The New York Times on Monday named Margaret Sullivan as its “public editor,” an ombudsman who responds to reader concerns, and said the “conversation” on key issues will move increasingly online.
Sullivan, currently editor and vice president of The Buffalo News, will succeed Arthur Brisbane as public editor on September 1. She is the fifth public editor at The Times and the first woman to hold the post.
“The role of the public editor is to represent readers and respond to their concerns, critique Times journalism and increase transparency and understanding about how the institution operates,” the media group said in a statement.
“With the vast changes in journalism in recent years, the new public editor will seek new avenues for that mission.”
Sullivan will continue to write a print column, “but she will focus on a more active online role: as the initiator, orchestrator and moderator of an ongoing conversation about The Times’s journalism,” the statement said.
That will include a blog and Web page on NYTimes.com, along with an active social media presence.
“Margaret has exactly the right experience to assume this critical role for us at this time,” said Jill Abramson, executive editor of The Times, who in 2011 became the first woman to hold the top editorial post at the newspaper.
“She has an impressive 32-year background in print journalism where she has distinguished herself as a reporter, columnist, editor and manager. And critically for us at this time, she has shown adeptness at embracing new platforms and engaging and interacting with readers in real time online, in print and in person.”
The public editor “will remain an independent voice, working outside of the reporting and editing structure of the newsroom” and report to the publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr, the company said.