Originally from Edmonton, Jessica Barrett moved to Vancouver about a decade ago to study dance at Simon Fraser University, where she started writing for the school paper for fun. These days, she’s still in Vancouver writing for a living and dancing for fun.
Jessica’s post-university career included stints as a dance and yoga teacher, freelance choreographer, life-drawing model, barrista, brand-name-yoga-pant-hawker and aimless traveller, but she ultimately settled on storytelling as a vocation and has been a working journalist in and around Vancouver since 2008.
A graduate of the journalism program at Langara College, Jessica’s first real-world assignment saw her shipped off to Sri Lanka as the recipient of the CIDA-Langara Journalism Development Scholarship, where she achieved two important goals: recording a documentary that aired nationally on CBC radio’s The Current; and managing not to get herself blown up the midst of Sri Lanka’s civil war.
Upon returning to Vancouver, Jessica landed a job as a reporter and editor at the North Shore News before moving on to WE Vancouver — an alternative weekly — where she has been writing news, features and the occasional dance review for the past year and a half. Jessica is also a frequent contributor to BCBusiness magazine and has reported for OpenFile.ca. Last July, she had the honour of travelling to the prestigious Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida as a Jack Webster Foundation Fellow. There, she was humbled and awed to spend a week learning narrative storytelling techniques from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Jacqui Banaszynski, Tom French and other brilliant minds too numerous to list here.
Jessica is currently a reporter for the Vancouver Sun.
When not on deadline, Jessica can be found riding her bike, baking something (hopefully) delicious or living up to Vancouver’s cliches on a yoga mat. While she writes about many things (urban affairs, digital media, City Hall and zeitgeist-y social trends, to name a few) Jessica is first and foremost a sucker for interesting people with good stories. Luckily, the world is full of them.