Many of you know her as “The Black Snob.” On Friday Danielle Belton left her job as Managing Editor of theLoop21, a website focusing on African American issues that seeks to advance Black economic progress by discussing politics, finance and culture. The publisher, Darrell Williams, is an economist and former prof at UCLA.
But something smells fishy. Belton cites “changes in editorial direction” as to why she left, but says little more. Then she details all the many, many ways in which she helped the site succeed. Why state that the largest story in the site’s entire three-year history was hers? Indeed, that story was a whopper. It was her interview with close friend Yesha Callahan, the woman to whom ex-Rep. Chris Lee (R-N.Y.) sent the infamous photograph of his bare chest via Craigslist.
Belton ultimately wished the publication well in its relaunch later this month. She told FishbowlDC: “The nicest thing I can say is that it just didn’t work out. We had different ideas on what my role should be with the site.”
We wish Belton well on her upcoming book.
In the meantime, read the letter…
As of Friday, June 3rd, I am no longer a part of theLoop21 due to changes in editorial direction with the site.
I started at theLoop21 in January where I started out as political editor was was promoted to managing editor three weeks within my time with the site. From there I wrote the largest story in the history of the site, my interview with blogger Yesha Callahan, the woman Congressman Chris Lee “e-flirted” with on Craigslist leading to his eventual resignation from Congress. The story received more than 75,000 unique page views in less than two weeks and remains the most read story in the three year history of the site.
In my five months there, I was responsible — either as a writer or editor — for six of the top ten most read stories on theLoop21. I reshaped the editorial content, increased original reporting and hired outstanding staffers, including Joi-Marie McKenzie of The Fab Empire as assistant entertainment editor and seasoned entertainment journalist and graphic artist Maurice Garland as assignment editor and leader over our entertainment and culture stories. I also introduced the site to its first social networking guru to increase our reach, Nichelle Stephens, who ran the Pepsi We Inspire campaign which won an NAACP Image Award. I increased the site’s readership by 5,000 a week and increased the site’s media profile by appearing on NPR, PBS, MSNBC, Good Morning America and The Today Show. I introduced coverage of the African diaspora to the site and I brought on board columnists with strong online followings and media profiles, Jamilah Lemeiux, aka “Sista Toldja” and sports-writer Bomani Jones.
We were a great team and we did outstanding work.
In my time there we did leading stories on everything from women recalling what it was like to date a racist to Tyrese talking about his fondness for Twitter to the individuals behind “Color of Change” celebrating the “end” of Glenn Beck’s show to a “McDonald’s Is Hiring” road trip penned by The Source’s new political editor and blogger, Jason Johnson.
I will continue my work with my personal site, blacksnob.com, weigh my professional opportunities, and work on my book that I hope to have finished before the end of the year.
I wish theLoop21 the best in its efforts to relaunch following its redesign later this month.