Daughter of immigrants from India was a founding editor of ‘The Lily,’ Post’s site for millennial women
Neema Roshania Patel, a founding editor of The Washington Post’s news site for millennial women, The Lily, died on Monday at just 35 after a battle with gastric cancer, the paper announced.
Born to immigrants from India in Maplewood, New Jersey, in 1987, Roshania Patel joined the Washington Post in 2016 as a digital editor before helping launch The Lily.
On the podcast “Motherly,” Roshania Patel called The Lily “a stopping place on the internet where we could bring together the best stories on women and gender.”
Read: Indian American Fox News anchor Uma Pemmaraju dies at 64 (August 11, 2022)
She spearheaded projects such as the “Anxiety Chronicles,” which documents mental health struggles, and a months-long project called “The Jessicas,” which looked at the most popular name for girls born in 1989 and examined their lives and evolving identities as they turned 30.
She found 10 diverse subjects, worked with freelancers to tell the stories and oversaw a documentary short that was included in film festivals.
She left her position as top editor at “The Lily” in 2009 to join the paper’s Next Generation initiative — aimed to widen the Post’s readership to younger demographics, which Roshania Patel was passionate about.
“Younger audiences want to see their experiences and the experiences of their peers reflected in the journalism they consume,” she wrote in an op-ed to the Poynter Institute about diversifying sources.
“They want to see how policy affects the lives of everyday people. And they want to feel personally connected to what they read. Diverse sourcing makes us more trustworthy arbiters of the news.”
Amy King, The Lily’s founding editor in chief, who is now creative director and deputy managing editor at the Los Angeles Times, called Roshania Patel a “vibrant” colleague who “found our greatest stories and gave visibility to people and ideas who had long been ignored.”
After working for her high school newspaper, Roshania Patel graduated Rutgers University in 2009 with a degree in journalism.
Before the Washington Post, the married mother of one had previously worked at NPR member station WHYY in Philadelphia as a community editor.