watch how we handled our successes. So only you -- made he would thing. Graduating from wake Faris means all of the US experience success Randi. And some of -- And now on talking to anyone who's been down us. That. Not gotten the job you really wanted dead or see of those horrible rejection letters from grants school. You know the sting of losing. -- not getting something you badly want. When that happens. Show what you or me. I was in China recently. And some of you know the New York Times web site. Has been blocked by censors there for more than a year. That means and China's citizens cannot read the most authoritative. Coverage of their country. And every time I reflexively tried to open the times' website. I got the message. Safari cannot open the package which made me become more -- work -- us. While I was in Beijing. One of -- Chinese journalists. Packed -- song. Was detained for hours by authorities. The government meant to scare and intimidate them. Why was he detained. Simply because he worked as a truthful journalist. So what did he did. He came right back to work and quietly gone on what that. I did what I believed and that makes me peerless Patrick told me after his story you know. You know New York Times journalist risked their lives frequently. To bring you the best news report in the world. That's why it is such an important and irreplaceable. Institution. And it was not honor of my life to lead the news room. A couple of students who I was talking to last. -- after I arrive -- they know that I have some taxes. Then. One of them asks me are you gonna get that times she that you had tattooed on your back we'll. Not -- chance. I think it's a little challenge -- my own hotline. I got run over and almost killed by -- -- in Times Square. You may begin to calm me calamity here now. Stay with me -- -- And -- this seventh anniversary of that accident approaching I wrote an article about the risk to pedestrians. With three times colleagues who had also been struck and ever. We mentioned a nine year old boy in the top of our story. Who had been hit and killed by -- camp early in the year. But few days after the story was published I got an email from Gina -- -- It began. Thank you for the article you wrote in last Sunday's times. The boy you mentioned is my son -- stock. I met when Dana last Thursday. You know -- Cooper was just killed in January. But -- her husband and others are already working on a new line and make the streets safe. She is taking an unimaginable. Loss. And already trying to do something constructive. And there are so many examples of bass. For me professionally. Three heroes are Nan Robertson a ground breaking reporter the New York Times and Katharine Graham. The publisher of the Washington Post which broke the Watergate story. They both face discrimination in a much tougher more male dominated newspaper and history. And they went on to win Pulitzer Prize this. My colleagues -- -- eyes and who is standing up against an unfair Washington leak investigation. Is another hero. Back I co authored a book about Anita Hill. Who testified about sexual harassment. Of -- all white all male Senate Judiciary Committee in the 1990s. The senators portrayed her as being as one of -- attack detractors so delicately put it. A little bit nutty and a little bit slightly. She turned that potentially humiliation. Into a great career teaching at Brandeis University. And writing books that tell truth to power. And neither was one of the many people who wrote you last week to say there are proud of -- it. Those messages are so appreciated. Summit -- -- face danger. Or even a soul scorching loss. But most of you have that and leaving the protective cocoon of school for the working world might seem scary. You'll probably half a dozen different jobs tried all different then let's. Sure. Losing a job he loved -- us. But the work I wouldn't -- here journalism that holds powerful institutions and people accountable. Is what makes our democracy so resilient. This is the work I will remain very much -- -- My only reluctance in showing that -- it was that this mom media circus following me. Would detract attention away from you. The fabulous class of -- -- -- team. What total not gas you and. -- What's next for me it. I don't know well. So -- haven't exactly the same -- as many. And like you overcome a little scared but also. So think ahead. You know I don't really think -- Manning could finds much you spare minute. But right after this speech I look to private session with an Indy Japan and -- I'm. This career counseling operation as a model for universities. Around the world. When I was leaving my office for the last time and I grabbed a book got myself. Robert for speaking on -- yes. In closing I'm gonna leave you with some wisdom from the Colby College commencement speech the great -- gave in 1950 sex. He described life after graduating. As pieces of needing to go on land. What he meant was that life is always unfinished business. Like the bits of needing women used to carry around with them. To be picked up at different intervals. And for those that you went never net thinking it at that -- your Tumblr. Something you can pick up from time to time and -- My mother was -- -- never and she made some really magnificent things. But she also made a few if she. Frankly hideous sweaters yeah. She let some things done and -- So today you gorgeous brilliant people. Get on with your --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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