Jennifer has had newsprint on her fingers since age 12, when her first job was "stuffing" papers (folding the arts section into the news section, which came separately) for a local newsstand in her hometown. Within a year, she was promoted to selling them on the street, where her biggest sales day coincided with Bill Clinton's impeachment.
Jennifer attended college at the University of Chicago, where she majored in English and wrote for the school newspaper, The Maroon. She went on to earn a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. While in New York, she covered community news for the weekly Our Town, in addition to writing for the alternative weekly New York Press.
Following graduation, Jennifer spent two years in St. Louis, working full-time as associate editor for the weekly newspaper Ladue News while freelancing for the West End Word. In September 2010, she launched the Northbrook Patch site, which she ran until taking over as editor in Evanston in May 2012.