Her appointment comes after BuzzFeed earlier this month laid off 70 HuffPost employees — eliminating nearly 30% of the site’s U.S. newsroom positions — and took other cost-cutting moves following the acquisition of HuffPost from Verizon Media. Former HuffPost editor in chief Lydia Polgreen left last year to join Spotify’s Gimlet podcast studio.
HuffPost lost $20 million last year and would have seen losses in a similar range in 2021 if BuzzFeed hadn’t undertaken the mass layoff and other restructuring, BuzzFeed founder/CEO Jonah Peretti wrote in a memo to staffers about the cuts.
Belton is scheduled to start at HuffPost on April 12. Based in New York, she will report to Mark Schoofs, editor in chief of BuzzFeed News, who will be “removed from the day-to-day of the HuffPost newsroom but remain an advocate for news overall on BuzzFeed’s executive team,” according to the company. Richard Kim will continue to serve as HuffPost’s executive editor, reporting to Belton.
At The Root, which Belton first joined in March 2015, she served as the site’s youngest managing editor and first-ever editor in chief, helping to expand site’s profile, traffic and team of emerging writers. The African American online magazine was originally founded by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Donald E. Graham.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Danielle Belton to BuzzFeed, where she will lead HuffPost’s award-winning newsroom and continue its track record of publishing compelling, razor-sharp journalism that drives real impact,” Peretti said in a statement. “In a period where free quality news is more essential than ever, I’m confident Danielle will ensure that HuffPost remains a key player in providing cutting-edge reporting that reaches a huge and diverse audience.”
Belton began her journalism career at the Bakersfield Californian, a local newspaper in Southern California. She later created and managed her own award-winning blog, The Black Snob, in 2007, and since then has written, edited, and contributed to numerous publications including theGrio, Essence, the Washington Post and the New York Times and has appeared on outlets including NPR, PBS, CNN, ABC and BET.
Belton commented, “I am so excited to be joining HuffPost, a powerful and ambitious newsroom that aims to help its tens of millions of monthly readers understand and navigate the complexities of the world around them,. HuffPost is recognized for its compelling and urgent journalism and I look forward to helping shape its formidable future and taking its impact to new heights.”
A native of St. Louis, Belton holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and English from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville.