BuzzFeed Goes Hollywood, Hires Richard Rushfield, Kate Aurthur

Michael Hastings will serve as correspondent-at-large for BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed is going Hollywood.

Sensing an opportunity amidst a crowded group of Hollywood trade publications, the social news site is opening a Los Angeles bureau and has tapped two veteran entertainment journalists to help run their West Coast operations.

Richard Rushfield, a former entertainment editor for the Los Angeles Times and West Coast editor for Gawker, will be the bureau chief. Kate Aurthur, the former West Coast editor for Newsweek/Daily Beast, will serve as chief Los Angeles correspondent. Aurthur will return to writing after a few years spent editing.

Also helping BuzzFeed compete for scoops will be Michael Hastings, who will act as correspondent-at-large. 

“It’s the right year to do this and there’s an audience primed and ready for first rate entertainment content built for the social web,” Ben Smith, BuzzFeed’s editor-in-chief, said in a statement.

The announcement comes at a time of transition for the entertainment press. Variety, long considered the "industry bible," was purchased this month by Penske Media after losing readers and profits to online players such as TheWrap and the Penske-owned Deadline. That could signal opportunity for BuzzFeed, which has primarily focused on political news since launching in 2006.

Rushfield will begin Oct. 29, Aurthur will begin Nov. 5 and Hastings will start his contributions in 2013 following the presidential election.