Editor Janine Gibson jumps to BuzzFeed

Janine Gibson

Janine Gibson has landed at BuzzFeed, in a move that says a lot about both the editor and the web site.

Gibson will be the editor in chief of BuzzFeed UK, effective in August, the site announced Tuesday. BuzzFeed is coupling her hiring with what it called a plan to "invest particularly aggressively in BuzzFeed News' British operation."

Gibson, the former editor in chief of the Guardian newspaper's American web site, is a well-known and widely respected editor. She steered the Guardian's groundbreaking coverage of Edward Snowden's disclosures about NSA mass surveillance practices. The New York Times tried to poach her from the Guardian last year.

Gibson had been based in New York, but she moved back to London last year to run the Guardian's web site. She was said to be a leading candidate for the overall top editor job at the news organization. But she left the Guardian last month after another candidate, Katharine Viner, won the job instead.

Her interest in BuzzFeed, and BuzzFeed's interest in her, attests to the site's desire to be a dominant player in news as well as entertainment.

"Their ambition for their operation is so compelling and ambitious, and crucially so realistic, that wanting to be a part of it is just irresistible," Gibson told CNNMoney.

Why a role in Britain instead of the United States? Gibson said she decided not to pursue jobs in the U.S. for family reasons.

Luke Lewis, who has been running BuzzFeed UK, will now report to Gibson. The British newsroom already has "more than 40 editorial staffers," Lewis said in an internal memo provided by BuzzFeed, and it will soon have more.

"Janine's hire and this new wave of investment will enable us to compete on a level with the very top tier of British publishers," he wrote.

BuzzFeed has been burnishing its news credentials and launching international editions even though the biggest draws of its web site are features and entertainment.

Later this week it will introduce a new BuzzFeed News app.

BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti told USA Today earlier this week, "News is the heart and soul of any great media company. News might not be as big a business as entertainment, but news is the best way to have a big impact on the world. News is also becoming a surprisingly good business."

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