By Helen Coster and Eva Mathews
(Reuters) -Bloomberg Media Chief Executive Officer Justin Smith and New York Times media columnist Ben Smith are departing their respective news organizations to start a new media firm, the two confirmed on Tuesday.
Ben Smith will be the editor in chief of the as yet unnamed venture, which will build a newsroom and target “200 million people with college degrees, who read in English, who nobody is really thinking of as an audience,” he said in an interview with Reuters.
While at the Times, Smith said, he felt that many readers are “in some ways alienated from the way news is done now, who maybe feel that they’re being talked down to or that what they’re reading is kind of in a feedback loop with social media.”
They want news that “treats them with respect.”
The two Smiths are not related. Their plans came together over the last “month or two,” Ben Smith said.
Ben Smith – who was editor-in-chief of Buzzfeed and a reporter at Politico prior to joining the Times in 2020 – declined to provide details on funding for the new venture, or the size of the newsroom he and his partner plan to build.
The New York Times first reported the news of Ben Smith’s departure and plans earlier on Tuesday. The Wall Street Journal first reported https://www.wsj.com/articles/bloomberg-media-ceo-justin-smith-steps-down-to-found-news-startup-11641310893 the news of Justin Smith’s departure and plans.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Justin Smith wrote: “After 8 years at Bloomberg Media, and more than 25 years in quality journalism, I’ve decided to pursue a personal dream, and a market opportunity, to launch a new kind of global news media company that serves unbiased journalism to a truly global audience.”
In the wake of Justin Smith’s departure from Bloomberg Media, the CEO role will be taken on by Scott Havens, Bloomberg Media’s chief growth officer, the Journal reported, citing a statement from Michael Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg L.P.
Justin Smith, who moved to Bloomberg from Atlantic Media in 2013, will remain at Bloomberg as an adviser in the coming months to assist with the transition, the Journal added.
Justin Smith and Bloomberg Media did not respond to requests for comment.
Bloomberg Media competes with Reuters, the news division of Thomson Reuters Corp, in supplying news to media outlets.
(Reporting by Helen Coster in New York and Eva Mathews in BengaluruEditing by Amy Caren Daniel, Alexandra Hudson and Matthew Lewis)