New York Times music reporter Jeff Leeds, who had reported on stories such as Apple's behind-the-scenes fight with Universal last year, was given the newspaper's version of a layoff — a "buyout" — earlier this year. Leeds is now editor-in-chief of Buzznet, the music community site that also bought Idolator from Valleywag publisher Gawker Media. What we'll find out in the next few weeks: Can Leeds get the same kind of well-placed sources to talk to him now that he doesn't have the Times backing him up? Here's the full press release:
BUZZNET HIRES FORMER NEW YORK TIMES JOURNALIST AS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF; APPOINTS NEW SENIOR EDITOR FROM ALTERNATIVE PRESS MAGAZINE Top Newspaper Music Reporter Jeff Leeds to Expand and Oversee Editorial Content for Leading Online Music Community HOLLYWOOD, CA – October 1, 2008 Buzznet (www.buzznet.com), the Web's leading social media community for music, announced today that it is expanding its music editorial team with the hiring of Jeff Leeds, former New York Times music reporter, as its new Editor-in-Chief. In addition, former Alternative Press magazine Managing Editor Leslie Simon has joined the company as Senior Editor. In this newly created position, Leeds will spearhead an expansion of editorial offerings on Buzznet.com that will combine the best original news, commentary, photos and other contributions from staff writers and the site’s millions of community members with additional programming, including exclusive MP3 releases, videos and in-studio performances. Leeds will direct editorial strategy at Buzznet.com, and manage editors at the company’s partner sites, Stereogum, Absolute Punk, Idolator, Vampire Freaks, FOE and The Gauntlet. Leeds will report to General Manager Scott Boyd. Simon, managing editor and star writer for leading pop-punk/emo magazine Alternative Press and co-author of Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture, will work directly with Leeds to oversee and edit the day-to-day editorial for Buzznet.com as well as manage the site’s staff of in-house and freelance writers, photographers and videographers. “We looked at many candidates for the editor-in-chief position and Jeff’s wealth of music and journalism experience, and knowledge of social programming and the fast-changing media landscape made him by far the best fit,” said Boyd. “Leslie’s passion and expertise in emo music and culture, coupled with her strong writing and management skills are a perfect match for Buzznet.com. Both are joining us at a very important and exciting time, as we gear up to expand our editorial coverage and unveil new content features that are sure to resonate with our music community, as well as anyone with an interest in music.” “Buzznet is ahead of the game in grasping the transformative role of social media,” said Leeds. “It’s hard not to be thrilled by the possibilities that arise when you blend the best practices of traditional reporting and criticism with the profound passion and genuine talent of Buzznet’s army of fans. I am looking forward to working with the entrepreneurs and sterling writers at all of Buzznet’s properties.” Leeds brings more than 12 years of journalism experience to his role at Buzznet. At The New York Times he covered the business and culture of music, chronicling the radical shifts of the industry as well as the events shaping the careers of stars from Britney Spears to Guns N’ Roses. Leeds also spent time exploring journalism’s evolution into a digital enterprise and regularly produced segments for the Times’ weekly music podcast. In 2007, he shared in a Times award for a Web video/blog package tied to the SXSW music festival, which he co-produced. He has also appeared as a commentator on KCRW, WNYC and other outlets. Prior to joining the Times in 2004, Leeds spent nine years at the Los Angeles Times, where he covered the music business, in addition to politics, aerospace, white-collar crime and other beats. Simon began at Alternative Press magazine in 2001 and quickly rose through ranks culminating as managing editor. She is also the co-author of Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide To Emo Culture, which was released in 2007 through Harper Collins, and is eagerly anticipating the release of her follow-up, Wish You Were Here: An Essential Guide To Your Favorite Music Scenes—From Punk To Indie To Everything In Between, this April also through HarperCollins. In addition to making appearances on Fuse and MTV, her work has appeared in Stuff, E! Online, Kerrang! and Teen People. About Buzznet.com Buzznet Inc. is a media company focused on building the most active and engaged online communities around pop culture topics. Utilizing its sophisticated social media platform, Buzznet’s editorial team empowers millions of people with the tools to create, contribute, program, and share content around topics they are most passionate about. Buzznet’s music community is among the largest on the Web. Users program around millions of photos, videos and blog posts every day. Its communities power the most robust, diverse and all-encompassing music experience online and include Buzznet.com, Stereogum, Absolute Punk, Idolator, Vampire Freaks, FOE and The Gauntlet.