Meet the Media: Jennifer Billock

A pen, pad, and laptop on a desk

Jennifer Billock, freelance writerThe latest blog in our ‘Meet the Media’ series features Jennifer Billock, a freelance writer who regularly has articles published at Smithsonian.com.

What’s your top priority at work for today?

I have a few for today! I’m doing some social media work for a B2B brand I work with, rounding up some sources for a story about prison museums, and fact checking a piece about learning to surf in Hawaii. Apparently, everything is top priority… ha!

Tell us about your dream assignment.

I’d like to responsibly and appropriately integrate into a remote society or alternative culture for six months and then write a book about it. That would be my dream. For now, though, anything that gets me to South America is top of my list. My dream publication right now is Afar.

Describe one of the wackiest proposals/ideas you’ve been sent.

Surprisingly, I don’t get a lot of wacky proposals or ideas. I feel kind of left out! Although it’s nice that everything I get is generally relevant to what I’m doing.

What is your PR/marketing pet peeve?

I can’t stand it when PR folks continue to call me by the wrong name, even after I’ve told them a thousand times my name isn’t Jessica. I also get frustrated when I get a pitch supposedly tailored to a publication I write for, but it’s painfully obvious that the person who wrote it never actually reads the publication.

What’s a top industry trend you’re currently following or are interested in?

I don’t know that I’d call it a top industry trend, but I’m researching Twitter a lot lately. I just can’t seem to figure out how to make it work for me. I may abandon it. I’m also curious about podcasts. I don’t want to host one, but I would like to help put one together some day. As far as travel writing, which is the bulk of what I do, I’m incredibly interested in the current ways that writers are avoiding colonialisms and promoting sustainable and responsible travel.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in Chicago, though now I live right over the state line in Wisconsin and we often stay up at our cottage in Michigan’s UP. I have two pets, a Boston terrier and a female tuxedo cat. Writing is actually a second career for me – I started out as a choir teacher and hated it, so I moved to journalism. I’m incredibly happy now. I love to travel (adored Greenland, never want to go back to London), read (currently on book 6 of the Outlander series), knit, and crochet. I’m also an author – I have four books out right now and a fifth coming out October 1.

Questions or comments for Jennifer? Leave a comment below or tweet her (unless she abandons Twitter!) @JenniferBillock.

You can find more of Jennifer’s work on her website.

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6 Comments

  1. David Landis Reply

    Jennifer – great blog and what a varied life. Our paths have intersected on several levels: I was a music major and worked for several symphony orchestras, I grew up in Chicago – and I love to travel. In fact, since you’re interested in South America, check out my blog from last week about visiting Argentina. If/when you get ready to visit South America, give me a holler: I’ve been to Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina and love them all. Thanks again for contributing to our blog. Cheers, David Landis

  2. David Landis Reply

    Jennifer: Part 2: here’s the link to my blog:
    https://landispr.com/pr/going-global-with-local/
    Cheers,
    David

    • Jennifer Billock Reply

      Thank you! Where in Chicago did you grow up? Small world!

      • David Landis Reply

        Jennifer: I was born in Lombard, grew up in Highland Park, went to Northwestern University (lived in Evanston) and then lived in Rogers Park. How about you? Cheers, David

  3. Ashley Boarman Reply

    Hey Jennifer – thanks for contributing to our blog. I am curious about sustainable travel. I’ll have to be on the lookout for your upcoming pieces on the topic. I’m planning a trip to London, so tell me what you didn’t like and I’ll try to avoid it! ~Ashley

    • Jennifer Billock Reply

      Hi Ashley! It was just too crowded for me. Not something I think anyone can avoid… 😉 I did LOVE the park by Buckingham Palace, though.