CNN has poached all four members of BuzzFeed’s political investigative unit, the K-File. The K-File is led by Andrew Kaczynski and includes him, deputy politics editor Kyle Blaine, and reporters Christopher Massie and Nate McDermott.
The news was first reported by the Huffington Post.
The news comes as BuzzFeed is publicly maintaining its commitment to original journalism. BuzzFeed divided itself into two groups, one focused on news and one focused on entertainment, and CEO Jonah Peretti had to assure staffers that there were no plans to spin-off the news division.
The four officially left BuzzFeed on Monday and will start at CNN on Tuesday.
Kaczynski told the Huffington Post that the deal had been in the works since the summer and he jumped because of what “CNN brought to the table.”
“To be at the biggest name in news for the last month of what has been the craziest election in modern history is just a great opportunity for me and everybody on our team,” he said.
“There are 40 days before one of the most pivotal elections in modern times,” Andrew Morse, executive vice president of editorial for CNN, said.
“CNN, as we have been this entire cycle, is trying to do everything we can to provide our viewers and our users with the very best reporting that we can. When you’re in a pennant race, you try to bring on the best talent you can to make sure your team is as strong as it can be.”
Morse’s use of a pennant race may be fitting because of the rivalry between BuzzFeed and CNN. CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker said BuzzFeed was not a “legitimate” news organization while BuzzFeed News editor-in-chief Ben Smith said that Zucker and CNN helped fuel the rise of Donald Trump.
However, Morse was quick to say that the swiping was not done to weaken BuzzFeed. “We’re worried about ourselves,” Morse said. “We’re not worried about BuzzFeed.”
“I guess this means that CNN has seen the value in doing the kind of tough reporting on Donald Trump that BuzzFeed News has been doing all presidential cycle and we wish Andrew good luck,” Smith said in a statement.
Once the 2016 election concludes, Kaczynski says the team will turn its attention to the gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey, along with the New York City mayoral race.