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News on the Ben Smith News

Ben Smith
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty
Dylan Byers
January 4, 2022

Earlier this week, Ben Smith notified New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet that he was going to be leaving the company to pursue something different. On some level, the news couldn’t have been a shock. For months, in-the-know media people have been kibitzing about Smith’s potential next moves. Sure, many assumed, he’d probably enjoyed a liquidity event from the initial public offering of Buzzfeed, where he’d been the editor-in-chief for nearly a decade. But perhaps more importantly, Smith has the personality of a builder, and the Times, despite its world-beating digital growth in recent years, can have an academic culture. 

But the news that he was teaming up with Justin Smith, the C.E.O. of Bloomberg Media, to create a sort of globalist, post-social media, creator-friendly and all-the-other-right-things-to-say journalistic beast was the media-world equivalent of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving joining the Brooklyn Nets, or Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez getting back together. And it was marvelously orchestrated through a double-barreled media rollout, with Justin declaring his news, replete with a Mike Bloomberg quote, in the Journal, and the Times getting the hometown scoop on Ben (albeit with little warning).