About

I am an independent journalist based in Brooklyn, New York.
In addition to my freelance reporting, I also write an outdoor adventure, nature, and environmental newsletter called Pinch of Dirt.
When not writing from my couch, I am an enthusiastic backpacker, a very slow runner, and a gardener of tomatoes and peppers.
Say hi on Twitter or Instagram.

Awards & Recognition

Building a story around an unknowable answer is daring. In this case, the dare pays off. The story is a thoroughly intriguing examination of the technology that makes indoor, vertical farming possible, as well as an exploration of whether marketing claims regarding flavor and taste could be true. The well-organized narrative explores the topic through multiple sources across a wide range of expertise, from growers and investors to academic researchers and NASA. Clear writing. Excellent story arc from opening paragraphs to a fitting conclusion.

Honorable Mention, Technical Category, 2021 North American Agricultural Journalists Writing Awards for “What does a vertical farm taste like?” (The Counter, 2020)

Jessica McKenzie dug deep into a messy story about why using anaerobic digesters to convert animal waste into renewable energy doesn’t do much to reduce greenhouse emissions and may actually create more problems, notwithstanding millions of dollars of government funding. Good reporting draws in experts but great reporting also draws in those with little expertise who then go on to share it with others, as the judges did with Ms.McKenzie’s winning story.

2020 Front Page Award for Special Reporting on the Environment from The Newswomen’s Club of New York for “The misbegotten promise of anaerobic digesters” (The Counter, 2019)

Love it or hate it, some of the best stories start as conversations on Twitter. When contributor Jessica McKenzie first encountered “Marty” patrolling the aisles of her local Stop & Shop, she took to Twitter to ask why, exactly, the store was sending cartoonish robots out to roam the grocery aisles. We thought that was a good question indeed, so we assigned her to go out and ask the tough questions. After learning some choice tidbits⁠—like that these robots were implemented at a cost of $35,000 each, right after a big labor strike⁠—McKenzie came back with a lively, thoughtful piece exploring retail surveillance, labor, and automation, some of the hottest-button issues of our times. And clearly it struck a nerve: A story that went from Twitter to publication within a week ended up being read and shared hundreds of thousands of times.

Stop & Shop now has big, goofy-looking robots patrolling its aisles. What, exactly, is the goal?” was one of the most-read, most-shared stories published by The Counter in 2019.