Civil Beat Staff

Jessica Terrell

Jessica Terrell is a deputy editor at 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 a 2018 Eppy Award, 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.

Born in Mexico, 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.

Will Hawaii Finally Be Able To Break Its Dependence On Tourism? Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Will Hawaii Finally Be Able To Break Its Dependence On Tourism?

The state is about to reopen its tourism industry, the heart of Hawaii’s economic engine. Is it time to find another way forward?

Hawaii Failed In Its Pandemic Response. It Has Another Chance To Get It Right Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Hawaii Failed In Its Pandemic Response. It Has Another Chance To Get It Right

The pandemic has revealed deep cracks in Hawaii’s government and social system, but also created an opportunity for real change.

Karaoke Bar Penalized For Violating Emergency Order Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Karaoke Bar Penalized For Violating Emergency Order

Bars in Honolulu have to stop serving liquor at midnight, according to emergency rules aimed at stemming the spread of COVID-19.

Stories Of Pain And Success From The Hawaiian Diaspora Kuʻu Kauanoe/Civil Beat

Stories Of Pain And Success From The Hawaiian Diaspora

A few months ago we asked Native Hawaiian readers outside of Hawaii to tell us why they left the islands. Here’s what they had to say.

How Las Vegas Became Hawaii’s 9th Island Kuʻu Kauanoe/Civil Beat

How Las Vegas Became Hawaii’s 9th Island

Hawaiians started moving to Las Vegas in the 1970s, and the community there continues to grow.

The Forgotten Story Of How Hawaiians Transformed American Music Courtesy: AlyssaBeth Archambault and Family

The Forgotten Story Of How Hawaiians Transformed American Music

Hawaiian musicians touring across America in the 1900s had an enormous — and often overlooked — impact on the development of blues and country music.

The Surprising History Of Hawaiians In The Civil War Joel Abroad / Creative Commons

The Surprising History Of Hawaiians In The Civil War

More than 100 Native Hawaiians fought in America’s bloodiest war. Finding out what happened to them is a near-impossible task.

Tracing California’s ‘Lost Tribe’ Of Hawaiians Jessica Terrell/Civil Beat

Tracing California’s ‘Lost Tribe’ Of Hawaiians

A group of Native Hawaiians traveled to California 181 years ago. Their descendants are still connected to the islands in surprising ways.