So, Jenna-Lee, time to share!
Tell us how you got your start in writing?
Creative writing is something I have done since elementary school. I had notebooks full of short stories and poetry because it was an outlet for my imagination. By the time I was 13, I knew I wanted to share not just creative stories but also stories about the world around me.
Tell us how you came to start working in the Valley media scene?
Cronkite really introduced me to some great resources, but the biggest push I had from writing as a student to writing as a professional in the Valley media scene would be my good friend, Shelly Talsma Everson. She really pushed me to be fearless in getting out there.
The original concept came about during a conversation with my dad about how to cover stories I felt were important but maybe didn’t fit into traditional media coverage. I started the framework for Solstice News immediately and within two months I was launching. As much work as I’ve put into it, I couldn’t have done it without the support of wonderful Valley professionals who gave me a chance by sending their stories and their client stories my way.
Tell us about the outlet and types of story pitches you want?
The media landscape is constantly changing, and I think there is an opportunity for smaller, independent outlets to create coverage for causes, organizations and individuals who are doing amazing things, but might not get traditional coverage. And that’s really what Solstice News is about. I want each story to resonate with the person who reads it. Some things I’ve covered on the site have been nonprofit organizations, the Kayenta Solar Facility and sustainability, CBD, entertainment, dining, and even specialty diet options like gluten-free and vegan.
I really invite most types of pitches, especially community-based. I am also implementing a creator spotlight, focusing on people who are excelling in nontraditional forms of media and entertainment such as podcasters and YouTubers or artists of all variety with an interesting story to tell. There’s a lot of negative out there, and I want to use my platform as a place to inspire.
Who else do you write for, or have you written for?
I have written for several media outlets, including Arizona Health and Living Magazine, Hawaii Health and Living Magazine, the Arizona Republic, and Jewish News of Greater Phoenix.
Where did you grow up?
Born and raised in St. Louis
Favorite type of music?
All types. I can find something I like in almost anything. Some ‘90s and early 2000s bands that have a special place in my heart are Goo Goo Dolls, Linkin Park and Hoobastank.
Blue and black.
Favorite TV shows or movies?
TV shows would be Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, The Big Bang Theory and The Walking Dead. My favorite movies would be The Crow and probably most movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Favorite local restaurants or other haunts?
The Bodhi in Tempe is my favorite local restaurant. I also visit Black Rock Coffee Bar in Mesa when I need a change of scenery while writing!
Any foods you hate?
Black olives and sweet pickles.