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Buzzfeed UK editor-in-chief Janine Gibson leaving news website after three years at helm

Buzzfeed UK editor-in-chief Janine Gibson has announced she is leaving the news website after more than three years in the top job.

Gibson will leave at the end of January, before which time a replacement is expected to be announced. Her next role has not yet been revealed.

The journalist’s departure comes a year after Buzzfeed UK saw an exodus of newsroom talent following 23 editorial redundancies.

In a message to staff this afternoon, Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith said: “Working with Janine has been one of the real privileges of my career.

“She’s part of a tiny number of people who understand and have deep experience in journalism at the very highest level — and match that with deep sophistication about how to navigate this moment of rapid change in media.

“Janine put that unmatched combination to work for Buzzfeed UK when she took over in 2015, leading the work of the great team we’d built to a new level while recruiting the stars of a new generation of British journalism.

“She arrived with her place in journalistic history already secure: She had edited the Snowden story for the Guardian. But she brought all the obsessiveness of a person with something to prove.

“She played a key role in global projects including our 2016 election broadcast in New York.

“The most genuinely stunning accomplishment on her watch  — the one about which our rivals are surprised and frustrated — is the degree to which Buzzfeed — Buzzfeed! — has emerged as a pivotal voice on the biggest British story of the century, Brexit, competing head to head, and with a far smaller team, with a group of rivals who have been around for decades or centuries.”

Under Gibson, Buzzfeed UK has won a number of awards, including Website of the Year at the Society of Editors Press Awards in 2018.

Reporters Richard Holmes was named New Journalist of the Year and Patrick Strudwick won the Specialist Journalism prize at Press Gazette’s British Journalism Awards 2018, held last month.

“All this success has been a tribute to Janine’s ability to read the landscape, to see the stories, and to lead,” Smith added.

“I’ve learned an enormous amount from her. We’ll miss her personally and as an organisation — but I’m also confident that she leaves our British news operation with extraordinary momentum at this wild time. “

Gibson joined Buzzfeed in August 2015, soon after leaving the Guardian following an unsuccessful application to replace Alan Rusbridger as editor-in-chief.

She was editor of Guardian US during the time of the Edward Snowden revelations two years ago and more recently was put in charge of the Guardian website.

Gibson started her career in journalism at Televisual, first as a staff writer and then rising to become deputy editor, before moving on to Broadcast magazine in July 1997. She went on to become media correspondent for The Independent before joining The Guardian in 1998.

Her Buzzfeed UK colleagues shared their thoughts on the news of her departure, which was broken by the website’s media reporter Mark Di Stefano.

Picture: Marco Kesseler/Buzzfeed

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