About one year and nine months ago, I took the position of managing editor for this newspaper, a career move that was thrilling, challenging and utterly fulfilling.
Now, I leave it to take my next step, and I know it’s in wonderful, capable hands. Still, I’m walking away from what was, essentially, my baby.
As editor, I ran Star while wearing many hats—I decided what stories were covered, I assigned stories to all the talented writers who have had their words published in the paper, I edited the content, and physically created the paper’s pages each week. I was so involved in the process that, naturally, I felt quite proud of it.
I lived and breathed Star, and came to think of the River Wards as my place in this city.
I can’t truly express how much it meant to me to be at the helm of a paper that I believe is so important for these neighborhoods, which are so vibrant, bustling with so much change, and so in need of their voices to be heard — those voices often aren’t heard elsewhere.
Star has been in publication since the late-70s, and I hope, and believe, it will be around for years to come. Community newspapers are a different creature than the big dailies — we have very focused coverage on just the River Wards, which allows the paper to highlight only the information that affects you directly, on such a real, important level. I found it to be a great privilege to be a part of that, and to emulate the work of the reporters and editors who came before me.
For Star, I was able to make sure we covered — and in many cases, covered myself — issues and events that were of great importance to the River Wards.
We were the first to report on Port Richmond’s great unhappiness with the vacant Nativity B.V.M. school, which spurred immediate, effective, inspiring neighborhood activism. Now, there’s a shot that school could indeed become a residence for area seniors. I had the chance to interview Samantha Pawlucy, the “Romney T-shirt” girl who made national news for her place in the debate about freedom of speech in school. Star made great strides to cover, every step of the way, steve Wynn’s proposal to open a casino and resort in the River Wards, which could mean big things for the area.
I was also excited to re-introduce (after a few years’ hiatus) our “Best of the River Wards” readers’ choice contest in the summer. It’s my favorite issue of the year, and with the hundreds of votes that pour in, I’m glad to know it’s an issue readers anticipate.
I interviewed so, so many local people who had a deep effect on my life. Their stories will stay with me forever — from a woman who had been in an abusive relationship now working for Lutheran settlement home’s domestic violence helpline; to the Kensington students telling their life stories on stage, where they felt they could productively express their pain; to a man who took it completely upon himself to transform an ugly, abandoned lot in his neighborhood into a breathtaking, colorful community garden — these are but a few of the people who I felt had stories that needed to be told. I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I was able to hear them and help others hear them.
Next, I’ll go on to Philadelphia City Paper, where I’ll work as arts editor. I’ll be covering arts and cultural events all over the city, but won’t be leaving the River Wards behind by any stretch of the imagination — after all, these neighborhoods are becoming more arts-centric by the week.
Taking my place as editor is Ali Eaves, an extremely talented journalist with great experience telling the sort of stories Star will continue to tell. You can continue to look to this newspaper for what you feel you need to know about life here in the River Wards.
I live right here in Fishtown myself, and these communities are very much my life. I’m so glad for that, and I hope you find that this newspaper continues to be an important part of life here.
I’m so glad for that, and I hope you find that this newspaper continues to be an important part of life here.
You can always reach me at my personal email address, firstname.lastname@example.org.