Jess Zafarris is the author of Words From Hell (Chambers 2023) and Once Upon a Word: A Word-Origin Dictionary for Kids (Rockridge Press 2020), and an educational social media creator who focuses on etymology and word history-focused deep dives and explanations. She contributed to the tabletop game League of the Lexicon and the Writer’s Digest Daily Calendar 2020. She has appeared on podcasts including Dear Hank and John, Social Pros, Failing Writers, Yeah That’s Probably an Ad, and Author2Author. She has emceed major events including Social Media Week and Brandweek, and she has moderated sessions at dozens of large-scale events in the advertising, publishing, and design spaces. She is also an award-winning innovator of digital journalism, audience engagement and marketing solutions and a prolific online and print writer, having served as Audience Engagement Director at Adweek and Executive Director of Marketing & Communications for Gotham Ghostwriters. Before that, she served as Content Strategist and Digital Content Director for Writer’s Digest and Script Mag. She has organically and exponentially grown social media audiences and engagement both at a personal and brand level.
Her 13 years of experience in digital and print content direction and marketing also include such roles as editor-in-chief of HOW magazine and online content director of HOW and PRINT magazines, as well as writing for Jane Friedman’s publishing newsletter The Hot Sheet, the Denver Business Journal, ABC News, and the Memphis Commercial Appeal. She has a bachelors in English Literature, with a focus on the development of English language as well as minors in Arabic and Anthropology, from DePaul University and a masters in Journalism & Mass Communications from the University of Colorado Boulder. When she’s not changing the game for journalists and marketers, she’s blowing the minds of word enthusiasts on TikTok and Twitter @jesszafarris, and via her blog UselessEtymology.com.
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