HuffPost is set to announce its new editor-in-chief, ending a months-long search that has left the top slot at the liberal online publication without a permanent occupant for a year.
Sources with knowledge confirmed to The Daily Beast that the site is tapping Danielle Belton, the current editor-in-chief at The Root—G/O Media’s Black-focused news and culture outlet—for the top job.
A spokesperson for HuffPost and its new owner BuzzFeed declined to comment, but an internal memo obtained by The Daily Beast confirmed Belton’s appointment.
“I wanted to share some exciting news with you. To be totally transparent - we were going to announce this tomorrow, but are accelerating plans because we have a leak. I’m pleased to announce that Danielle Belton is the new Editor-in-Chief of HuffPost,” BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti wrote in the staff-wide note. “Danielle joins us from The Root, where she is currently its first-ever Editor-in-Chief. As EIC, and previously the site’s youngest managing editor, she helped dramatically expand the newsroom’s profile, traffic, and league of talented writers.”
Belton will take the reins at a tumultuous moment for HuffPost, one of the earliest and most prominent digital-news sites. The outlet had gone without naming a permanent top editor since March 2020, when Lydia Polgreen departed to lead up Gimlet Media, Spotify’s podcasting studio. Now-departed Executive Editor Hillary Frey ran the newsroom in the interim.
Earlier this month, BuzzFeed, which acquired HuffPost last year from Verizon Media in a stock deal, announced that it was laying off 47 HuffPost staffers and that the digital-news outlet was on track to lose $20 million for the second year in a row without substantial cuts.
The departures and closure of several international branches of the news site hit staffers hard. “We are devastated and infuriated, particularly after an exhausting year of covering a pandemic and working from home,” the publication’s employee union wrote in a statement following the cuts.
UPDATE 7:51 p.m. ET: This story has been updated to include former HuffPost Executive Editor Hillary Frey’s role.