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Founding Editor of ‘The Lily’ in The Washington Post Neema Roshania Patel Dies of Gastric Cancer

Founding Editor of ‘The Lily’ in The Washington Post Neema Roshania Patel Dies of Gastric Cancer

  • She worked as an editor with the Next Generation to cultivate a younger and more diverse readership.

Neema Roshania Patel, a founding editor of The Lily, The Washington Post’s news site for millennial women, died on Oct. 24 of gastric cancer. She was 35. She is survived by her husband Akshar Patel, her 3-year-old son Abhiraj Patel, her parents and a sister. 

Most recently, the young Indian American worked as “an editor with the Next Generation audience development team working to cultivate a younger and more diverse readership,” The Washington Post wrote in its obit. 

She joined The Post in 2016 as a digital editor “after working for print, online and broadcast outlets,” The Post said. A year later, she helped launch The Lily. In her role as deputy editor, The Post noted that she helped build the news site “into a website focused on original and curated material for and about women and helped grow the brand in newsletters and social media platforms including Instagram and Twitter.”

The Lily’s founding editor-in-chief, Amy King, told The Post that Roshania Patel was a “vibrant” colleague who “found our greatest stories and gave visibility to people and ideas who had long been ignored.”

After spending a year and a half as the top editor of The Lily, she joined Next Generation, a new initiative, in October 2021. In an email to The Post, Phoebe Connelly, senior editor of Next Generation, said Roshania Patel took what she had learned running The Lily “and infuse it into every department, every article and every project.”

She was born in Maplewood, New Jersey to parents who had immigrated from India. Her father was “an electrical engineer for Metallix, a precious metals recycling company, and her mother also worked for the firm as an accounts manager,” The Post said. She worked for her high school newspaper, and then joined Rutgers University, graduating in economics and journalism. She interned with NJBIZ and CNBC, The Post said, and then worked with several publications in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. 

She told Motherly that “journalism appealed to her mostly as an excuse to satisfy her curiosity about the world and was a career that gave her permission and confidence to ask questions of strangers and get answers,” The Post said. “I felt like it was something I would never get bored of.”

Several friends and colleagues remembered the young journalist on social media. 

Sahaj Kaur Kohli, a mental health professional and the creator of Brown Girl Therapy, who writes an advice column for The Washington Post tweeted that she’s “lucky to have known Neema professionally and personally.”

Journalist Shefali Kulkarni called her “an incredibly kind, creative & bright journalist who made me feel welcome in the newsroom.”

Ishaan Tharoor, foreign affairs columnist at The Washington Post said Roshania Patel’s death was “a tragic loss for all of us.”

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New Delhi-based journalist Romita Saluja who worked with Roshania Patelon on a story called her “one of the most brilliant editors I know.”

The International Women’s Media Foundation also mourned her death, and noted that her “commitment to diversifying news will have a long-lasting influence on the industry.”

Although he never meet her, Anup Kaphle, editor-in-chief of Rest of World was a “huge fan” of Roshania Patel’s work.

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