Margaret M. Sullivan
Sullivan in 2016
Lackawanna, New York, USA
|Residence||New York City|
|Occupation||Media columnist for The Washington Post |
Former Public Editor of The New York Times
Former editor of The Buffalo News
Margaret M. Sullivan is an American journalist who is the media columnist for The Washington Post. She was the fifth public editor of The New York Times and the first woman to hold the position. In that role, she reported directly to Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. as the "readers' representative". She began her tenure on September 1, 2012, joining The New York Times from The Buffalo News, where she had been editor and vice-president. Her first column in The Washington Post ran on May 22, 2016.
Sullivan was appointed to the Pulitzer Prize Board in 2011 and has been a juror several times and has served as the chairwoman of the commentary jury in 2006. She has been elected a director of the American Society of News Editors and led its First Amendment committee.
Sullivan was the first woman to serve as the editor and as the managing editor of The Buffalo News, the largest newspaper in Western New York, after previously working as a reporter and columnist. Sullivan focused The Buffalo News's reporting on poverty, economic development and inequities in public education as well as establishing its first investigative team.
In The New York Times announcement on July 16, 2012, former executive editor Jill Abramson 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." Unlike previous public editors of The New York Times, Sullivan signed on for four years.
In December 2015, Sullivan announced that she was not renewing her contract with The Times. Sullivan stated that "The role really requires an outsider's perspective, so I've thought all along that having a clear time limit serves The Times and its readers best."
Her tenure was celebrated by both journalists and readers. "Her tenure accomplished many things, most importantly the potential of web-based media reporting and criticism to combat the media establishment's groupthink," Eric Alterman observed.
In February 2016, it was announced that when Sullivan left The Times, she would be joining The Washington Post as its media columnist. Arthur Sulzberger Jr., The Times's publisher praised Sullivan in a memo to staff stating that she had "ushered the position into a new age." Her first column in The Washington Post ran on May 22, 2016.