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Chief Digital Officer Appointed in NYC

New York City hires 20-something Rachel Sterne as social media and online guru.

The New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment has appointed its first chief digital officer, a role established by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Touted as unique to government, the position will outline ways to enhance New York City’s digital footprint, streamline existing social media tools and explore public-private partnerships the city could potentially implement.

Journalism entrepreneur Rachel Sterne was hired for the position, Commissioner Katherine Oliver announced Monday, Jan. 24. In her role as chief digital officer, Sterne will be responsible for improving government transparency and streamlining communication across city agencies.

Sterne will be working with the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT), other New York City agencies and stakeholders to assist with information accessibility. By working with the DoITT, she will help make the city’s Web portal more user-friendly. 

She’s been tasked with creating a 90-day report detailing New York City’s online strategies. Once completed, the report will be sent to Oliver and City Hall.

“It’s vital that the city stay at the edge of innovation so we can meet tomorrow’s challenges today,” said DoITT Commissioner Carole Post in a statement. “The new chief digital officer’s efforts will be integral to further leveraging the vast potential of the city’s independent and entrepreneurial tech communities.”

Sterne is the founder and former CEO of global news platform GroundReport, and founder of digital media consulting company Upward Strategy. She was also hired on this year at Columbia Business School as an adjunct professor to teach a course on social media and entrepreneurship. Sterne is reportedly 27 years old.

The city announced its intent to hire for the position in spring 2010.