London, UK 13 January, 2015 — BuzzFeed News announced today that it has hired Heidi Blake, who has won multiple journalism awards and is currently an assistant editor at The Sunday Times, to build and lead an investigative team in the UK. The UK team is the first international expansion of BuzzFeed News' investigations unit, led by Mark Schoofs in New York. In London, Blake will initially lead a team of 3 reporters on groundbreaking untold stories that combine the best of traditional reporting with the tools and philosophy of the social web. Blake will also work closely with Luke Lewis, Editor-in-Chief of BuzzFeed UK and the growing London office.
"I'm thrilled that Heidi will be joining our team," said Mark Schoofs, Investigations & Projects Editor, BuzzFeed News. "She is one of the best investigative journalists anywhere, and a natural leader. She will build the UK arm of our investigations unit into a powerhouse."
"Mark Schoofs has already shown that we're building one of the most ambitious investigative teams in the world, and which is why we're doubling down on their work — in the US and now, for the first time, overseas. Heidi has broken some of the biggest stories in Britain and in the world (which are sometimes the same thing), and I'm excited to see what she and her team does in BuzzFeed," said Ben Smith, Editor-in-Chief, BuzzFeed.
In under a year, Schoofs, a Pulitzer Prize winner, has built a BuzzFeed News investigative team of 11 brilliant reporters who have exposed injustice, corruption and wrongdoing. Their blockbuster investigations have been read by millions of people and have moved some of them to act: an activist group is pushing to get a battered woman out of jail, a top NSA surveillance official has been removed from her post and massive outrage ensued from Facebook and a top US senator after BuzzFeed News' reports on the DEA impersonating a woman online.
"I couldn't be more excited to be joining BuzzFeed News to lead a brand new investigations team in London after three wonderful years at The Sunday Times. It's a chance to combine the fearless and forensic reporting that makes Fleet Street great with the vibrancy and technological brilliance that marks BuzzFeed out as a defining news organisation of the 21st Century. BuzzFeed News has assembled a world-class investigations team in the US whose outstanding reporting is already blazing a new trail for journalism in the digital age. The London-based team will join them in rooting out corruption, holding power to account and breaking seismic stories for a ballooning global audience. It's a watershed moment for investigative journalism in Britain and I'm thrilled to be part of it," said Blake.
Blake will work with Schoofs to hire a global investigative team in the UK and will be based in the London office. They will focus on two kinds of investigations. First, they'll kick open stories that are local to Great Britain and that will find their main audience among Brits but they will also take on stories with global reach.
Blake will start in spring 2015. Follow her on Twitter @heidiblakeST.
Heidi Blake is an assistant editor of The Sunday Times, attached to the Insight investigations team. She is currently working on a major investigation based on cache of hundreds of millions of leaked documents exposing corruption in Fifa and the Qatar 2022 World Cup campaign that has dominated the news around the world. Heidi won investigation of the year and sports reporter of the year with Jonathan Calvert for their work on the Fifa Files at the 2014 British Journalism Awards. The pair also jointly won business reporter of the year for an investigation into a "hit-squad" within the taxpayer-owned bank RBS which profited by killing off small firms. She was promoted to assistant editor of The Sunday Times after two years as the paper's deputy Insight editor, having been headhunted from her previous role as an investigations reporter at The Daily Telegraph. Her scoops have made waves in the fields of politics, business, defence, health, sport and security and she has won or been shortlisted for more than a dozen national journalism awards. Blake earned a B.A. with honors in English and Politics at the University of York. Blake will start in spring 2015 and will be based in London.
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