Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

NBC Grabs a High-Profile Blogger to Boost Its Local Site: Eater Co-Founder Ben Leventhal

leventhalIf you follow the New York blog and/or blog/foodie scene, this one’s for you. The rest of you folks can probably move on.

Okay? Okay. Ben Leventhal, co-founder of the influential Eater blog, is headed to GE’s (GE) NBC Universal, where he’ll oversee “lifestyle content” for NBC’s growing local Web unit. More details here from Leventhal himself.

Eater is noteworthy because it’s a great read if you’re the kind of person who’s interested in an exit interview with former New York Times food critic Frank Bruni, conducted over a meal at Mario Batali’s Babbo. And also because it’s part of a larger network of blogs that Leventhal helped build up along with Lockhart Steele, one of the early architects of Nick Denton’s Gawker Media empire.

Steele says his sites, which encompass two other brands beyond Eater (real estate at Curbed, retail at Racked) and local sites in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, pull in a million uniques a month. Two years ago, he raised $1.5 million from a group of investors, including Denton, Spark Capital’s Mo Koyfman, real estate publisher Brad Inman and NetSuite (N) CEO Zach Nelson.

NBC, meanwhile, has been busily staffing up its network of local sites, which it overhauled earlier this year. The idea is to replace the lame extensions of its local stations’ lame newscasts with sites designed for people who actually use the Web–and to help the company break into the local Internet ad market that everyone wants a piece of but that no one has cracked yet.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik