BuzzFeed Signs Facebook Vet as PR Chief

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This week, Capital New York broke the news that BuzzFeed had named Facebook vet Liz Wasden as its new head of PR. She replaces Ashley McCollum, who was promoted in October to the position of chief of staff/personal advisor to founder and publisher Jonah Peretti.

Wasden brings more than 15 years of comms experience to the new role. She formerly worked within the CBS organization and served as communications director for Katie Couric, promoting both CBS News and Couric’s syndicated talk show Katie (which she helped launch along with executive producer/current CNN president Jeff Zucker). Prior to joining CBS, she held PR roles at such prominent media outlets as Forbes, Good Housekeeping and Money; the Savannah, Georgia native also spent time at Porter Novelli.

As our sister site AllFacebook reported, Wasden joined Zuckerberg’s team in early 2013, working on consumer communications for both Facebook and the still-new Instagram.

At BuzzFeed, much of Wasden’s work will be internal as manages a “five and growing” team of PR pros representing all major divisions of the company and works directly with the heads of these divisions on general communications strategies. In the short-term, however, her primary responsibility will be “growing and clarifying BuzzFeed News’ brand” as the property moves ever further beyond the GIFsticles that made it famous with an increasing focus on long-form journalism and breaking “inside the media” news like like last month’s Uber bombshell.

Wasden will report directly to McCollum, who writes:

“The changing media landscape and the rise of new digital incumbents are among the most interesting stories to explore and tell today — and possibly one of the least understood in the press. Liz’s smarts, deep media relationships, and experience in both media and technology make her a perfect fit to help make BuzzFeed’s story crystal clear.”
The org’s listing for the job noted that the ideal candidate would “live and breathe social but…have a deep understanding of how traditional media operates,” and we think that line serves as a perfect description of the modern PR professional.