Adam Serwer will become BuzzFeed’s new national editor. Serwer is currently a reporter at MSNBC and worked for Mother Jones before that.
Serwer will lead a small desk of “people whose beats kind of fall outside of the other things we have,” BuzzFeed Deputy Editor-in-Chief Shani Hilton said in a phone call. Serwer’s mandate is to do “stories that matter to our country,” Hilton said.
He’ll kick off his job working with Katie J.M. Baker and Jessica Testa, covering sexual assaults on campuses. Serwer’s beats will expand to include social justice, climate change “and criminal justice will be a part of it, too,” Hilton said.
Serwer’s desk will have dedicated reporters — Hilton didn’t know how many yet — and staffers in other verticals, particularly BuzzFeed’s breaking news operation, will work through him to do stories like Mike Hayes’ “The Life and Last Days of Jordan Davis.”
Hilton said she expects Serwer to make the transition from reporter to editor well — he’s “that kind of annoying editor that makes your piece better,” she said of sharing stories with him as a friend. BuzzFeed approached Serwer; Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith “said we should consider people who want to make the move from reporting into editing because often they’ve done the kind of stories we want,” Hilton said.
She said that for many reporters, “it can be a scary leap from having a byline out there everyday to being behind the scenes,” but that the more they talked with Serwer, “the more excited he got about being with all these young reporters.”
Hilton said the job’s concept changed a few times, but after an internal conversation about “what the stories are in this country that are most compelling,” they settled on stories about race, civil rights and justice. “Adam immediately came to mind.”
Serwer will work from Washington, D.C., after a month or so at BuzzFeed HQ in New York. Hilton will be his boss; she will oversee hard news in the company’s recently announced news division, she said.