New venture led by ex-NYT columnist Ben Smith names top editor

The former CEO of Bloomberg News and a former New York Times media columnist have tapped a top editor at Reuters to lead the editorial efforts of a new journalism venture they announced the creation of earlier this year.

Reuters executive editor Gina Chua, who is in charge of the wire service’s editorial operations, was on Tuesday named by ex-Times columnist Ben Smith as the executive editor of a new media startup he has created with former Bloomberg News CEO Justin Smith. 

Ben Smith will serve as editor-in-chief of the new outlet, which has not yet been named, and Chua will report to him, The New York Times reported

When they announced their venture in January, Ben Smith and Justin Smith, who are not related, said, “There are 200 million people who are college educated, who read in English, but who no one is really treating like an audience, but who talk to each other and talk to us.”

Chua told the Times the two men began recruiting her soon after their announcement.

“I’ve been certainly thinking about the issues that they want to solve,” she said. “This notion of an overburdened and undeserved audience and the importance of trying to find ways to get information to people, information they need, in a timely and not overwhelming manner.”

Ben Smith called Chua “an operational wizard at the highest level who has spent her career obsessed with fixing the way stories are told to consumers in the United States and across Asia” in comments to the Times.

Ben Smith and Justin Smith are currently still raising capital for their journalistic enterprise. Axios reported they were looking for between $20 million and $30 million from investors for launch. 

Two other top hires have been announced by the longtime news executives in recent weeks: Caitlin Roman, who will serve as head of product, and Steve Clemons, formerly an editor-at-large for The Hill, who will head up the new company’s live journalism efforts. 

Tags Axios Ben Smith Bloomberg News Gina Chua Journalism Justin Smith Mass media in the United States Reuters The New York Times

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