Jessica Davey-Quantick is a force to be reckoned with. Not tied to any specific genre, she has followed her passion for research and storytelling from Halifax to Qatar to Yellowknife.
Growing up in Kingston, Ontario, Jessica had worried that her application to King’s wouldn’t be accepted due to her lack of experience. But her drive to write was clear. “I knew that I wanted to write since I was in second grade,” she says. “It was in ninth grade that we had to make a newspaper, and I fell in love with it completely.”
After Jessica graduated from King’s she found work on several community newspapers. But she wanted more. Seeing a job posting for an arts and entertainment position with Qatar Happening, she applied and was accepted. Shortly afterwards, she found herself on a plane to a place she’d never been and a job she’d never done. The job with Qatar Happening led to an editorial position with Time Out Doha, two years later. But it wasn’t always smooth sailing.
“Everything (was) different.” Jessica says. “And it made me realize that the stuff that made me want to throw up was the stuff I should be doing. That’s the stuff that when you’re so scared and you’re on your own, you have to deal with it anyway.”
Jessica had been well prepared for the bumps and bruises along the way. Her professors in the School of Journalism at King’s took no prisoners.
“They push you. The idea is to make you better.”
After nearly five years of working abroad, Jessica returned to Canada to do her master’s degree in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University, during which time she was one of the 2015 Journalism Fellows with Fellowships at Auschwitz for the study of Professional Ethics. “I’m proud that I got in,” she says. She spent several weeks in Poland and Germany learning about ethics of journalism during the holocaust.
It was Jessica’s master’s thesis that would eventually bring her up north. Her thesis grappled with the state of environmental justice in the northern territories, focusing on the example of a four-month long dump fire which spewed toxins throughout Iqaluit.
On a trip to visit Nunavut during the last year of her master’s, Jessica was struck by the warmth of the communities which she would later come to call home. “It felt like a completely different country,” she says. Months later, after finishing her thesis defence, she was making her home in the Northwest Territories.
“I got the job offer literally the morning of my thesis defence. And three weeks later, I moved there and started working for The Yellowknifer.”
As a Senior Reporter for The Yellowknifer, part of Northern News Services, she covered topics from city hall, business, and environmental news, alongside learning and engaging with the reality of living in a majority-Indigenous territory.
In 2017, Jessica started as the Editorial Assistant for Up Here Publishing, which publishes a magazine covering the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
These days, Jessica is still in Yellowknife, working in communications with the Department of National Resources. Her priority is to translate scientific and legal information into a format which is accessible and usable to the public. She continues to write as a freelance journalist.
Updated: August 2020