BuzzFeed News has a new editor in chief: Mark Schoofs, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who is an alumnus of the site, having created its investigations unit in 2014.
Unlike the founding editor of BuzzFeed News, Ben Smith, who left in March after eight years to become the media columnist for The New York Times, Mr. Schoofs will work out of Los Angeles, rather than New York.
Jonah Peretti, the founder and chief executive of BuzzFeed, announced the hiring of Mr. Schoofs on Tuesday.
Mr. Schoofs, 57, has been a visiting professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism since 2018. He will continue teaching there after he starts the new job on May 18.
In a three-decade career that has included stints at The Wall Street Journal, The Village Voice and ProPublica, Mr. Schoofs has won a Pulitzer Prize and shared another. At The Journal, he reported on fraud in the medical industry and was part of the 9/11 breaking news team. He delved into the effects of the AIDS crisis on Africa for The Voice. At ProPublica, he worked as an editor overseeing a team of investigative reporters. “I’m so excited to welcome Mark back to BuzzFeed,” Mr. Peretti said in a statement, “because I know how deeply committed he is to ensuring that BuzzFeed News remains the best place on the internet for free, high quality news, and reaches even greater heights.”
In a statement, Mr. Schoofs said BuzzFeed News’s journalists were “the best in the world.” BuzzFeed declined to make him available for an interview.
As part of the move, BuzzFeed and the Annenberg School will join forces. Mr. Peretti will teach a course on internet culture and digital media at the school, and BuzzFeed News will establish an internship program for its students. Last year, Mr. Schoofs helped start a learn-by-doing program for Annenberg students called the Beacon Project.
Mr. Schoofs is seen as popular with BuzzFeed News staff members, who last year engaged in a union drive that was initially resisted by Mr. Peretti.
He is returning to BuzzFeed at a challenging moment for the site. After a round of layoffs at the start of 2019 that took about 15 percent of the staff, BuzzFeed registered a profit over the second half of last year, with its affiliate and e-commerce businesses supplying much of the revenue. (Its news division, which cost around $18 million last year, may never be a top generator of profits.)
“Our business is strong and we are well capitalized, we are in a better position than many others,” Mr. Peretti said in an email to the staff in March.