Sunday, January 23, 2011
Jessica Thompson: A Remembrance
With a heavy heart, I revisit these words from a blog posting just a few days ago.
With Demand I truly feel like I’m part of a company and a community, and I’m not talking about getting the warm fuzzies over corporate America and a shameless march toward the almighty profit. I’m much more talking about the relationships I have with some of my fellow copy chiefs and a small handful of the editors in my charge.
After the minor fecal storm that my year in review created, I’d planned on treating Demand once again with the anonymity typically afforded to my other clients. I was likely going to do that anyway.
In retrospect, however, the above paragraph inadvertently made the posting into something meaningful.
One of my fellow copy chiefs died yesterday.
Jessica Thompson, whom I knew only through the series of tubes, died in an accident at her home in Cambodia. She’d gone there last fall for a bit of adventure: a six-month copyediting gig at the Cambodia Daily.
I only knew Jessica through a bunch of email exchanges--mostly of the snarky, informal kind that circulate among a group of friends--and then some side emails that spun off from that. Such is workplace friendship in the virtual world.
Jess came across as a lively, curious, intelligent, very funny woman. I’m stunned to think I’ll never have the pleasure of meeting her in real life. I believe in my last side email to her, I’d told her that if in her worldwide travels she ever found herself driving up I-81 through Appalachia, we were only two miles off the interstate and there’d always be a place for her here.
She spent some time writing for the Times of India, from the perspective of a young, female American in New Delhi. When we first started working together, I checked out some of her posts. Here’s an excellent example that generated a lot of comments. More are available by searching “Jessica Thompson” “Times of India”:
Her bio on that page reads, “Jessica Thompson is an American journalist living and working in New Delhi as an editor for Times Internet. She is not from Chicago, but says she is sometimes because more people know where it is. She is actually from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jessica lived in New Delhi for four years in the 1980s as the child of a Foreign Service Officer, and returned last October to pursue her dream of escaping the American media collapse.”
The news is still coming in on what happened to Jessica. I think I can speak for all the copy chiefs by saying we miss her already.