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Illustration for article titled Danielle Belton Promoted to Editor-in-Chief of The Root as Site Marks Record Audience Growth

Danielle Belton has been named Editor-in-Chief of The Root. Belton takes on this new role as the site hits record-highs in audience and engagement. In addition, Genetta Adams has been promoted to Managing Editor and Yesha Callahan to Deputy Managing Editor.


Gizmodo Media Group CEO Raju Narisetti and Editorial Director Susie Banikarim made the announcement to staff in an email this morning, see below:

We are utterly delighted to announce that Danielle Belton is being promoted to Editor-in-Chief of The Root.

Danielle has led The Root newsroom, as its Managing Editor, since May 2016. This past year, under her leadership, The Root has seen tremendous audience growth and engagement, reaching a record 12.1 million US unique readers on site in August, up from about 5 million a year ago. August also marked The Root’s sixth-straight month of growth in page views, up 56% from the previous month. The site has also seen enormous growth on social, with a record high 1.1 million Facebook followers. Under Danielle, The Root is consistently delivering breaking news, engaging features and provocative opinion and analysis to its audiences. Danielle has also deftly overseen the site’s editorial move into the Kinja platform, as well as the recent integration of VerySmartBrothas team into The Root family.

Before joining The Root as an associate editor in 2015, Danielle worked in a variety of positions — from senior digital media strategist for the civil rights non-profit, Advancement Project, to head writer for a late-night talk show on BET, “Don’t Sleep hosted by T. J. Holmes,” to a beat reporter for five years in Bakersfield, Calif. In 2007, Danielle started the blog that would change her professional life, the award-winning political and pop culture blog The Black Snob, which lead to almost every writing assignment and appearance she’s had since, including the New York Times, Time, CNN, and NPR. An advocate for mental health, Danielle has been featured in Essence and BP magazines, as well as on MSNBC, talking about her battle with bipolar disorder, and she recently started a column on The Root, about socializing while suffering from social anxiety: Antisocial.

Danielle is an impressive talent and we’re lucky to have her. She will report to Susie.

With Danielle’s elevation, there are also a couple of well-deserved promotions in The Root newsroom.

Genetta Adams, who has been with The Root since 2011, will become managing editor. A fastidious editor, Genetta is responsible for many of The Root’s special projects and story series, including The Root 100, the annual listing of the 100 most influential African Americans. (This year’s list will be out today.) Recently, Genetta has managed story series on spread of legal marijuana, The Root’s annual Young Futurists list, ranking the top young African Americans to watch, and, just this past August, the Color of Climate, a series on climate-change based gentrification. In her new role, Genetta will manage special projects and series, while continuing to assist in managing The Root’s political and social justice coverage.

Yesha Callahan will become deputy managing editor, overseeing daily news coverage, breaking news and entertainment. Yesha has been with The Root since 2014, serving as senior editor and lead writer of the popular Grapevine blog, and also managing the site’s entertainment coverage. Often generating four million page views a month on her own, Yesha is responsible for writing many of the site’s most impactful stories. Her recent coverage of the violence out of Charlottesville, where she interviewed DeAndre Harris and Cory Long who were each attacked by white supremacists, is a great example of this standout work.

Please join us in congratulating Danielle, Genetta and Yesha, on their very well earned new roles, and the entire The Root team, for what has been a tremendous 2017 so far.

Raju and Susie

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 Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Donald Graham in 2008.

CNN’s An Phung talked to Danielle about her expanded role:

I asked Belton what it means to her that new readers are flocking to her site for information, especially given the political climate and national conversations about race, racism and inequality. “This is a really interesting time where silence can’t really be afforded, and I feel fortunate that The Root is here as an outlet, a sounding board, a community for folks to really dig into the issues that affect us as African Americans without holding back, without filter and without fear,” Belton told me via email. “I’m proud that as we’ve embraced ourselves, our talents, our voices and our culture, we’re being embraced back by our readers. It feels really good.”

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