Jessica Lum

See Video Interview with Jessica Lum Below

The family of Jessica Lum would like all her friends to know that she has passed away peacefully.

Jessica Lum

Jessica Lum

We who were closest to her were by her side as her body gave up the long battle with cancer. We wish to celebrate her life with her friends at a memorial service to be announced. Thank you to all for being her support through the years. You have all meant a lot to her in different ways.

Jessica Lum’s Biography

In her own words:

“Journalist, photographer, huge nerd. Addicted to coffee and the Internet. And above all: human beings.

I’m a multimedia journalist working towards a masters degree at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

In recent years, I’ve worked with the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and, a blog about photography. My journalism endeavors have taken me abroad to Thailand and Seoul, but also close to home — I’m currently an assistant editor for, a community news website covering the Mission District in San Francisco.

Credentials aside, I love a great story, whether in a movie, video game (I’m a gaming geek), a book — anywhere that is inspired by imagination, and inspires imagination. That’s part of why I got into journalism — I get to talk to people who have fascinating stories.

I firmly believe the bright future of journalism is where it always has been: rooted in honest storytelling.

Jessica loved to photograph football “anywhere within the 20 yards along the sideline – and the end zone.”  In recent years, her journalism travels brought her to Bangkok’s red-light district and a tired desert corner of California, Slab City.

She was an assistant editor for the community news website, wrote for PetaPixel and was a photo editor and blogger forHyphen Magazine. She was working towards a master’s degree at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. The California native  had a degree in English and a minor in Geography/Environmental Science from UCLA.

She worked with social media for the Los Angeles Times and produced video for the Washington Post. In addition to photo and video journalism, she had experience designing and developing web sites and multimedia news pieces.

Read her resume here.

The piece she did on Slab City is what brought her to us, the residents of Slab City. Her sensitive engaging pictures and recounting of residents’ own stories endeared her to us.  She earned our full respect.  Respect that is not freely given to many media groups that enter our gates.  She lived with us for weeks at a time more than once to truly get a feel for who we are. She was not like other media visitors that blasted in looking for a quick buck, taking quick shots, manipulating the  “stories” into the director’s preconceived staged “documentary”.

As Jordan G. Teicher wrote in his article on NPR “The Picture Show”:

“she met a population that was seeking privacy but whose privacy was being consistently breached.”

Jessica was different. She was a true Journalist. Recording the event through pictures and words that showed the soul of her subjects. She stayed true to her statement that she was addicted to …” above all: human beings”.

We would like her family to know: She will be remembered as one of our kindred spirits.

Here is a filmed interview by Slab City Resident Ken Stone.

c/o Dj.Ken Stone and his wife, Sue.


6 thoughts on “Jessica Lum

  1. I am so sorry for your loss, may God bless her beautiful soul! The Lord has allowed my daughter to survive her fight with cancer, for this I am ever thnkful! I cannot begin to understand your pain, but I have felt nearly the same grief you have, and I understand the difficulty it places on one’s soul, and mind, God bless you, and may you keep you!

  2. Pete Brook: Email:
    Comment: Dear Slabbers. I am putting a piece together about Jessica Lum and
    particularly her Slab City work. It will be both feature and tribute. I was
    hoping I could get a quote from one or two Slab City residents about her work
    and her time in your community. Please email or call 415 971 1551.

    Time: Wednesday January 16, 2013 at 3:19 am
    Contact Form URL:

  3. I am so very sorry for your loss. I worked with Jessica at the L.A. Times and knew her to be incredibly talented, creative, spirited and hard-working. She was inspired and inspiring, a true beacon of light. She will be missed, but the world is a better place having been shared her vision.

  4. My sincere condolences to her family and friends. Rest In Peace dear Jessica.

    Marco from San Marino

  5. Name: Sara Morrison
    Comment: Hi,

    I’m an assistant editor at Columbia Journalism Review and I’m writing an article
    about Jessica Lum. It’s a profile of her and her work; her talent and passion
    for journalism.

    Her Master’s project about Slab City plays a big part of that — she really put
    together a beautiful project about the area and some of its inhabitants. I’ve
    talked to her friends/family/professors about her work there, but it’d be great
    to hear from some of you about that process — how Jessica stayed in Slab City
    and earned your trust, and how the result of that was an award-winning, honest
    and fair look at some Slabbers … as opposed to the “freak show druggie desert
    people” headlines I’ve seen in many other places.

    I realize that many people there are reluctant to talk to the media, and
    understandably so (the aforementioned “freak show druggie desert people”
    headlines) but I hope you’ll talk to me. I think Jessica did great work and told
    great stories, and from everything I can tell, she wanted to be fair to the
    people she wrote about and let them speak for themselves as much as possible.
    With your help, I can let her speak for herself as much as possible, too.

    My email is: and my phone number is 212…854….1889. My
    deadline is coming up in about a week, so if you’re able to contact me before
    then, I’d appreciate it.

    Sara Morrison

    Time: Monday March 18, 2013 at 5:46 am

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