On Twitter today, I saw this statement from Sen. Tim Kearney (from May 14) saying that Satya Nelms and Rachel Pastan had resigned as the Swarthmorean’s editors.
That’s why I was heartbroken to see Satya Nelms and Rachel Pastan resign as the paper’s editors. Satya, the first Black woman to serve as associate editor at The Swarthmorean, recently wrote that the paper’s publishers asked for fewer pieces about racial justice after some members of the community complained about the number of such articles. Understandably, Satya and Rachel stepped down rather than compromise the examination of race in our community and nation.
I cancelled my subscription last summer when the Swarthmorean’s new owners exercised their control of the paper to prominently post a dangerous message to re-open schools despite advice from public health officials at the time. The Swarthmorean is supposed to be a newspaper that serves its community, not its owners. But clearly, the owners think they should be able to exercise editorial control.
Rachel and Satya have done great work in their time as editors, bringing a very Swarthmore viewpoint to the news. The Swarthmorean has often served as the lone news coverage of the WSSD school board and Swarthmore boro meetings. Under their stewardship the paper has covered matters of interest great and small in the community. I wish the Swarthmorean took more effort to cover a little more of the rest of the WSSD because otherwise there’s little coverage of events in Rose Valley, Nether Providence or Rutledge. But, the limited resources of a small town paper can only go so far.
It seems evident that the Swarthmorean’s new owners are not the stewards of the paper that we hoped for when the paper transitioned from its previous long-time owners. Its been nice to have it available online as well as in print, but apparently they aren’t interested in running a free press for the benefit of their community. I’m sure Rachel and Satya will find a new way to contribute to the community, and hope for the best for them.