Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Back to Opinion

A Force in Our Newsroom

Being managing editor is a singular job in journalism, requiring the organizational skills of an MBA, the fortitude of a prize fighter and the patience of a pastor. For three and a half years, Lil Swanson has occupied that position at the Forward, and now, sadly, she is saying farewell.

Her appointment in the fall of 2008 was something of a leap of faith for all concerned, since she is not Jewish and had never worked in New York. But she was exactly the right kind of person to help me guide The Forward.

She had been a managing editor elsewhere, oversaw huge departments when we worked together at The Philadelphia Inquirer, ran a national training program for newspaper editors, and cut her journalistic teeth at the Associated Press. Yeah, she could handle a brilliant, slightly manic bunch of New York Jews.

Not only did she help steer the ship magnificently, she left her imprint everywhere. A managing editor’s work is invaluable to the staff and largely unnoticed by the public, but occasionally the reader was treated to the full power of Lil’s journalism. She created and edited a series of award-winning special sections: celebrating the 150th birthday of our founder, Ab Cahan; commemorating the 100th anniversary of the the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire; and then, just recently, our terrific section on the Titanic. All along, she protected our journalism with fierce devotion.

And she kept the old-fashioned treasure chest in her office constantly filled with irresistible candy.

She did all this while her family remained in Philadelphia, and it is there Lil is returning, to become editor of a large and beloved community newspaper. I’d like to think she came to The Forward for the right reasons, and she is leaving for the right reasons.

Her departure would feel even worse if we did not have a superb person to be her successor. Dan Friedman became Arts and Culture Editor shortly after Lil joined The Forward. Every week, he has produced a stunning section that probes deeply into contemporary Jewish culture, but that’s not all. Like Lil, Dan has exerted quiet, skillful leadership within the newsroom and beyond, using his considerable talents to help us improve our game in so many ways.

Plus, he edits the wickedly funny Backward section each Purim. A managing editor needs a sense of humor.

So please join me in wishing Lil the best of luck and welcoming Dan to the ranks of Forward leadership. I am certain we will go from strength to strength. Fortunately, he’s agreed to keep the treasure chest well stocked.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.