Danielle Belton Named Managing Editor of The Root

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The Root, which calls itself “the premier news, opinion and culture site for African-American influencers,” ranked second in monthly unique visitors for 2015 on a list of African American-oriented websites submitted by Journal-isms in January to the comScore, Inc. research organization.

“From pop culture to politics, Danielle has brought a fresh, insightful perspective to The Root’s daily news coverage,” Donna Byrd, vice president and publisher of The Root, said in a news release. “She has an ability to connect with our community on the issues that matter in an authentic, unapologetic voice.”

At 38, Belton will be the youngest person to have held The Root‘s managing editor’s job.

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The Root was founded in 2008 by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Donald Graham. Chairman and CEO of the Washington Post Co. Univision acquired The Root from Graham Holdings Co. in May 2015. Still, Gates, a professor, and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, remains chairman.

The release continued, “Before joining The Root, Danielle served as the founder and editor of the award-winning pop culture-meets-politics blog The Black Snob. Under her leadership, BlackSnob.com grew to over two million readers in less than two years. Danielle has written for The Daily Beast, Essence Magazine, The Guardian, The American Prospect, The Grio, Jezebel, NPR, and The Huffington Post, among many others.

“Her work has garnered praise from across the media spectrum — ‘A rare voice in punditry. She’s a black feminist, but never strident or professional victim; she’s personal, but not self-indulgent; she’s educated, but not a snob… She’s smart, funny, and often delivers the last word in a world full of people trying to define issues,’ said film and TV producer Reginald Hudlin.

Cintra Wilson, author [of] ‘Colors Insulting to Nature,’ called Belton ‘a cultural Rosetta Stone for a racially bewildering country.’ ”

Belton, a St. Louis native, plans to move from Washington to New York. “In 2011 and 2012, Danielle worked on developing a late-night news show for BET Network (‘Don’t Sleep’) featuring a former CNN anchor and current ABC News correspondent T.J. Holmes. She later served as head writer for the show, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in 2013. Danielle’s television experience will be a valuable asset as The Root expands its video efforts in the months ahead. . . .”

“Pitts joined The Root as interim managing editor in 2013 before taking on the post-full-time. Pitts is a television news veteran who has held executive and senior production roles at both NBC News and CBS News, where she spent 23 years,” the statement said. According to the release Frett Board, the wife of ABC correspondent Byron Pitts and a grandmother, Pitts is planning to retire from her full-time position.


On Facebook, Pitts posted this message: “It’s a bittersweet day. Nearly 3 years ago, I was offered the opportunity to step far out of my comfort zone and move into the digital space as Managing Editor of The Root. It was terrifying, all-consuming, empowering, and incredibly affirming. I learned that, at any age, it’s possible to take on extraordinary challenges, learn things you never knew, push yourself beyond your limits and soar.

“I am grateful to all of my Root colleagues, past and present, who were patient, supportive, responsive, and the most talented group of people I’ve ever encountered. We built, we grew, and we moved to the top of the black media space. Today is my last day. It’s time for a break. It is time to do a bit less than 24/7, enjoy my adorable grandbabies, read, travel, exercise, pick and choose a few projects, and just live! I can’t wait.”

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