Jessie is a freelance writer and blogger based in central Iowa. She grew up in a western frontier town and attended the University of Idaho, working nights and weekends at a local department store to help pay for her education (she was stationed in the store’s intimates section and refers to this experience as “that time I was a bra fitter”).
Jessie graduated with a journalism degree and promptly relocated to Florida to study at the prestigious Poynter Institute and not, as her mother surmised, to get as far away from home as possible.
She later worked as a newspaper reporter, coffee shop barista, English tutor and Guatemalan bartender before joining The Associated Press in 2008. She was a member of AP’s national reporting team on education and also garnered attention for her in-depth enterprise projects, which included stories about a transgender woman living in rural Idaho and a teenager who waived cancer treatment due to an unplanned pregnancy.
While covering education and politics, Jessie was an occasional pundit on Idaho Public Television’s long-running statehouse news program, Idaho Reports, and was among reporters asked to moderate Idaho’s 2010 gubernatorial debate.
Her stories and images have appeared in publications all over the world and her work has been recognized by The Associated Press, Florida Society of Newspaper Editors and Florida Press Club. In 2012, she won the Idaho Press Club’s all-media special coverage award for her in-depth reporting on the murder of a college student.
Jessie returned to community journalism in 2013 and started writing at the Ames Tribune in Iowa, where her husband is a photojournalist for the Des Moines Register. They have a daughter, Jameson.
Scroll down for more on Jessie’s journalism career or peruse a portfolio of some of her work here.