The New York Times has announced that Margaret M. Sullivan, currently editor and vice president of The Buffalo News, will succeed Arthur S. Brisbane as public editor on Sept. 1. Sullivan is the fifth public editor appointed by The Times.
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. With the vast changes in journalism in recent years, the new public editor will seek new avenues for that mission. The public editor will remain an independent voice, working outside of the reporting and editing structure of the newsroom. Sullivan will report to the publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr.
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. That conversation will center on a blog and Web page on NYTimes.com, along with an active social media presence.
Jill Abramson, Times executive editor, said, “Margaret has exactly the right experience to assume this critical role for us at this time. 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.”
Sullivan has served as editor of The Buffalo News for the past 12 years, where she supervised the editorial operations of the largest newspaper in upstate New York along with the region’s leading news Web site. She began her career at the paper in 1980 as a reporter and metro columnist and subsequently was assistant city editor, assistant managing editor for features and managing editor, before being named editor in 1999.