Jan 28, 2020 - Economy

Ben Smith leaving BuzzFeed to take over NYT media column

BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Ben Smith, the longtime editor of BuzzFeed News, is leaving the company that he helped build and define after eight years to join the New York Times as a media columnist.

Why it matters: Smith is credited with having developed one of the most aggressive news operations created specifically for the internet generation.

  • Under his lead, BuzzFeed News grew to include more than 200 editorial staffers, became a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and broke some of the biggest stories in politics, tech and culture of the decade.
  • He will take over for Jim Rutenberg, who was recently reassigned, to fill the column that once belonged to the revered media scribe, the late David Carr.

Details: According to Smith, the decision was made following ongoing conversations with the Times for the past couple of months. After eight years of managing a newsroom, he was eager to get back to writing and reporting.

  • "I am so proud of what we did here and how strong the newsroom has become," Smith tells Axios. "Jonah [Peretti] has been very supportive of news here."
  • "It’s been the privilege of my life to do this job, in its many iterations, for more than eight years," Smith said in a memo to staff on Tuesday.
  • Smith plans to cover the intersections of media and politics, and media and tech. He explained that he hopes to do breaking news.
  • "I like scoops," he adds.

What's next: Smith starts at the Times in early March. He said in the staff memo that he will be "around this month" to help with the transition.

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