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BuzzFeed News PR Vet Katie Rayford Exits to Join Slate

After five years on the public-relations team at BuzzFeed News, Katie Rayford is leaving to join Slate as the digital publisher’s first director of media relations.

Rayford starts at Slate on April 22, and she will be based in the company’s Brooklyn office. She reports to Slate president and chief revenue officer Charlie Kammerer.

Slate last month hired Jared Hohlt, veteran of New York magazine, as its new editor-in-chief. According to the company, the Slate.com audience is up over 20% year over year and it has over 150 million podcast downloads to date. Earlier this year Slate announced Supporting Cast, a membership program that lets podcasters and podcast networks offer subscription-only versions of their shows.

“With Katie we found a high-energy communications specialist that deeply understands journalism and storytelling and will be an ideal and important part of our leadership team as we grow our business,” Kammerer said in announcing her hire.

Rayford in a prepared statement added, “I am thrilled to be joining Slate, a company that produces quality journalism that recalibrates the way their readers think about the biggest news stories and cultural moments of the day.”

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In a note to BuzzFeed News staffers Monday about Rayford’s departure, senior director of communications Matt Mittenthal praised her work promoting the brand and helping launch new BuzzFeed shows. He also cited her skill dealing with news about recent BuzzFeed layoffs and a response from the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller disputing a BuzzFeed News report that Donald Trump instructed former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress.

“As we’ve been hit with lawsuits, unexplained curveballs from the special counsel’s office, ups and downs in the business, and impossibly bold decisions from our editors, Katie has been unflinching in her defense of BuzzFeed News, and in her commitment to continuing to promote your work and keep business running as usual,” Mittenthal wrote in the memo.

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