As you may have heard, I'm leaving my post as news editor of the Providence Phoenix in a couple of weeks to take a job as an online reporter at WBUR, a National Public Radio affiliate in my native Boston.
It's tough leaving a job I truly love. But I feel much better knowing the place will be in good hands: Phil Eil, a regular freelancer for the paper these past few years, will be taking my place.
Phil has been a constant presence on our "This Just In" page, turning in beautifully written postcards - smart, funny, charming - from the front lines of Rhode Island art, culture, and everyday life. Pudding pops, cagefighting, a wunderkind composer: Phil has found, and covered, all of it. And we're better for it.
We've got Brown and RISD here, AS220 here, a rich artistic underground here. Providence has branded itself the "creative capital." But the city's - and state's - creative life hasn't won the attention, from the press, that it merits. Phil, I think, has begun to change that as a freelancer for the paper - and he will continue to do so as news editor of the Phoenix.
But he's a Providence native. So he knows, as we all do, that there is more to the city and state. He'll be keeping an eye on our topsy-turvy politics and local media, too, in the tradition of his predecessors.
Phil is a University of Michigan graduate, with an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University. He's freelanced for the Jewish Voice and Herald in recent years. And he's taught a number of courses at RISD, including one titled "True Crime" (a particular fixation for Phil) and another called "Writing Providence: A Nonfiction Workshop."
He's a good guy. He's a creative thinker. And the Phoenix is lucky to have him.