Ben Smith (journalist)
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Ben Smith Journalist
Ben Smith
Ben Smith journalist (cropped).jpg
Smith in 2012
Benjamin Eli Smith

1976 (age 42–43)
Alma materYale University
  • Journalist
Years active1999-present
Liena Zagare (m. 2002)
Parent(s)Dian Goldston Smith
Robert S. Smith

Benjamin Eli Smith (born 1976) is an American journalist. He is the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News.[1]

Early life

Smith was born and raised in New York City, the son of author Dian (née Goldston) and attorney Robert S. Smith, who served as an associate judge on the New York Court of Appeals. His mother was Jewish and a Democrat while his father was a Christian and conservative.[2] He graduated with a B.A. summa cum laude from Yale University in 1999 [3]


Smith's first professional reporting job was doing the crime beat for The Indianapolis Star. He then moved to Latvia to take a position at The Baltic Times and also began reporting for Wall Street Journal Europe (until 2001).[4] Smith has also written for the New York Sun (2002-2003), the New York Observer (2003-2006) and wrote a political column for the New York Daily News (2006-2007) [5] Between 2004 and 2006, Smith also started three of the leading New York City political blogs, the Politicker, the Daily Politics, and Room Eight.


Smith wrote for the news outlet Politico from 2008 to 2011, joining as that site expanded. Joining Politico from the New York Daily News in 2007, Smith covered the Democratic presidential primary for Politico in 2008. He covered controversies including Barack Obama's contacts with former Weatherman Bill Ayers[6] and conspiracy theories about Obama's citizenship[7] and Barack Obama religion conspiracy theories.[8] Smith reported erroneously during that 2008 campaign that John Edwards would be dropping out of the race[9] before the press conference at which Edwards announced that his wife Elizabeth had cancer. Smith later posted an apology[10] and retracted the story. In 2010, he reported on a confidential Republican National Committee fundraising presentation counseling the party to capitalize on fear.[11]


In December 2011, he was named editor-in-chief of Buzzfeed News.[1] Smith explained that he would be leaving his Politico blog but he would still write for the publication weekly.[12]

In January 2017, Smith, as Buzzfeed's editor, published the Steele dossier, a 35-page dossier about Donald Trump, which major news organizations, including the New York Times and NBC News, refused to publish due to lack of credible evidence. Smith defended his decision by saying, "We have always erred on the side of publishing."[13]


Since working at BuzzFeed, Smith has focused on strengthening the organization's investigative journalism unit.[14][15] In 2012, Fast Company placed Smith on its "100 Most Creative" list.[16] He and Buzzfeed co-founder Jonah Peretti were listed as two of the most powerful people in the media by The Hollywood Reporter.[14] In 2017, he and fellow Jewish journalist Andrea Mitchell were awarded The Jewish Daily Forward's Distinguished Journalism Award.[17]

Smith interviewed Obama in early 2015 for Buzzfeed's first presidential interview.[18]

Personal life

Smith married Latvian publisher Liena Zagare in 2002.[19][20] He and Zagare have three children and live in Brooklyn.[14]

See also


  1. ^ a b Stelter, Brian (12 December 2011). BuzzFeed Adds Politico Writer, The New York Times
  2. ^ "The Axe Files - Ep. 136: Ben Smith Released" (PDF). University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN. April 6, 2017. I grew up in a household where my parents disagreed on pretty much everything and it makes it hard for you to be a real ideologue or to sort of -- you know, or to see the opposing side. To see these two sides is irreconcilable enemies. She's a Democrat and he's also fairly Christian. She's Jewish.
  3. ^ (6 January 2011). Yalies start 2012 campaign for Mitch Daniels Archived March 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Yale Daily News (notes Smith's Yale graduation year as 1999)
  4. ^ Rothstein, Betsy. (11 November 2011). FishbowlDC Interview with Politico's Ben Smith, FishbowlDC
  5. ^ (3 January 2007). Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, The New York Sun (reporting that Smith was leaving the Sun to join Politico)
  6. ^ Smith, Ben (February 22, 2008). "Obama once visited '60s radicals". Politico. Retrieved 2011.
  7. ^ Smith, Ben (March 1, 2009). "Culture of conspiracy: the Birthers". Politico. Retrieved 2011.
  8. ^ Smith, Ben; Jonathan Martin (October 13, 2007). "Untraceable e-mails spread Obama rumor". Politico. Retrieved 2011.
  9. ^ Montopoli, Brian (March 22, 2007). "Don't Believe The Hype: John Edwards Doesn't Suspend Campaign". CBS News. Archived from the original on 6 February 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  10. ^ Smith, Ben (March 22, 2007). "Getting It Wrong". Politico. Retrieved 2011.
  11. ^ Smith, Ben (March 3, 2010). "Exclusive: RNC document mocks donors, plays on 'fear'". Politico. Archived from the original on 4 March 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  12. ^ Smith, Ben (December 12, 2011). "Home News". Politico. Retrieved 2011.
  13. ^ BuzzFeed Defends Publishing Unverified Allegations About Donald Trump's Russia Ties, The Huffington Post.
  14. ^ a b c "Jonah Peretti and Ben Smith". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved .
  15. ^ "» Mark Schoofs leaves ProPublica to head BuzzFeed:s investigative unit JIMROMENESKO.COM". Archived from the original on 2016-03-13. Retrieved .
  16. ^ "29. Ben Smith". Fast Company. Retrieved .
  17. ^ "The Forward honors Jewish journalists on its 120th anniversary - BuzzFeed editor-in-Chief Ben Smith, longtime television correspondent Andrea Mitchell given this year's Distinguished Journalism Award". Times of Israel. November 16, 2017.
  18. ^ "BuzzFeed's Ben Smith to interview Obama". Politico. Retrieved .
  19. ^ (October 6, 2002). WEDDINGS/CELEBRATIONS; Liena Zagare, Benjamin Smith, The New York Times
  20. ^ Bazilian, Emma (April 29, 2011). Patch Hires Brooklyn Blogger Liena Zagare, Adweek

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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