Two big names in media are leaving their well-established homes for a new venture that includes podcasting as part of its plan. Justin Smith, who has been chief executive of Bloomberg Media Group including Bloomberg Radio, and New York Times media columnist Ben Smith are launching a still-unnamed journalistic venture. Few details are being released about their plans other than it will include podcasts, digital publishing, email newsletters, and digital video.
“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. That’s who we see as our audience,” Ben Smith told the New York Times. He joined the paper in 2020 after leading the newsroom at BuzzFeed.
Justin Smith has led Bloomberg Media Group for the past eight years, a portfolio that includes not only Bloomberg Radio but also Blomberg Television and Bloomberg’s Businessweek magazine. “I’ve decided to pursue a personal dream, and a market opportunity, to launch a new kind of global news media company that serves unbiased journalism to a truly global audience,” he wrote in a post on Twitter.
Justin Smith, 52, will lead the business side of the new joint venture operating under the working title of “Project Coda,” while Ben Smith, 45, will oversee its content. The two men – who are not related – said they started to discuss forming a new venture last fall.
The exit of Justin Smith has led to the appointment of a new head of Bloomberg Media Group. The company has named Scott Havens, its Chief Growth Officer and Global Head of Strategic Partnerships, as the division’s new CEO. Justin Smith will reportedly continue to serve as an advisor to Bloomberg during the transition.
“Justin helped transform Bloomberg Media into a modern, digital, media industry leader,” Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg said in a statement. “Across his tenure, Justin and his team delivered exceptional results powered by product innovations, with 2021 representing the high-water mark in terms of Bloomberg Media’s historical performance.”