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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.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
59 mins ago - Economy & Business

America on borrowed time

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Economic recovery will not be linear as the world continues to grapple with the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Why it matters: Despite being propped up by an extraordinary amount of fiscal stimulus and support from central banks, the state of the global economy remains fragile.

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.