jennie odell (at) gmail (dot) com
News Editor, Wonderwall.com (MSN Entertainment Celebrity News Portal), 2009-present
Write daily entertainment news round-up column that typically generates approximately 3 million daily unique page views. Write breaking entertainment news stories based on MSN homepage requests and search trends. Manage Wonderwall homepage promotion of original galleries, stories and video plus packaged partner content with an eye to optimizing for SEO and user experience while encouraging users to click through and around various sections of the site. (Telecommute)
Apple Music Playlist Curator, 2015 – present
Create playlists of introductory, activity-focused and festival/club-pegged New Orleans music for Apple’s new streaming service, organizing tracks based on user experience.
Writer, DownBeat Magazine, 2004-present and JazzTimes, 2013 – present
As the New Orleans contributor to the jazz industry’s two main national publications, I write monthly features, profiles, news stories and reviews, primarily on Louisiana-based artists. Cover stories have included pieces on Preservation Hall’s 50 anniversary, the history of New Orleans’ musical dynasties, plus profiles on Christian Scott, Trombone Shorty, ?uestlove, The Bad Plus, Roy Hargrove, MMW and other artists. I vote annually in the DownBeat and JazzTimes Critics’ Polls. Speaking engagements have included moderating and serving as a panelist at the jazz Journalists Association conference, the Detroit Jazz Festival, the Quebec Jazz Festival and the Columbia Center for Jazz Studies’ “Jazz in the Global Imagination” conference, among others. (New Orleans)
Writer, OffBeat Magazine, 2013-present
Cover New Orleans music news with an emphasis on jazz-related stories and features for various sections of the magazine and website. My coverage of the George Buck Foundation’s copyright infringement allegations regarding Jack White’s Revenant Records and the Paramount catalogue earned OffBeat.com sizable new traffic when the story was picked up by Billboard, SPIN, Pitchfork, Paste and other national music news outlets. (New Orleans)
News Producer, MSN.com Entertainment & MSN Video, 2008-2009
Crafted compelling homepage pitches for original and partner content based on newsworthiness, user experience and SEO. Worked with partners like Wonderwall to ensure original content would satisfy homepage needs on a case-by-case basis. Wrote breaking news stories for music, movies and TV verticals plus lead music features, profiles and galleries on tight deadlines. Line-edited and wrote headline and other copy associated with partner content. Edited, programmed and produced MSN Entertainment and Bing video homepages. Curated and pitched content to the MSN homepage while monitoring search trends and news consumption across various platforms. (NYC)
Editor, BobMarley.com, 2006-2008
Worked with Palm Pictures via MLB.com to build database of historical content about Bob Marley while developing online collections of previously unreleased recordings by Bob Marley & the Wailers. Wrote features and co-produced video segments about contemporary reggae artists whose work is directly influenced by Marley. Managed editorial calendar and team of freelance writers. (NYC)
Writer-Reporter, People Magazine, 2004-2008
Covered entertainment industry events for music, movies, TV and courts beats. Helped launch the People Grammy Daily, a music business-oriented daily tabloid distributed within the entertainment industry during Grammy week. Negotiated interviews with and profiled Chrissy Hynde, Clive Davis, Eliot Spitzer, John Legend, Nelly and other celebrities. Covered events including the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductions, MTV Video Music Awards, the VH1 Hip-Hop Honors and the Country Music Awards. (NYC)
Editorial Director, CMJ Music Marathon, 2005 – 2007
Edited festival website and 150-page festival guide book, plus weekly newsletters and other promo copy for the largest music festival in New York City and its sister event at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Wrote scripts for radio and event hosts; wrote Playbill text for daily event literature. Managed all editorial duties for Marathon promotional text and festival guide editorial in 2010 and 2011, including the writing and production of a descriptive guide to more than 1500 artists. (NYC)
Panel Director, CMJ Music Marathon, 2005
Developed, booked and produced more than 60 panel discussions about issues and controversies in the music industry, as well as how-to panels for young musicians and industry wannabes. (NYC)
Writer, RollingStone.com, 1998-2001
Wrote monthly features and concert reviews centered primarily around New Orleans-based artists. Wrote weekly New Orleans “Local Link” page, including weekly music listings and venue reviews, plus previews of two concerts each week. (New Orleans)
Freelance Writer: Selected essays about New Orleans music culture (Preservation Hall, the Mother-in-Law Lounge) appear in the 2010 book, “What Can’t Be Lost: 88 Stories and Traditions from the Sacred City.” My work can also be found in Rolling Stone, the Gambit, GoNola.com, the Times-Picayune, American Way and other publications.
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
M.S., Magazine Journalism, with high honors, 2004
Trudy Stamm Scholarship for Cultural Reporting
Thesis: “The Time Keeper,” a 7,000-word creative non-fiction piece about bassist Henry Grimes’ disappearance from and return to the world of jazz.
B.A., American History and English Literature, double major, 1998
Magna Cum Laude
Thesis: “Bottoms Up in New Orleans,” a look at how one grassroots, civil rights umbrella group made greater strides towards systemic racial equality than did the efforts of the federal government.
HTML, basic Flash and XML, Photoshop CS3 Suite, ProTools, InDesign. Experience launching new websites and migrating data for major site redesigns. Strong knowledge of SEO; experience using wide variety of content management systems; experience using social media tools to build audiences. Strong knowledge of AP Style guidelines; working knowledge of Chicago Style. Semi-fluent in French.
In 2013, I organized a New Orleans chapter of the Jazz Journalists Association in connection with the national organization. In addition to bringing together local jazz writers and broadcasters for monthly meetings, we have coordinated the presentation of three national Jazz Hero Awards and an annual public presentation of readings from Louis Armstrong’s written work.
Prior to becoming a full-time writer and editor, I worked in event production for 10 years, with tenures at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans; at the jazz management firm Burgess Management, where I assisted Terence Blanchard and handled tour management duties for Charlie Haden; and at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre, where I managed the production of weekly, multi-stage, cultural festivals, concerts and art exhibitions.