WASHINGTON: Ousted New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson said Monday her firing "hurts" but showed no rancor as she pledged to keep her tattoo representing the newspaper.
"It was the honor of my life to lead the newsroom" at the prestigious US daily, Abramson said in her first public comments since last week's high-profile shakeup.
Abramson's comments came at the commencement at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, where she said students asked her if she would remove the "T" tattoo on her back which is a symbol of The New York Times.
"Not a chance," she told the graduating students, to applause.
Abramson's abrupt dismissal last Wednesday unleashed a polemic in the media world amid speculation that she was fired for complaining about being paid less than her male counterparts -- an allegation denied by the company.
The ousted editor did not address the circumstances about her dismissal but said her case underscores a message about resilience in life.
"Sure, losing a job you love hurts, but the work I revere -- journalism that holds powerful institutions and people accountable -- is what makes our democracy so resilient," she said.
"I'm talking to anyone who's been dumped, not gotten the job you really wanted or received those horrible rejection letters from grad school," she said.
"You know the sting of losing or not getting something you badly want. When that happens, show what you are made of."
She told the students that she had no immediate professional plans.
"What's next for me? I don't know, so I'm in exactly the same boat as many of you," she said, drawing laughter. "And like you, I'm a little scared but also excited."