ABC News Digital Promotes Colby Smith to VP

By Brian Flood 

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ColbySmithColby Smith has been promoted to Vice President of ABC News Digital, while Joe Ruffolo is departing for new opportunities.

ABC News president James Goldston sent a memo to staffers announcing the moves and calling Smith, “a truly modern thinker whose career has given him important insight into both the business and editorial sides of news.”

Smith, who previously held the title of director of business development, has an economics degree from Stanford and an MBA from UCLA. His media career began at KPSP in Palm Desert, California before joining ANC News in 2011.

Ruffolo is leaving ABC News, but staying in the family. He’s heading to Burbank to support the Disney ABC Television Group senior team.

Check out the full memo from Goldston, after the jump… 


I’m delighted to announce that Colby Smith has been promoted to Vice President, ABC News Digital, as Joe Ruffolo departs for new opportunities in Burbank.

Colby will lead our efforts to expand our reach to new digital platforms and audiences.  An accomplished journalist and strategist, he is a truly modern thinker whose career has given him important insight into both the business and editorial sides of news.

Colby will be responsible for identifying innovative ways to grow our content across, social channels, mobile and emerging platforms.  He’ll work alongside the outstanding team at Digital—including Ali Gazan, Doug Vance and John Shehata, as well as Subrata De, Xana O’Neill, Andrew Springer, and the sales team led by Catherine Sullivan and Pooja Midha—to help us invest in even greater video production and best-in-class products across every digital platform.

After graduating from Stanford with a degree in Economics, Colby began his career in media working for KPSP in Palm Desert, California.  He quickly worked his way up the ranks to senior executive producer, overseeing a staff of 50 and helping launch the station’s turnaround from worst to first in the ratings and developing its long-term digital strategy.  In 2009, Colby returned to school to earn his MBA from UCLA, before joining ABC News in 2011.

As Director of Business Development for ABC News Digital, Colby has played an instrumental role, managing relationships with some of our most important tech, sales, and editorial partners and playing a vital role in securing new distribution deals with Hulu+, Apple TV and a number of other platforms.  He believes passionately in the importance of our mission and the opportunities that lie ahead for ABC News.

Joe Ruffolo has been an integral member of the team and has proved to have a sharp instinct for the trends that will shape our industry for many years to come.  He’s leaving ABC News, but I’m happy to report that he’s not going far.  Joe will be taking an assignment in Burbank supporting the DATG senior team as they work through a number of strategic questions and planning for the next few months.

Joe’s contributions to ABC News have been invaluable.  He was a key player in the landmark deal with Yahoo! in 2011 that made us the #1 source for news and information online.  He was behind the launch of many products over the last few years, including reinventing our mobile apps for iPhone and Android, the re-launch of the ABC News iPad app, multi-stream coverage of the 2012 presidential election and our successful debut on Apple TV.  Thanks to Joe’s hard work on live, VOD and original digital video, we’re delivering more video content than ever before.  I’m enormously grateful to Joe for all he’s done to make us a true force and leader in digital.

Our mission as One ABC News is to showcase our world-class journalism to audiences everywhere they consume news and information.  We must continue to deliver the most engaging and empowering reporting to all screens and all consumers at all times.  I’m confident we are in incredibly capable hands with Colby and the brilliant team at Digital at the helm.

Please join me in congratulating Colby and wishing Joe well on his new journey.