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City Appoints First Chief Digital Officer

By DNAinfo Staff on January 24, 2011 5:33pm  | Updated on January 24, 2011 5:44pm

Rachel Sterne, the city's new Chief Digital Officer.
Rachel Sterne, the city's new Chief Digital Officer.
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By Jill Colvin

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN — After more than six months of searching, the city has finally hired its first chief digital officer.

Rachel Sterne, 27, will be paid $115,000 a year to use digital media tools, including Facebook and Twitter, to improve communication between the city, residents and businesses, a spokeswoman at the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment said.

Sterne, who was once named one of America’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs by BusinessWeek (which is owned by Bloomberg LP), will also work to make NYC.gov more user-friendly and will serve as an advocate for the city’s digital media industry, according to a statement announcing the appointment.

"Rachel is someone who has been an influencer in the social media sphere and a civic journalism entrepreneur. 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," said department Commissioner Katherine Oliver.

Sterne, who has 1,127 friends on Facebook and has nearly 11,000 Twitter followers, announced the appointment on her wall.

"Excited to share my new role with the City of New York. Look forward to hearing your thoughts on how we can improve digital resources and serve citizens!" she wrote.

Sterne is currently an adjunct professor at the Columbia Business School teaching "Social Media and Entrepreneurship." She is the granddaughter of a former editor of the Baltimore Sun’s editorial page, she told MagNet,a magazine about digital trends put together by Columbia Journalism students.

She is also the principal of Upward, a digital media consulting firm, and the founder of GroundReport, a global news platform for multimedia citizen journalism.

"My goal in this role is to help the world’s greatest city become the world’s most innovative city through online and mobile technologies that help citizens and enhance the quality of services," said Sterne, who goes by the Twitter handle rachelsterne.