Here’s a plugin complete with a widget that lets the site admin pick and choose which posts to feature. A backend menu is created where the admin can input a sitewide feed. In MU, the menu item is under site Admin, and in regular WordPress, it’s under Appearance.
We recommend using this in conjunction with Sitewide tags, then use the feed from the tags blog. Each item from the feed has a checkbox, and when selected, the post is moved over to the “Featured” column. The widget will display the featured post excerpt as well as the user’s avatar.
Currently, if you want to change some options, you will have to edit the code of the plugin. The widget is in a separate file if you wish to remove it. Also, the widget is set to display one post, but that is easily changed by editing the plugin. Find the function call and change it thusly:
<?php ra_featured_show(10); ?>
Where the number 10 is the maximum amount of posts to show. You can also use this same function if you want to hardcode it in your theme. There are also options in the code for default avatar sizes, and some CSS classes around the post and the avatar, so you can adjust them to your liking. Feel free to fold, spindle, mutilate and enjoy the heck out of it. Since we are going to WordCamp New York, we wanted to get this plugin released before then. We’ll add more options for backend configuration after we get back.