Forward Thinking

A Force in Our Newsroom

By Jane Eisner

  • Print
  • Share Share
Lil Swanson

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.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: lil swanson, forward, dan friedman

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.