BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti announced late Tuesday that the New York-based media company is restructuring, separating itself into an entertainment unit and a news operation. But BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith says that the change is not about putting news on the back burner.
In fact, he says, it’s just the opposite.
Smith admits that one reason for the move is the need to create more video because that’s where most of the money is in the media industry, and particularly at BuzzFeed—which, like several other media outlets, is being paid by Facebook to create live video.
But Smith tells Fortune that this growth won’t come at the expense of the company’s ongoing investment in news.
“Jonah has always had a pretty deep personal commitment to news, which I think you can see by what he says about it in his memo,” Smith says. “This is really more of a restructuring than a downsizing or de-emphasizing of news or anything like that.”
CNN reported in May that some unnamed employees were concerned about the company’s growing focus on video, afraid that this might translate into less investment in traditional news. Those concerns were fueled in part by a report earlier this year that BuzzFeed missed its revenue projections for 2015.
Some of the fear is also likely being driven by what happened earlier this year to Mashable, which laid off most of its news team in order to focus on video. And BuzzFeed no doubt feels the pressure of expectations from NBCUniversal, which put $200 million into the company last year, giving it a theoretical market value of $1.5 billion.
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In his memo to staff, Peretti said the company was still committed to investing in BuzzFeed News, which he said will continue to “encompass the work that is rooted in reporting and journalistic independence—on topics both serious and fun—and focused in the long term on building the trust of our audience.”
One of the main purposes of the restructuring, Peretti explained, was to try and move video expertise into all areas of the organization, because “having a single video department in 2016 makes about as much sense as having a mobile department.” As part of the changes, the news side of the business will now have its own dedicated video team.
The announcement sparked some speculation that BuzzFeed might be looking to spin off or sell its news arm in order to focus on entertainment. A CNN report compared the restructuring to moves by News Corp. (nws) and Tribune Corp. that saw those companies spin off their money-losing news units.
Smith, however, told Poynter the company isn’t looking to spin off or sell its news operation. And he tells Fortune that BuzzFeed is still investing in the unit, hiring new reporters and editors, and looking to expand its foreign presence.
The restructuring is mostly about becoming more efficient when it comes to making effective use of video, Smith explains. Under the previous structure, news teams working on a big story would have to co-ordinate with a video team run by Ze Frank, the head of BuzzFeed’s video arm.
That worked fine, Smith says, but now the news side will have its own video teams that report to him, which will make it easier to create video that works well with the editorial unit’s big news stories and features.
BuzzFeed has no idea what will work and what will fail:
“We’ve always seen text as just one way of telling a story. For some things it works well, but there are other ways of telling stories,” Smith says. “If you look at this election cycle in particular, there’s been a lot of video and even audio has played a big role. For us, it doesn’t really matter what format the news comes in, we just want to tell stories in the best way possible.”
The non-news side of the company, meanwhile, will be part of a separate unit called the BuzzFeed Entertainment Group that will be run by Frank. In addition to creating video—including the sponsored content that BuzzFeed gets paid a lot of money to create—the group will also be in charge of developing other forms of entertainment content as well, such as listicles and quizzes.
Far from splitting the two parts up, Peretti has said that he sees BuzzFeed as building a company that can do both news and entertainment. In his memo, the BuzzFeed CEO said he believes the company has “an opportunity to be the leading entertainment company for the mobile, social age. And we are in a position to build the #1 global news brand for a new generation who consume news differently.”
The full text of Peretti’s memo appears below: