Sullivan is the Washington Post's media columnist, writing twice-weekly on subjects from Facebook to Fox News. Based in New York City, she is the former public editor of The New York Times, the first woman appointed as the paper's reader representative and internal critic. A graduate of Georgetown University and Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Sullivan began her career as a summer intern at her hometown paper, The Buffalo News, eventually becoming its first female executive editor. She is the mother of two grown children, both working in public defenders' offices.
A former member of the Columbia University Pulitzer Prize board, Sullivan has taught in the graduate journalism schools at Columbia and at City University of New York. She was twice elected as a director of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, where she chaired the First Amendment Committee.
In early 2018, when Sullivan spoke at the Shorenstein Center at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, the Harvard Gazette described her widespread influence: “Following the death of New York Times media analyst David Carr in 2015, Sullivan is one of the few national voices in print and on the web who speaks hard truths about the embattled news industry’s shortcomings and offers thoughtful remedies amid heightened public skepticism about the value that journalists bring to society.”
Sullivan’s criticism is praised and widely cited across the political spectrum. Norman Ornstein of the conservative American Enterprise Institute lauded her “powerful, spot-on commentary,” and Jamilah King, host of the progressive Mother Jones podcast, described her as “basically the biggest rock star in the media-criticism world.” The New England First Amendment Coalition’s executive director Justin Silverman wrote, “At a time of historic distrust in the media’s role in a free society, she has consistently fought for the profession to hold itself to high standards and to hew to crystal clear ethics for the benefit of media consumers.”
For more information about the Journalism School’s graduation and Journalism Day ceremonies visit: https://journalism.columbia.edu/graduation