On Leaving BuzzFeed, And What’s Next

I'm going independent starting in June

Throughout my life, I’ve left comfort, stability, and money on the table for a chance at the bigger opportunity. Eight years ago, I was an inside sales rep making cold calls for a middling ad-tech company. Without taking big risks, I might still be smiling and dialing.

So, I’ve decided to do it again. Last week, I gave BuzzFeed notice and will leave the company in June. I owe BuzzFeed everything. Ben Smith, Mat Honan, and John Paczkowski turned me into the reporter I always hoped I’d be. Five years after joining this newsroom, I’ve written a book on the tech giants, won a Mirror Award, and learned how to take massive swings. My colleagues are the most badass group of people on the planet. I’ll be forever grateful. 

Now, I’m running after the bigger opportunity once again. In writing my book, Always Day One, I learned how effective I can be when I follow my curiosity and dig deep into the reporting. The book’s early success has given me the ability to do more of this work, and fueled my desire to pursue it. So now, I’m jumping off the ledge once again. Here’s what you’ll see from me moving forward: 

  1. Deep, Bold Reporting The book writing process showed me what happens when you make 25, 50, or 100 calls on a story. You get results. Always Day One has plenty of scoops and new stories. More than that, some of my best work at BuzzFeed emerged during the book reporting process. I’m going to double down and will work on big, impactful stories as a contributor to various publications (stay tuned). I hope to still contribute to BuzzFeed News. If you’re a commissioning editor, or just want to talk, I’d love to speak with you too. My email is alex.kantrowitz@gmail.com

  1. Always Day One I’ve been blown away by the response to Always Day One. Doctors, teachers, lawyers, investors, government employees, and social workers have told me they’ve read it cover to cover — and found it valuable. This is great news, but authors releasing books mid-pandemic must push harder than ever to bring it to their audience. Penguin Portfolio believed in me, supported me throughout the process, and now it’s on me to do my part. I’m going to speak about the book with as many organizations as possible over the coming months (email above if you want to get in touch). I’m also thrilled to announce I’ve signed a two-year contract with The Lavin Agency for speaking representation.

  1. Big Technology Newsletter I am going to move my Tech Giant Update newsletter to Substack under a new name, Big Technology (if you’re already subscribed, your subscription should carry over). I will email regularly, sharing news on the tech giants and other material I find interesting. The model will be crowdfunded: $5/month to subscribe. But it’s free for the next few months. You can subscribe here:

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  1. A Podcast The best part of my days are spent speaking with interesting people. Now, I want you to be able to listen in. Next month, I am going to launch a podcast that will make these conversations available for free to everyone. I will start the podcast on my own, but will soon look to bring the show under a media company’s umbrella in exchange for a revenue share. If you want to be a guest, or talk about a partnership, send me an email and let’s talk.

A word about BuzzFeed News: Under its new editor in chief, Mark Schoofs, BuzzFeed News is going to do amazing things. I’m inspired by Schoofs’ vision for the publication and predict BuzzFeed News will win a Pulitzer within the next two years (hold me to it). I also have faith the company’s management and news union will successfully work out a deal that doesn’t necessitate layoffs. The future is bright for BuzzFeed News.

Sometimes in life, you get lucky enough to look over the edge, take a leap, and fly toward your dreams. These moves can be exhilarating and terrifying at once. But once you’re in the air, it’s pretty awesome.