A fond farewell

 Mi­kala Jam­is­on says good­bye to Star.

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, mi­kala.jam­is­on@gmail.com.



You can reach at mjamison@bsmphilly.com.

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