Neither a writer nor a reader, she'll serve as a kind of MC in a big online conversation.
The New York Times got a new Public Editor last week. Her name is Margaret Sullivan, and the range of her responsibilities is immense: She must investigate the paper like a media reporter, account for its standards like an ombudsman, and answer reader mail like an old small-town editor-in-chief. She also must -- in something both now completely pedestrian and yet, in 2012, still totally remarkable -- write for her blog and tweet.
And she's also written (and perhaps this is more remarkable in 2012) a print column. It ran in the paper's bulky Sunday Review packet, and, within it, she both laid out her goals for her two-year tenure and slid in this little pearl of a paragraph:
In their 2010 book, "Blur," Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel suggested a number of roles for journalists in the Internet era. Two that I find especially intriguing for the public editor are "smart aggregator" and "forum organizer." I'm working with the news presentation experts here to find new ways to make the public editor's Web page a village square for discussion. I intend to blog frequently and to use social media outlets like Twitter to expand the sphere and invite other voices in.
My emphasis there, because, consider those phrases: Smart aggregator and forum organizer. One creates a space for conversation and finds willing parties; the former ties together disparate posts and articles from across the web into something larger than their individual parts.