Gizmodo Media Group today announced Damon Young and Panama Jackson, the founders of VerySmartBrothas.com (VSB), will join The Root, America’s premier news site for African-Americans, as senior editors, with VSB becoming a vertical of TheRoot.com. In addition to writing for the site, Young and Jackson will work on new multimedia projects and events. Young and Jackson will report to Danielle Belton, Managing Editor of The Root.
“The well regarded work of Damon Young and Panama Jackson revolves around journalism that’s consistently sharp, irreverent, topical, relevant, witty, pithy, satirical, feminist, and Black,” said Raju Narisetti, CEO, Gizmodo Media Group. “It is a natural and perfect fit for The Root, which is seeing steady audience growth with a 120% increase in monthly uniques since December.”
“Damon and Panama are acutely attuned to the pulse of black America,” said Belton. “They often put into words what our hearts definitely feel. Damon and Panama understand what is at stake in the black community in this present climate, and know how to tap into our politics and culture viscerally with humor, intelligence and wit.”
With 8.2 million monthly uniques in June, The Root saw its highest traffic month since it was acquired by Fusion Media Group in 2015. The Root moved onto Gizmodo Media Group’s Kinja platform in January and is part of a network that includes Gizmodo, Deadspin, Jezebel, Kotaku, Jalopnik, Lifehacker and Fusion. These sites as well as The Onion, The A.V. Club and Clickhole, are part of the Fusion Media Group (FMG), which serves nearly 90 million superfans each month.
Damon Young has served as the editor-in-chief of VSB since 2014. Young is a columnist for GQ, a role he will continue, and is currently working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins) in 2018. Along with his work for VSB, Panama Jackson has worked with other outlets such as NBC, WEtv, and TVOne.
Since its launch as a blog in 2008, VSB has cultivated a sizable community with its distinct coverage of American pop and political culture—from racism, police brutality, and rape culture to gentrification, Beyonce, child rearing, and food. VSB’s audience is young, college-educated and Black, with Adults 18-34 making up over 56% of the site’s growing audience in May. The uniqueness, clarity, and power of VSB’s voice is what led The Washington Post to note: “Very Smart Brothas is the blackest thing that ever happened to the Internet. Period.”
The Root is the premier news, opinion and analysis destination for African-American influencers. The Root provides smart, timely coverage of breaking news, thought-provoking commentary and gives voice to a changing, more diverse America. The Root was founded by Donald Graham and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. in 2008. Follow The Root on Twitter @TheRoot and on Facebook.