Crain's recruits Detroit News managing editor as newsroom leader

February 21, 2020, 4:36 PM by  Alan Stamm

The No. 2 editor at The Detroit News, a 16-year veteran of the paper, moves to a newsroom a mile away to lead journalists at Crain's Detroit Business.

"Sometimes opportunity finds you when you’re not expecting it," managing editor Kelley Root posts on social media late Friday afternoon. "And once you decide, things can happen quickly. ... Today is my last day at The Detroit News."

Kelley Root: "Even after 30 years in the business, I'm not too old to grow."
(Photo: Facebook)

In her new role as executive editor, she'll oversee 14 writers and editors, reporting to editor-in-chief Keith Crain.

The 52-year-old Michigan State University graduate ('89) was at The Grand Rapids Press for 15 years as a reporter and city editor. She then joined The News in 2004, rising from Macomb Bureau chief to suburban editor to assistant managing editor. She succeeded Gary Miles as managing editor last August, three months after he became editor and publisher.

"Even after 30 years in the business, I'm not too old to grow," Root posts on Facebook.

In a possible effort to head off speculation about unease over the paper's future, she says: "My News colleagues ... have been producing some powerhouse journalism in a very challenging climate for local news, and I have no doubt they will continue to do so."

She joins an aggressive, nimble team that supplements its weekly print publication with online newsbreaks that regularly scoop other local media, particularly in coverage of economic development, commercial real estate and Detroit's changes -- a refocusing that began in 2017 under former publisher-editor Ron Fournier. 

Root reuintes with three former News colleagues who jumped to Crain's earlier -- assistant managing editor Dawn Riffenberg, senior editor Chad Livengood and news editor Beth Reeber Valone.

"This [hiring] is a sign of our continued investment in quality journalism," publisher KC Crain says in a six-paragraph announcement. "Kelley will be part of our strategy to continue to grow our audience through all of our platforms, including digital, print and events."

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