May 5, 2020 - Economy & Business

BuzzFeed News names Mark Schoofs as its new editor-in-chief

Photo: USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism via BuzzFeed News

BuzzFeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti announced Tuesday that Mark Schoofs will be the new editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News, replacing Ben Smith, who left the company to join the New York Times as a media columnist.

Why it matters: Schoofs is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist whose 30-year career has spanned a variety of newsrooms, including the Wall Street Journal, ProPublica and the Village Voice.

  • BuzzFeed hired Schoofs in 2013 to lead its then-new investigative reporting unit.
  • Under his leadership, BuzzFeed's investigative team broke major stories on abuse at America’s largest psychiatric hospital as well as uncovering how one of the U.K.’s largest banks profited by destroying small businesses and selling their assets.

Between the lines: Schoofs, who currently serves as a visiting professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, will continue to serve on the faculty, and he'll build on that relationship as a part of his new role at BuzzFeed.

  • The school will offer one course taught by Schoofs on journalism beginning this fall and another taught by Peretti on internet culture, networks and digital media, according to a statement from BuzzFeed.
  • BuzzFeed News will also create an internship program for USC students.

The big picture: Schoof's hiring comes as BuzzFeed, like other digital media companies, has had to make changes to weather the coronavirus crisis.

  • BuzzFeed said last month it will be imposing a graduated salary reduction for its employees, with top executives taking a 14–25% cut. The plan will be applied to the "majority of the company" throughout April and May, and it will be reevaluated on a monthly basis. Peretti won't be taking compensation. A few employees from BuzzFeed's live Twitter show "AM2DM" were laid off.

What's next: Schoofs begins on May 18 and will be based in Los Angeles.

Go deeper: Ben Smith leaving BuzzFeed to take over NYT media column

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