CNN’s John Helton to Become Roll Call’s New Politics Editor

Helton will be joining Roll Call team on May 26.

UF2U5o8QFormer CNNer and guy who rocks a killer mustache, John Helton, has gotten the nod from Roll Call to be their next politics editor, announced editor-in-chief Christina Bellantoni on Friday.

Helton, who spent 14 years with CNN, will be joining Roll Call team on May 26. Shira T. Center, Roll Call’s former politics editor who left for The Boston Globe back in mid-March, congratulated Helton in a tweet earlier today.

Below is the full announcement from Bellantoni.


We’re excited to announce that John Helton will be joining Roll Call as our new Politics Editor.

John comes to us after spending 14 years at CNN, most recently managing a team handling election coverage for He was the assistant managing editor at the Montgomery Advertiser in the late 1990s and he’s been a reporter, editor and newsroom leader at papers in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and New York. He’s got a host of awards in his portfolio from the Online News Association and the Webbys, along with a 2008 Peabody for election coverage.

His experience likely would have helped him stand out among the pack of applicants, but a note from a top TV person prompted me to pull his résumé out of the stack. I asked around, and professional colleagues and John’s references heaped praise about his skill and devotion to great political coverage.

Producers and reporters far and wide called him smart, driven, thoughtful, considerate, focused, a “serious journalist” who never buckles under pressure, and “universally beloved.” One said he was the “glue” who held CNN’s digital team together.

My personal favorite: “He really has a way of bringing the best work out of people, and he does so without screaming or being a [jerk].”

He also aced our editing tests, even catching an error I hadn’t noticed.

Don’t let John’s mellow demeanor fool you — he is primed and ready to take the reins of Team Politics in a critical election cycle at a really exciting time for our company. Please join me in wishing him well via @johnhelton and congratulating him on his new role.

Finally, I’d like to thank the Roll Call team for stepping up in Shira’s absence. Everyone has pitched in on editing and writing, and on making sure our coverage continues to be the must-read for the political consulting class. I’ll especially laud Features Editor Kyle Trygstad, whose sharp eye has helped keep Team Politics going strong while he continues to write terrific features like this week’s piece on Martha McKenna using her political connections to help in Baltimore, and Emily Cahn, who didn’t miss a beat and has filed scoop after scoop, all the while helping train Simone Pathe as the newest member of Team P.

John and I are going to be conferring about our best candidates for the open politics reporter position, and we’re already starting convention planning, so no doubt he’ll be hitting the ground running when he arrives for orientation May 26.

Stay tuned for more good things ahead.

Thanks, Christina and David