The Buffalo News editor Margaret Sullivan is leaving the newspaper to become public editor for the New York Times.
Sullivan, a Lackawanna native, has worked at The News in some capacity since 1980, rising through the ranks from intern to reporter to columnist, before becoming the paper's first female editor in 1999. She is credited with helping the paper successfully navigate the challenges of the digital age and stay profitable while avoiding layoffs.
Sullivan says public editor is an independent voice that represents the venerable paper's readership. She says she will serve as an "independent watchdog."
"I think, at this point, which is a crossroads for journalism, there are very few things that are more important than a news organization's relationship with its readers," Sullivan told WBFO and AM 970.
"It's going to be a much more real-time conversation with readers...a regular online conversation that gathers and aggregates thoughtful criticism, responds to it in real time, [and] does reporting. It really brings the public editor's position into the digital age."
Sullivan has signed a four-year deal with The Times, with an option to renew. She will becomes the paper's fifth public editor in the past decade, succeeding Arthur Brisbane.
Managing Editor Brian Connolly will take over Sullivan's post in the interim. The News will conduct a nationwide search for Sullivan's successor.