Jennifer Maerz

AFAR Contributor

I’m a copywriter, editor, journalist, and content strategist based in Portland, Oregon.

I help companies shape their content on the page and from the stage. As part of the vanguard of the West Coast’s new media venture scene for the past two decades, I’ve learned through experience the key factors needed to penetrate critical new market segments. I love establishing the vision, content, and teams that inform innovative publications. I’ve helped mass media company Gannett break new ground in the digital space as editor-in-chief of The Bold Italic, a personality- and visually-driven exploration of life in San Francisco. I also served as editor-in-chief on the founding editorial team for the international print publication Anxy Magazine, which offered a visual- and storytelling-driven take on mental wellness.

Writing has always been my passion, and I’ve been worked as a freelance copywriter and editor for places like Airbnb’s Digital Marketing Studio and transformational wellness platform The Shift Network. I was Content Director for the meditation app Oak, where I helped lay the foundation for the app’s voice, personality, and editorial style guides. Previously I worked as a copywriter, then the editor-in-chief and program chair for the conference marketing team at Lean Startup Co., which helps organizations craft smart experiments that lead to radical success.

The American Press Institute (API) contracted me in 2015 to research and write a best practices strategy study on how newsrooms can widen their reach with digitally-savvy millennial audiences. I spoke on this topic at the ONA15 and ASNE conferences in fall of 2015 on API’s behalf and again in 2016 at the NYPA’s Spring Convention. I also consult companies looking to sharpen their digital strategies to reach new audiences, such as Bay Area News Group in Silicon Valley.

I’ve spent much of my career in the pop culture realm, first as the music editor for alt-weeklies The Stranger and SF Weekly, and then as a freelancer for publications including,,, Noisey, Refinery29, Mic., KQED, Afar, C Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Salon, Vice, Spin, and Entertainment Weekly, among other outlets. I published an essay about waiting to get married in writer/illustrator Lisa Congdon’s book, A Glorious Freedom. UK magazine Project Calm excerpted my essay in their January 2019 issue.

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