Jessica Bennett | Ep 144


Jessica’s first desert experience was a program in her Washington State high school called ‘desert school’. Growing up in lush Seattle presented allergy challenges for Jessica and she immediately took notice of a change while visiting the eastern Washington desert climate.


A series of bachelorette parties brought Jessica to Palm Springs and some of those trips found her coming up to the hi-desert to experience Joshua Tree National Park. The more time she spent in this part of the desert, the more she found to appreciate. The landscape, the ‘hippie vibe’, the people inspired her to continue exploring.


After continuing to visit and spending money on vacation rentals, Jessica suggested to her husband they just get a place of their own here in the desert. Like many, the house was purchased site unseen, with a friend from Los Angeles riding out to perform due diligence. After the purchase, Jessica and her husband experienced some of the challenges new property owners in the desert inevitably face. Break ins, theft and contractors who misrepresent themselves or fail to show up.


As an aspiring journalist, Jessica left Seattle, attending college in Boston -interning at the Boston Globe - then heading to NYC to pursue work in journalism. While interning in NYC, she also 'did time' waiting tables. Having grown up on the west coast, raised by a father who was raised in NYC, Jessica didn’t realize how much of his ‘city attitude’ was embedded in her until arriving in NYC and feeling like she’d found her people.


Jessica landed a staff job at Newsweek and she’s been there ever since. Jessica explains her role as gender editor with the NY Times and why the role is necessary in today's journalism landscape.


In this episode, we touch on the toxicity of the new ‘cancel culture’, the future of analog magazines and newspapers and the vital role of local newspapers.


Jessica also shares the inspiration for her two books, 'Feminist Fight Club' and ‘This is 18: Girls' Lives Through Girls' Eyes'. We also talk about her inspiration for championing women and how her role as a journalist gives her a platform to speak out.


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