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News Editor Ben Smith Leaves BuzzFeed To Join New York Times As “Media Equation” Columnist

January 28, 2020

BuzzFeed News editor-in-chief, Ben Smith announced today that he is leaving his role to join The New York Times as a media columnist.

In a speech to staff after the announcement, Smith said he started talking to the Times about a job back in December. Smith will serve as the writer for the “Media Equation” column. He will replace Jim Rutenberg, who is now a writer at large for the NY Times. Smith will leave BuzzFeed in March. In the meantime he will help out in finding his replacement.

Smith joined BuzzFeed in 2012 and launched a new division called BuzzFeed News by 2016. Smith’s departure follows BuzzFeed’s massive layoffs last year for BuzzFeed News’ which dramatically decreased coverage in National and Entertainment news coverage.

Most notably Smith positioned BuzzFeed News as a reputable news source with the publishing of the Steele dossier in 2017, a 35-page opposition research document alleged that President Donald Trump could be blackmailed by Russian intelligence. Other media outlets would not publish the dossier because it contained unverified allegations about Trump’s Russian ties. By 2018, BuzzFeed News had its own URL.

Smith posted this email to his staff on Twitter:

Smith’s departure marks the end of an era for BuzzFeed.



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