Late in the evening on November 8, 2016, The New York Times newsroom was being whipsawed. to the utter shock and horror of the coastal establishment, was winning. Reporters and editors were in overdrive, tearing up one historic front page for another. The story that America’s paper of record had been gearing up to tell in the coming days—months, years—was being obliterated in real time. From a journalistic perspective, that wasn’t exactly a bad thing. The new story, after all, was more fascinating, more chaotic—utterly unprecedented. And Trump’s election was the kind of Earth-shattering event that only comes around once or twice in a newsperson’s career. So for someone like Dean Baquet, the Times’s then 60-year-old executive editor, the dominant emotion was exhilaration about this new national epic. But it didn’t go unnoticed that, for some in the newsroom, the journalistic mission was not exactly front of mind. “I just remember younger people with sad faces,” a person who was there told me, describing those employees as generally being in roles that are adjacent to reporting and editing. Baquet remarked to colleagues in the coming days about how surprised he was by that. “He’s thinking, We’ve got a great story on our hands,” my source said. “That was the first indication that a unified newsroom in the age of Trump was going to be a very difficult thing to achieve or maintain.”

For most of its history, the Times has been an autocracy, with a church-like reverence for its values and traditions. Rebellion, as against executive editor Howell Raines in 2003, has often been to restore the old order rather than to overthrow it. But, as at many newsrooms and media offices, and in the culture at large, this is a moment of generational conflict not seen since the 1960s. “I’ve been feeling a lot lately like the newsroom is split into roughly the old-guard category, and the young and ‘woke’ category, and it’s easy to feel that the former group doesn’t take into account how much the future of the paper is predicated on the talent contained in the latter one,” a Times employee in that latter group told me a couple months ago. “I know a lot of others at the paper with similar positions to mine, especially women and people of color, who feel that senior staff isn’t receptive to their concerns.”