Sree Sreenivasan has a new job doing more of the same.
Mayor Bill de Blaso recently tabbed the veteran journalist and social media guru as the city's chief digital officer, directing the city’s office of digital strategy (NYC Digital) to increase civic engagement, government transparency and support the city’s technology sector.
In a recent tweet, the mayor welcomed his newest chief digital officer and, according to Sreenivasan, “tweeted out my marching orders.”
“Welcome, @sree, as NYC’s new CDO! And onward to becoming the most tech-friendly, transparent, digitally equitable city in the world,” the mayor tweeted.
“My job couldn't have been spelled out more clearly or more publicly,” Sreenivasan said. “Of course, those are very grand, ambitious ideas and I can't wait to tackle the challenge.”
Asked about the goal of making the city more hospitable to technology startups, Sreenivasan said the plan was simple.
“Having more set up here, more stay here, and more thrive here is one of my goals,” he said.
Sreenivasan, who officially takes the helm of NYC Digital this October, has a wealth of experience in both journalism and social media, having served, among many other roles, as the first chief digital officer at both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Columbia University.
He was a founding member of neighborhood news site DNAinfo, as well as a mayoral appointee on the Commission on Public Information and Communication since last year, where he helped the public access city information as well as strategies to improve access to, and distribution of, city data.
He has also written for the New York Times, in addition to reporting on technology for WABC-TV, WNBC-TV and WCBS-TV.
In a statement, de Blasio expressed support for his newest hire.
“To move our city’s digital ecosystem into the 21st century, we need to ensure our city’s resources are at the fingertips of every New Yorker,” the mayor said.
“With Sree Sreenivasan’s wealth of experience, I am confident that he will work to promote transparency, access, and progressive values with our digital tools, helping spread access across the five boroughs.”
An immigrant from India who attended public school in Manhattan and received a master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia University in 1993, Sreenivasan reported he was in the midst of a social media speaking tour of India, in part as preparation for his upcoming role as the city’s digital chief.
“I am learning about ways the public and private sectors are working together to improve the way technology can improve the lives of citizens,” he said.
“I have much to learn about what can be done in NYC, but in all my work, I am going to look at the issues through the prism of serving the 8.5 million people who live here, the 4.2 million folks who work here, the 300,000 city workers, and the 55 million people who visit NYC each year,” Sreenivasan added.
“I will work with the terrific digital and technology talent that exists in City Hall and prioritize everything we want to do, together.”