Richard Rushfield To Lead Team As Los Angeles Bureau Chief, Kate Aurthur To Serve As Chief Los Angeles Correspondent
Michael Hastings To Join Los Angeles Bureau As Correspondent-at-Large Following Presidential Election
Ze Frank Will Continue To Build West Coast Video Team And Studio
New York, October 22, 2012– Leading social news organization BuzzFeed announced today its plans to launch a Los Angeles bureau and compete aggressively for entertainment news. Distinguished journalist and social web native Richard Rushfield will build a team of entertainment reporters and editors as Los Angeles Bureau Chief. Kate Aurthur, West Coast Editor of Newsweek/The Daily Beast and former television editor at the Los Angeles Times, will return to writing daily about television, movies and celebrity as BuzzFeed’s Chief Los Angeles Correspondent. Michael Hastings will bring his hard-hitting reporting on national security and politics to the BuzzFeed Los Angeles Bureau while contributing to entertainment coverage as a Correspondent-at-Large.
“Richard Rushfield is one of Hollywood’s great reporters and one of the few who’s as comfortable on the social web as he is in the screening room. Richard’s top-notch reporting and writing skills, social web voice and experience as the Entertainment Editor at latimes.com make him well placed to build and lead a phenomenal team of reporters to tell the compelling stories behind the entertainment industry. I've loved Kate Aurthur's lively, whip-smart writing on television for years, and she's got one of the sharpest Twitter feeds in all of entertainment journalism — which both align naturally with BuzzFeed's sensibilities. We’re elated she’s joining us to cover celebrity and the entertainment industry in a new way,” said Doree Shafrir, BuzzFeed’s Executive Editor.
“Richard and Kate are perfectly positioned to combine the best traditions of honest, lucid entertainment coverage with today’s changing web. Michael Hastings will be invaluable in helping us shake the foundations of entertainment journalism in 2013 as we did with politics in 2012. It’s the right year to do this and there’s an audience primed and ready for first rate entertainment content built for the social web,” said Ben Smith, BuzzFeed’s Editor-in-Chief.
“We’ll bring a combination of fun, viral ready takes of the moments and trends in entertainment, coupled with serious boots-on-the-ground reporting that goes beyond the day's headlines. From pop culture foibles to looks behind the studio gates, covering Hollywood with BuzzFeed’s sensibility will be a challenge for which I couldn’t be more thrilled,” said Rushfield.
“The most creative storytellers in the world live in Los Angeles and finding a way to cover entertainment in a powerful, shareable way is a real priority to us. We’re launching a new era of BuzzFeed with this bureau and are confident that this team will lead the best, most creative crew of renegades in LA and prove that the web is no longer a sideshow for TV and movie coverage. Los Angeles will be home to BuzzFeed Video, led by Ze Frank, and a west coast special ops team, editors focused on viral content, both which will be key in preserving BuzzFeed’s DNA while creating New York’s evil twin sister on the west coast,” said Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed’s Founder & CEO.
Terry City, Vice President of West Coast Sales, will continue to work with the biggest brands in Hollywood to create content marketing campaigns for the social web. Modeled after a successful team of twenty in New York, BuzzFeed will build a creative services team that will work with Los Angeles based brands.
Rushfield will begin October 29, Aurthur will begin November 5 and Hastings will start his contributions in 2013 following the presidential election.
Richard Rushfield served as Entertainment Editor of latimes.com from 2005 – 2009 where he oversaw the creation of the site’s entertainment section and The Envelope awards site. For a time in 2009, he served as Gawker’s West Coast Editor and has been published by Slate, New York Times, Variety, Los Angeles Magazine and Black Book among others. Since 1996, Rushfield and Adam Leff have co-authored Vanity Fair’s recurring infotainment feature, “The Intelligence Report.” An early adopter of social media, Rushfield wrote the first ever article about Twitter, solved the mystery of Longelygirl15 for the LATimes and maintains a popular Tumblr. The most recent of Rushfield’s three books, “American Idol: The Untold Story,” was released in January 2011 from Hyperion Books and is considered the definitive history of the entertainment goliath. Rushfield was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Los Angeles where he now lives with his wife and fellow journalist, Nicole LaPorte, and son Alexei.
Kate Aurthur was most recently the West Coast Editor at The Daily Beast. She has been the television editor at The Los Angeles Times, a freelance culture writer, an editor at the Arts & Leisure section of The New York Times, and a producer at nytimes.com. Before beginning her journalism career, she was a self-employed investor in the stock market. Aurthur received a bachelor's degree in English literature from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. She lives in Los Angeles with her partner, Rebecca DuMoulin, and their two children.
Michael Hastings is a correspondent covering the Obama re-elect for BuzzFeed and a contributing editor to Rolling Stone. Over the past seven years, he's regularly covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He started his career at Newsweek in 2002 and was named the magazine's Baghdad correspondent in 2005. In 2008, he reported on the U.S. presidential elections for Newsweek. His work has appeared in GQ, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Slate, Salon, Foreign Policy, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, and a number of other publications. In 2011, Hastings was awarded the George Polk Award for magazine reporting for his story in Rolling Stone, "The Runaway General." He is the author of I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story (Scribner, 2008) and the New York Times bestseller The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan (Penguin, Blue Rider Press, 2012).
Internet legend Ze Frank joined BuzzFeed in September 2012 as the Executive Vice President of Video at BuzzFeed where he is focused on finding new formats in social video. A web pioneer since 2001, Mr. Frank is known for creating viral projects like “Earth Sandwich,” “Young Me/Now Me,” and “Chillout Song.” In 2006, he created “The Show with Ze Frank,” which was an early template for the modern video blog and he recently relaunched a videoblog called AShow with ZeFrank with the help of a successful kickstarter campaign. He has been named a top virologist in in Newsweek’s Digital Power Index and his website was listed as one of TIME’s “50 Coolest Websites.” He is also a frequent TED talk speaker and a Webby award winner.
BuzzFeed, Press Manager
BuzzFeed is the leading social news organization, intensely focused on delivering high-quality original reporting, insight, and social content across a rapidly expanding array of subject areas. BuzzFeed’s technology powers the social distribution of content, detects what is trending on the web, and connects people in real-time with the hottest content of the moment. BuzzFeed.com is growing rapidly and reaches more than 25 million monthly unique visitors. Jonah Peretti, founder & CEO of BuzzFeed, previously co-founded the Huffington Post. Ben Smith is its Editor-in-chief.