Under Jill Abramson, the New York Times' first female executive editor, the paper will employ its first ombudsman who also happens to be a woman. The paper announced today that Buffalo News editor Margaret Sullivan will take over for the outgoing Arthur Brisbane as public editor, charged with policing the paper in the name of its readers. "Margaret has exactly the right experience to assume this critical role for us at this time," said Abramson in a statement. "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."
"I see this as a chance to listen to readers, to respond, to learn and to write, always thoughtfully and also in real time," said Sullivan. "I see this as an ongoing conversation with readers about The Times." At her Buffalo News blog SulliView, she did some of that already, writing candidly about the future of journalism and hosting monthly "Ask the Editor" live-chats.
Sullivan was also featured recently in a Times article about Warren Buffett's newspapers. "We don't have all of the resources behind us," she said of her job at the News, which she's held since 1998. "We do really strong work, not to win awards, but to benefit the community. I think we're very ambitious in our reporting."
Sullivan's first day at the Times is September 1, meaning she'll probably miss the window to address today's story about quote-editing by political campaigns, but something else will surely come up in the meantime.