Smith helped build the editorial side of BuzzFeed since he joined the media platform from Politico, and the site has become a significant source of political coverage and investigative journalism. Perhaps more notably, BuzzFeed published the Steele dossier, the document that included unverified allegations about Donald Trump and his links to Russian interests.
At the Times, Smith will write the Media Equation column. Jim Rutenberg most recently had that assignment, having taken on the column after the death of David Carr in 2015.
BuzzFeed went through a round of layoffs last January, the third round of cuts that many saw as signs of trouble in the digital ad model.
In a note to staff, Smith wrote that the “newsroom and the company as a whole are now in a strong position. We have a CEO who fundamentally believes in news and has proven again and again that he’ll stand up for the toughest stories, about anyone, and colleagues across the organization who share that view.”
He said that he will be leaving BuzzFeed at the beginning of March.
“Ben not only understands the seismic changes remaking media, he has lived them — and in some cases, led them,” the Times‘ Dean Baquet, Joe Kahn and Ellen Pollock wrote in a letter to staff on Tuesday.
NBC News first reported on Smith’s departure.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.