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NYC Fills Web Guru Role

The Bloomberg administration has filled the spot of New York City’s chief digital officer. Rachel Sterne, an adjunct professor of social media and entrepreneurship at the Columbia Business School and a founder of the news site GroundReport, has been stepped in to fill the new role.

The position was created last May to help develop forward-thinking policies on social media, digital communications, Web 2.0 initiatives and other tools to better serve the public, according to the city's website.

"Rachel is someone who has been an influencer in the social media sphere and a civic journalism entrepreneur," said Katherine Oliver, the commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, in a statement. "She will be a terrific advocate for digital media while at the same time helping to hone the city’s use of social media for years to come."

According to CNET, Sterne's job will focus on helping the city government use digital technology to better communicate with residents, working to bring social media and other new tools into municipal agencies, negotiating partnerships with the city's digital media and tech start-ups, and serving as a representative of the technology community to the government. In addition, she will be responsible for making the city's official website,, more user-friendly as well as a better source of information and services for city's residents. 

Sterne has experience as a reporter covering the United Nations Security Council and as a city council intern before founding GroundReport and Upward, a digital marketing and communications strategy firm.  Finally, in 2009, she was named one of "America's Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs" by Bloomberg Businessweek, part of the media powerhouse founded by Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

"The focus of my role is to help the city use technology to better serve citizens, and to save tax payers money by making our services more efficient and accessible online," Sterne told

“In more concrete terms, I will start with a listening campaign that asks citizens and city agencies for their ideas, requests, and complaints on the city’s digital resources. This will be part of a 90-day report that analyzes our city’s current digital and social media resources, and outlines next steps for both policy and initiatives."

According to, Sterne is expected to begin her first full week of work today.

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