BuzzFeed Changes Up Approach to Covering Entertainment Industry
Three entertainment staffers are departing the company as part of the shift in strategy.
In an effort to break more news and more deeply pierce the heart of the entertainment industry, including the rolling wave of allegations of sexual harassment against major executives, BuzzFeed is re-structuring its entertainment desk.
BuzzFeed head of U.S. news Shani Hilton announced the shift in a memo to employees late Thursday afternoon. Going forward, BuzzFeed's entertainment coverage will be provided by three separate teams — one devoted to breaking news; one devoted to in-depth reporting and analysis, with a particular focus on race and gender; and one focused on big investigative pieces like the site's R. Kelly investigation that dominated the news cycle in July.
As a result of the re-alignment, three employees will be leaving the company, including the top two employees on the entertainment masthead, entertainment editor Jaimie Etkin and deputy entertainment editor Katie Hasty. Senior editor Jarett Wieselman will also be departing.
BuzzFeed is hoping the tweaked structure will better position the company at the extremely busy and popular intersection of entertainment, culture, politics and media.
Hilton, in her memo, specifically mentioned the publication's coverage of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. "The holes in our Weinstein coverage made clear that we needed to change the way we cover entertainment to put ourselves in a position to tell great stories," she wrote. "Our audience wants to see how changing social norms, gender dynamics, and political issues are being reflected in their culture and entertainment, and [BuzzFeed News editor Ben Smith] and I firmly believe that BuzzFeed News should be leading that coverage."