Justin Smith, who has served as CEO of Bloomberg Media for the past eight years, has stepped down from the company to form a start-up alongside New York Times columnist Ben Smith, who will lead the news organization.
The two Smiths will run a global news media company that promotes “unbiased journalism.” The unnamed company has the working title of “Project Coda,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
“The news industry is facing a crisis in consumer trust and confidence due to the distorting influence of social media and rising levels of polarization and parochialism,” Justin Smith said in an email obtained by the Wall Street Journal. “My plan is to launch a premium news business that serves unbiased journalism to a global audience and provides a high-quality platform for the best journalists in the world.”
Scott Havens, Bloomberg Media’s chief growth officer and global head of strategic partnerships, will become the new CEO. Justin Smith will stay on as an advisor in the next few months to see the transition through.
Prior to joining The New York Times as a media columnist in 2020, Ben Smith was the founding editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed. He said the target audience of the new start-up will be college-educated, English-language readers.
“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,” Ben Smith said in an interview with The New York Times. “That’s who we see as our audience.”