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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In speaking after President Trump announced her as the Supreme Court nominee to replaced Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett said on Saturday she will be "mindful" of those who came before her on the court if confirmed.

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