Morgan Jerkins, a New York Times bestselling author and former senior editor at ZORA digital magazine, is joining ESPN’s The Undefeated as senior editor for culture. Jerkins will lead a team focused on long- and short-form expository features on African-American music, theater, film and fashion, as well as other forms of entertainment. Jerkins’ storytelling team will be responsible for culturally relevant content across ESPN and other Walt Disney Company platforms, including live events and television specials.
Jerkins will begin her new role on March 15, based in New York.
“We are ecstatic to have Morgan join us. If you know her work, as we do, you know she is brilliant. Period,” said Kevin Merida, ESPN Senior Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of The Undefeated.
Jerkins added: “I’m so excited to be joining The Undefeated and I intend to take the Culture section to new heights alongside the already stellar team and roster of writers.”
Jerkins joins The Undefeated from ZORA, the digital magazine for and by women, where she served as senior editor since July 2019, overseeing columnists across the categories of politics, culture, sex and relationships. She also authored features, culture criticisms and editorial packages widely read on the platform, including celebrity interviews and profiles.
Before ZORA, Jerkins was an associate editor for Catapult (2014-16), an independent publisher that hosts a digital magazine and writing workshops. She scouted emerging writers and built relationships with established writers, literary agencies and organizations.
Jerkins has had her work featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Esquire, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, VOGUE, The Rolling Stone, Ebony, Talking Points Memo and Vulture, among many others. She has authored two books – This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America, published in 2018; Wandering in Strange Lands: A Daughter of the Great Migration Reclaims Her Roots (2020); and her debut novel, Caul Baby by Harper, is due in April. This Will Be My Undoing made the New York Times best seller list. Jerkins has been named on the prestigious list of “Forbes 30 Under 30” leaders in Media for 2021.
A native of South Jersey, Jerkins graduated from Princeton University in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature. She earned a master of fine arts from Bennington College in Vermont in 2016. Jerkins regularly teaches at Columbia University’s MFA program in nonfiction and previously held the Guest Professorship Picador Chair at Leipzig University in Germany.
The Undefeated is ESPN’s multiplatform content initiative exploring the intersection of sports, race and culture. The digital hub, TheUndefeated.com, which launched in May 2016, combines innovative long-form and short-form storytelling, investigation, original reporting and provocative commentary to enlighten and entertain African Americans, as well as sports fans seeking a deeper understanding of black athletes, culture and related issues.
In addition to its cutting-edge content, The Undefeated seeks to be a thought-leader on race, sports and culture in the country – convening insightful forums to discuss and debate topical issues affecting sports and race in America.
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