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

New York City schools will not fully reopen in fall

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at a press conference on Wednesday that schools will not fully reopen in fall, and will instead adopt a hybrid model that will limit in-person attendance to just one to three days a week.

Why it matters: New York City, once the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, is home to the nation's largest public school district — totaling 1,800 schools and 1.1 million students, according to the New York Times. The partial reopening plan could prevent hundreds of thousands of parents from fully returning to work.

Treasury blames lenders for PPP disclosure debacle

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. Treasury Department is pointing the finger at lenders for errors discovered in Monday's PPP data disclosure.

What they're saying: "Companies listed had their PPP applications entered into SBA’s Electronic Transmission (ETran) system by an approved PPP lender. If a lender did not cancel the loan in the ETran system, the loan is listed," a senior administration official said.

Updated 27 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 11,863,477 — Total deaths: 544,949 — Total recoveries — 6,483,402Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 2,996,679 — Total deaths: 131,486 — Total recoveries: 936,476 — Total tested: 36,878,106Map.
  3. Public health: Deaths are rising in hotspots — Déjà vu sets in as testing issues rise and PPE dwindles.
  4. Travel: How the pandemic changed mobility habits, by state.
  5. Education: Harvard and MIT sue Trump administration over rule barring foreign students from online classes.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: A misinformation "infodemic" is here.