Skip to main content

Neema Roshania Patel, Post editor who cultivated a younger audience, dies at 35

Neema Roshania Patel, founding editor of the Washington Post’s news site for millennial women, The Lily, and most recently editor of the Next Generation audience development team working to cultivate a readership younger and more diverse, died Oct. 24 at a Washington hospital. She was 35 years old.

The cause was gastric cancer, said her husband, Akshar Patel.

After working for print, online and broadcast media, Ms Roshania Patel joined The Post in 2016 as a digital editor before helping to launch The Lily the following year. As Associate Editor, she helped build The Lily into a website focused on original, curated material for and about women and helped build the brand in newsletters and social media platforms, including Instagram. and Twitter.

On the ‘Motherly’ podcast, Ms Roshania Patel called The Lily “a stop on the internet where we could collect the best stories about women and gender”.

Amy King, founding editor of The Lily, who is now creative director and associate editor of the Los Angeles Times, called Ms Roshania Patel a “dynamic” colleague who “found our biggest stories and gave visibility to people and ideas that had long been ignored.

Among the projects led by Ms. Roshania Patel, King said, were the mental health series “Anxiety Chronicles” and a book club that featured literature by female authors, often women of color.

King said Ms Roshania Patel spent months working on a project called ‘The Jessicas’, which looked at the most popular name for girls born in 1989 and examined their changing lives and identities as they age. 30 years old. She sourced 10 diverse subjects, worked with freelancers to tell the stories, and oversaw a short documentary that was included in film festivals.

Ms Roshania Patel spent a year and a half as editor of The Lily before moving to Next Generation, a new initiative, in October 2021.

Phoebe Connelly, editor of Next Generation, wrote about Ms Roshania Patel in an email: project.” She also teamed up with the Style section to introduce new advice columnists to The Post.

In April, Ms Roshania Patel wrote an op-ed for the Poynter Media Training Center on the importance of a diverse supply – by age, gender and ethnicity, among other categories – in attracting and retaining a younger demographic of potential subscribers.

“Young audiences want to see their experiences and the experiences of their peers reflected in the journalism they consume,” she wrote. “They want to see how politics affects the lives of ordinary people. And they want to feel personally connected to what they read. A diverse supply makes us more reliable arbiters of the news.

“If we don’t include a diverse range of voices, we narrow those pathways and don’t reflect the world we should be covering,” she added.

Neema Prabhu Roshania was born in Maplewood, NJ on September 28, 1987, to Indian immigrants. Her father was an electrical engineer for Metallix, a precious metal recycling company, and her mother also worked for the company as an account manager.

After working for her high school newspaper, she earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and journalism from Rutgers University in 2009.

Along with internships at the business journal NJBIZ and financial news network CNBC, she spent a few years as a researcher and writer in Washington with Kiplinger’s corporate newsletters, and from 2013 to 2016 she served as editor of the community news with WHYY, Philadelphia’s public radio station.

She married in 2014. In addition to her husband, survivors include a son, Abhiraj Patel, both of Kensington, Md.; his parents, Prabhu Roshania and Mira Roshania, of Winterville, North Carolina; and a sister. She attended BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, a Hindu temple in Beltsville, Maryland.

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