Civil Beat Staff

Jessica Terrell

Jessica Terrell is an editor at large for Civil Beat.

Jessica joined Civil Beat in 2015, after reporting stints at the Orange County Register in California and Tribeca Trib in New York City.

She served as the lead reporter and then editor of Civil Beat’s Offshore Podcast, which launched in 2016. The podcast received 2020 and 2018 Eppy awards, as well as recognition from the Asian American Journalists Association, Best of the West, and Religion News Association.

Her 2015 series, “The Harbor,” about life in Hawaii’s largest homeless encampment, garnered a first place Online News Association award for small newsroom feature. The project also received an honorable mention from the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism. She is a member of ONA’s 2018 Women’s Leadership Accelerator cohort.

As a reporter, Jessica has investigated everything from school safety concerns to faulty public works projects and military recruitment irregularities. She’s covered two national political conventions, and filed stories from the White House during President Barack Obama’s first summer in office.

Other memorable reporting assignments include camping out overnight in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park for a story on Occupy Wall Street, visiting the National Sept. 11 Memorial before it opened with members of Manhattan’s Community Board 1, and climbing 36 flights of stairs in the dark after Hurricane Sandy to find her editor and start reporting on the impacts of the storm in lower Manhattan.

Jessica spent much of her childhood traveling around North America. She wrote her first newspaper article at the age of 12 for a small paper in Massachusetts, where her family was living aboard a 50-foot raft built out of materials collected from New York City dumpsters.

When her family wasn’t building rafts, they were performing together in circuses and busking on the streets as a family jazz band. Spending her early years wandering from town to town imbued her with a passion for discovery that she tries to translate into work as a journalist.

Hawaii Has A Shortage Of School Psychologists. National Research Says That’s A Problem Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

Hawaii Has A Shortage Of School Psychologists. National Research Says That’s A Problem

Students in Hawaii were struggling with mental health challenges long before the pandemic, but the state has few school psychologists to help address their needs.

A New Sense Of Urgency Is Driving Nonprofits To Grow More Local Food In Hawaii Tim Wright/Civil Beat/2022

A New Sense Of Urgency Is Driving Nonprofits To Grow More Local Food In Hawaii

Some of Hawaii’s busiest food banks are turning to growing their own food rather than waiting for donations as the number of people showing up for help rises.

Outmigration In Hawaii Is Expected To Drive Major Declines In Public School Enrollment Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

Outmigration In Hawaii Is Expected To Drive Major Declines In Public School Enrollment

About half of students leaving public school in Hawaii are moving to the mainland.

‘People Are Really Struggling’: Hawaii Food Banks Scramble To Meet Increased Demand Kuʻu Kauanoe/Civil Beat/2020

‘People Are Really Struggling’: Hawaii Food Banks Scramble To Meet Increased Demand

Rising food costs and the end of pandemic-era assistance programs are driving a spike in demand for food assistance.

E ʻUʻuku Ana Ka Nui O Nā Kāne Kanaka Maoli E Hele Kulanui. E Nui Ana Nō Paha Ka Hopena No Kekahi Mau Hanauna Aʻe Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

E ʻUʻuku Ana Ka Nui O Nā Kāne Kanaka Maoli E Hele Kulanui. E Nui Ana Nō Paha Ka Hopena No Kekahi Mau Hanauna Aʻe

ʻO nā makepono o ke kēkelē kulanui, ʻo ia ka hoʻonui ʻana i ka uku hana ʻia a pēlā wale aku. Akā, e nui aʻe ana kahi helu o nā kāne e loaʻa ʻole ai ua mau makepono nei iā lākou ma Hawaiʻi.  

Fewer Native Hawaiian Men Are Going To College. The Repercussions May Last Generations Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

Fewer Native Hawaiian Men Are Going To College. The Repercussions May Last Generations

The benefits of a college degree go far beyond increased wages. But a growing number of men are missing out on those benefits in Hawaii.

School Librarians Are Becoming A Thing Of The Past In Hawaii. Here’s Why That’s A Problem Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

School Librarians Are Becoming A Thing Of The Past In Hawaii. Here’s Why That’s A Problem

Students can miss out on learning important research and digital literacy skills when they don’t have access to a campus librarian.

Community Partnerships Can Be Vital To Schools — And Hard To Sustain Courtesy: Waiakea High School

Community Partnerships Can Be Vital To Schools — And Hard To Sustain

Businesses and volunteers play a significant role in supporting local schools, but it’s often up to individual school principals to identify and build these connections.

Hawaii Schools Are Struggling To Get Seniors To Apply For College Financial Aid Flickr: Nathan Smith

Hawaii Schools Are Struggling To Get Seniors To Apply For College Financial Aid

Before the pandemic, the state had embarked on a push to get 90% of seniors to fill out a federal application for financial aid.