Semafor hires Wall Street Journal’s Liz Hoffman as business and finance editor

Semafor, the global news startup co-founded by media veterans Justin Smith and Ben Smith, has hired Liz Hoffman as its business and finance editor.

Why it matters: Hoffman becomes Semafor’s first star reporter hire. She is known for breaking some of the biggest business and deal stories at the Wall Street Journal for the past nine years.

  • “Liz is the blueprint for the kind of exceptional journalist we are building Semafor around: a proven, innovative talent who breaks big stories and explains what they mean and covers one of the world’s most important beats at the highest level,” Ben Smith told Axios.

Details: Hoffman will write for Semafor’s website and her work will appear in newsletters.

  • In addition to her role as editor, she will serve as the company’s lead business and finance writer, based in New York.
  • “After nine years of learning from the best at the WSJ, I’m ready to help Ben, Justin and the team build a new global news organization doing what I love most — tough reporting on huge stories,” Hoffman said in a statement.
  • Hoffman has developed a reputation for breaking stories about some of corporate America’s biggest mergers and acquisitions, including Dell’s acquisition of EMC and Morgan Stanley’s acquisition of E*Trade.
  • She is the author of a forthcoming book titled “Crash Landing: The Inside Story of How the World’s Biggest Companies Survived an Economy on the Brink.”

The big picture: Semafor has hired roughly a dozen people since the new venture was announced in January.

  • Hoffman is the second major editorial hire for the company, following Gina Chua from Reuters, who will serve as the company’s executive editor.
  • The company is currently raising roughly $30 million from individuals and family offices with the aim of launching officially this fall.

Go deeper: Inside the Smiths’ hunt for cash

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