On Monday, Raina Kelley, the managing editor of The Undefeated since November 2015, was promoted to Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of the ESPN multimedia initiative exploring the intersections of sports, race, and culture.
Kelley – a Yale University graduate who joined ESPN in May 2011 and has been a leader of the company’s long-form journalism efforts across a variety of platforms following eight years with Newsweek magazine – will provide editorial direction and oversight for The Undefeated as it continues its successful expansion across The Walt Disney Company.
Kelley succeeds Kevin Merida, who launched the project five years ago. From across ESPN and beyond, the news brought a great deal of congratulations for Kelley, appreciation for what Merida has built, and excitement for the future of The Undefeated.
Yes!!!! #NABJCongrats are in order!!!!
— NABJ Headquarters (@NABJ) May 4, 2021
— Iliana Limón Romero (@LAT_Iliana) May 4, 2021
All that said, I’m so damn proud of and happy for @loonus. One of the greatest editors I’ve ever worked with. A person who @TheUndefeated owes an incredible debt to for her creativity, dedication and innovation. To say she’s “earned” this opportunity is a gross understatement.
— Justin Tinsley (@JustinTinsley) May 4, 2021
— KelleyLCarter (@KelleyLCarter) May 4, 2021
The other part of this story—which is somewhat burying the lede, if you know her like I do—is that @loonus got promoted to EIC. So deserving & so inspiring to see hard work and talent rewarded like this. https://t.co/HsYKgJYSD1
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 3, 2021
Crushed that @meridak is departing @TheUndefeated. @latimes is getting a super transformative leader who will rejuvenate the place and make it better. Extremely happy that @loonus was promoted to run @TheUndefeated. Raina has the same passion that Kevin had to make The U special. https://t.co/ztX7f83FQM
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) May 3, 2021
I was lucky enough to have an office in @TheUndefeated newsroom & was impressed by how everyone admired & really respected their boss. Then @meridak became my boss & I joined his fan club. Plus he’s just fun to hang out with. Congrats my friend – the next drink is on me! https://t.co/VVKqtmQoeH
— Tisha Thompson (@TishaESPN) May 4, 2021
— Michele Roberts (@MRobertsNBPA) May 4, 2021
If I didn't know the meaning of bittersweet before today, I do now. The time I was lucky enough to spend in partnership with @meridak counts as one of the great joys and profound privileges of my career. Here's wishing Kevin every happiness, and congrats to the @latimes. https://t.co/fBTkTilqI5
— Rob King (@ESPN_RobKing) May 4, 2021
— Dalia Elizabeth Ganz (@daliaganz) May 3, 2021