Remember when you read about the possibility of BuzzFeed News being spun off?
Media folks, remember when you read not too long ago about the possibility that BuzzFeed might spin off its news division?
Ben Smith, the editor in chief of BuzzFeed News, had a meeting with Emerson Collective, the organization started by billionaire investor and philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs about a possible investment. A deal could have meant BuzzFeed News would no longer be a part of BuzzFeed.
Well, CEO Jonah Peretti has some very specific thoughts on that.
“I love BuzzFeed News, I love that it’s part of BuzzFeed,” he said at Code Media conference in Huntington Beach, Calif.
Of course, that doesn’t mean a deal like that it couldn’t ever happen, but Peretti was fairly unequivocal about the value of news to BuzzFeed.
“The reporting talent and the stories we’ve broken, I’m incredibly proud of it,” he said. “It helps us with the business. The only reason I’d ever have conversations with anyone about BuzzFeed News is how we could do more with it.”
So what happened?
If you’re in the media business, the situation as described by Peretti isn’t entirely unusual. Smith happens to be old friends with the executive at Emerson who heads up media, former New York Times journalist Peter Lattman, and the two “got a beer together.”
”In some ways, it was kind of blown out of proportion,” he said. “We have people come to us all the time, and we listen to them and talk to them.”
We won’t get into who contacted whom, but it’s worth noting that Lattman has become a key figure in media circles. His role at Emerson has become particularly important given Powell Jobs’ deep interest in the news business.
She bought a majority stake in the Atlantic magazine last year, and is one of the handful of billionaires often seen a potential saviors of big, important newspapers.