Buzzfeed reporter Michael Hastings has tragically passed away at the age of 33 after a car accident in Los Angeles. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Hastings was an Award-Winning Reporter
Hastings was one of the most profound writers, and has won many awards for his work. His most notable work was a profile on Gen. Stanley McChrystal, which garnered him the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting. He also wrote for Newsweek, where he covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and GQ as well. He also wrote a book about his fiancee who passed away, titled I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story.
2. His Rolling Stone Article Got General Stanley McChrystal Fired
He wrote a shocking article for Rolling Stone magazine, where General Stanley McChrystal, then commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in the War in Afghanistan. The article quoted McChyrstal’s staff who were harshly critical and insubordinate of the Obama administration, White House staffers, and civilian officials. The article got McChrystal fired from his post.
3. He Wrote a New York Times Best-Seller
Hastings parlayed the Rolling Stone article into another book, The Operators. Wikipedia says “In January 2012, Hastings published the book, The Operators, which gives the most detailed public account of his travels with General Stanley McChrystal and his team. It included extensive quotes, taken from over 20 hours of audio recordings of McChrystal and his inner circle.” The book became a New York Times bestseller.
4. Hastings Went To Buzzfeed to Cover Obama
According to the Huffington Post, Buzzfeed’s editor-in-chief Ben Smith hired Hastings to cover the 2012 Presidential election and follow President Obama on his campaign trail. The Huffington Post wrote:
“I think there are a lot of things conspiring to make what should be a fantastic story a really boring story,” says BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, Smith said a presidential re-election campaign can be a “grinding, soulless machine” that often isn’t enjoyable to work for or cover. And this cycle, he said, the Obama campaign “wants it to be boring,” leaving the national media to focus intensely on an increasingly bitter Republican primary. But Smith hopes that journalist Michael Hastings, who BuzzFeed hired Monday to cover the Obama campaign, will help spice things up. Hastings, who’ll remain a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, starts at BuzzFeed in early April.
5. Here’s Buzzfeed’s Statement
BuzzFeed is saddened to report that Michael Hastings died in a car accident early this morning in Los Angeles. He was 33.
Ben Smith, BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief, said in a statement:
We are shocked and devastated by the news that Michael Hastings is gone. Michael was a great, fearless journalist with an incredible instinct for the story, and a gift for finding ways to make his readers care about anything he covered from wars to politicians. He wrote stories that would otherwise have gone unwritten, and without him there are great stories that will go untold. Michael was also a wonderful, generous colleague, a joy to work with and a lover of corgis — especially his Bobby Sneakers. Our thoughts are with Elise and and the rest of his family and we are going to miss him.