Jess McHugh is a writer and editor who has reported from North and South America, Europe, the Caribbean, and West Africa.

Her work has appeared in The Nation, The Paris Review,, Village VoiceInternational Business Times, CNN, AFP Services, The Believer, Smithsonian Magazine, Business Insider, InStyle, DAME, Man Repeller, and Travel + Leisure, among others.

She has written hundreds of stories with an eye on the intersection between politics, culture, and society, ranging from the fight to preserve world heritage in Palmyra, Syria, to the plight of pregnant refugees making the journey across Europe. She has interviewed U.N. diplomats, U.S. senators, and former members of the Irish Republican Army.

Following the November 2015 Paris attacks, she was sent to cover the aftermath on the ground as a reporter for International Business Times. After sending dispatches from the Saint Denis raids, she attended one of the first concerts in the wake of the attacks, writing features on the recovery of the music scene as well as a profile of a Syrian refugee.

She is bilingual in French, decent at krav maga, and excellent at knitting.

Selected Writing


The Paris Review

The Nationalist Roots of Merriam-Webster's Dictionary  

Nearly two centuries later, at a time when truth is increasingly undervalued and American exceptionalism is widely embraced, the dictionary takes on fresh significance.


The Nation

Arkansas execution of Ledell LeeWhy Is Arkansas Rushing to Execute Its Prisoners?

 It’s a strange twist in America’s long relationship with the death penalty—and pressure from the   pharmaceutical companies explains why Arkansas is going through a barbaric rush to execute as many death row prisoners as possible before there are no more drugs left.

International Business Times

pregnant refugeeRefugee Women Are Carrying More Than An Uncertain Future

 For the first time since the refugee crisis began in the spring of 2015, women and children now account for more than half of all asylum-seekers in Europe.

Travel + Leisure

Palmyra: How a Beloved World Heritage Site Became a Battlefield

“It really is a site of all of humanity. This is one of the reasons it was put on the world heritage list: because it has traces of different cultures,” said Mechtild Rössler of UNESCO. “It contains one of the ruins of one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world.”

Punk fans in the audience crowd over the front of the stage and play air guitar as Joey Ramone and Johnny Ramone of The Ramones perform at Eric's club, Liverpool, 19 May 1977.Inside the Fight to Keep Liverpool's Punk Scene Alive

For that Friday night at least, the punks and the DIY-ers had a place of belonging in Maguire’s, and the obstacles concerning the future — including gentrification and the closure of some of their best-loved clubs — didn’t weigh down the atmosphere.


Even More Writing


Avidly (Los Angeles Review of Books)



Policing Language Is Just Another Way to Silence Women, August 2018

What Happens When Women Don't Smile, May 2018

Man Repeller

What Katharine Hepburn and Courtney Love Taught Me About Glamour and Grunge, May 2018

Why Everyone Is Obsessed With Celebrity Airport Fashion, April 2018

The Paris Review

The Nationalist Roots of Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, March 2018

The Nation

Why Is Arkansas Rushing to Execute Its Prisoners? April 2017

Travel + Leisure

A Drive Through the Scottish Highlands, April 2018

Inside the Fight to Keep Liverpool's Punk Scene Alive, January 2018

Here's How Hotel Security Could Change After the Las Vegas Massacre, October 2017

Do Electronic Bans on Flights Make the U.S. Safer? March 2017

Palmyra: How a Beloved World Heritage Site Became a Battlefield, February 2017

Explore the Magical Ephemera of New York City's Biggest Prop House, February 2017

A Brief History of the Modern Suitcase, December 2016

Winemakers in Bordeaux Are Reinvigorating Their Traditional Terroir, November 2016


New Security Measures Could Delay You At the Airport. Here's What to Expect, October 2017

Village Voice

The Story Behind the Most Colorful Building in NYC, September 2016

International Business Times

Refugee Women Are Carrying More Than An Uncertain Future, April 2016

What A Breakdown Of Free Travel Means For Europe's Economy, March 2016

French Anti-Radicalization Policy Questioned, January 2016

Beer, Wine, And Other Acts Of French Defiance, November 2015

One Syrian's Journey From Aleppo To Paris, November 2015

The Remaking Of Sinn Fein In Northern IrelandOctober 2015

See Jess' full archive from IBT here:​


Dole Back On Hill to Try and Push Through U.N. Disability Rights Treaty, July 2014

Perry to Texas Reps: Don't Approve Obama Border Proposal, July 2014

The Believer

The Most Dangerous Moves From the Least Dangerous Game, October 2013



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