Jennifer 8. Lee

Jennifer 8. Lee (Chinese name: 李競;[1] pinyin: Lǐ Jìng; POJ: Lí Kēng) (born March 15, 1976) is an American journalist who previously worked for The New York Times.[2] She is also the co-founder and president of the literary studio Plympton,[3] as well as a producer on The Search for General Tso, which premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.[4]

Jennifer 8. Lee
Jennifer Lee

(1976-03-15) March 15, 1976 (age 45)
Notable credit(s)
The New York Times

Lee is a vice-chair of the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee,[5] which is responsible for making recommendations relating to emoji to the Unicode Technical Committee. Inspired by the universality of the dumpling across cultures and cuisines (e.g., jiaozi in China, ravioli in Italy, pierogi in Poland, empanadas in various Latin-American countries), she helped to make the dumpling emoji a candidate.[6][7] She also co-authored the proposal for a hijab emoji.[8]

Early life and educationEdit

Lee was born on March 15, 1976, in New York City, to immigrants from Kinmen, a group of islands off the coast of China's Fujian province governed by Taiwan.[9][10] Lee was not given a middle name at birth so she chose "8." when she was a teenager.[11][1][12] In Chinese culture, the number eight symbolizes prosperity and good luck. She graduated from Hunter College High School in Manhattan in 1994. Lee graduated from Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1999 with a degree in applied mathematics and economics.[13]


While a student at Harvard, Lee was the vice president of The Harvard Crimson student newspaper.[14] She interned at The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Newsday, and The New York Times during college. She joined the Times in 2001, one and a half years after graduating from Harvard.[citation needed]

Published in 2008, Lee wrote a book about the history of Chinese food in the United States and around the world, titled The Fortune Cookie Chronicles,[10] documenting the process on her blog. Warner Books editor Jonathan Karp struck a deal with Lee to write a book about "how Chinese food is more all-American than apple pie."[15] She appeared on The Colbert Report to promote the book.[16] The book was #26 on the New York Times Best Seller list.[17]

In December 2009, Lee accepted a buyout from The New York Times.[2]

Lee attempted to popularize the term "man date" in a 2005 New York Times article, which subsequently inspired the 2009 film I Love You, Man starring Paul Rudd.[18][19]

Lee has served on the advisory panel for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's "News Challenge", and has assisted the whistleblowing site WikiLeaks, dealing with the press and with social networking sites.[20] She helped the organization with its April 2010 release of a video showing the July 12, 2007, Baghdad airstrike.[21] Lee serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Public Integrity,[22] the Advisory Board of the Nieman Foundation,[23] and the Asian American Writers' Workshop.[24] She is also an advisor to Upworthy.[25]

In 2011, Lee and fellow writer Yael Goldstein Love founded a literary studio named Plympton, Inc.[3] The studio focuses on publishing serialized fiction for digital platforms.[26] Investors include Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, Y Combinator partner Garry Tan, Delicious founder Joshua Schachter, Hipmunk founder Adam Goldstein, Inkling founder Matt MacInnis, Columbia Law Professor Tim Wu (author of “The Master Switch”), Quora co-founder Charlie Cheever, and Tony Hsieh’s Vegas Tech Fund.[27] Its first series launched in September 2012 as part of the Kindle Serials program.[28] Its app Rooster, launched in March 2014, is a mobile reading service for iOS7.[29]

In 2012, Lee created NewsDiffs, a website that archives article revisions from The New York Times, CNN, Politico, The Washington Post, and the BBC, with two brothers who were programmers, MIT graduate student Eric Price and Tddium employee Greg Price.[30][31][32] They built the website in 38 hours (including sleep) during the June 16–17, 2012, Knight-Mozilla-M.I.T. hackathon at the MIT Media Lab.[30]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Lee, Jennifer 8. (March 17, 2008). "Someone added my Chinese name to my Wikipedia entry in simplified :( form". The Fortune Cookie Chronicles. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Jennifer 8. Lee Taking Times Buyout". New York Observer. December 9, 2009. Archived from the original on January 19, 2012. Retrieved June 11, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Our Team | Plympton". Archived from the original on November 11, 2012. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  4. ^ Foundas, Scott. "Tribeca Film Review: 'The Search for General Tso'". Variety. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  5. ^ "Unicode Emoji". Unicode Consortium. October 27, 2017. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  6. ^ Warzel, Charlie. "One Woman's Bizarre, Delightful Quest To Change Emojis Forever". Buzzfeed. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  7. ^ Kar, Ian. "Dumplings and fortune cookies: Your emoji are about to get even more diverse". Quartz. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  8. ^ Farber, Madeline. "Unicode Is Considering a Hijab Emoji". Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  9. ^ "Ask a Reporter: Jennifer 8. Lee". New York Times. Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. Retrieved May 7, 2011.
  10. ^ a b Lee, Jennifer 8. (2008). The Fortune Cookie Chronicles. New York, NY: Twelve Books. ISBN 978-0-446-69897-9. OCLC 225870250.
  11. ^ Horne, Jim (November 22, 2008). "Lucky Number 8". The New York Times. Retrieved January 2, 2009.
  12. ^ Lee, Jennifer 8. (August 8, 1996). "Yes, 8 is my middle name". Boston Globe. p. E1 – via
  13. ^ "Lee featured in Harvard Magazine | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences". Retrieved December 5, 2020.
  14. ^ "The Harvard Crimson Online: Staff". The Harvard Crimson. Archived from the original on December 5, 1998. Retrieved February 18, 2020.
  15. ^ "Jennifer 8. Lee Attracts Americans with Chinese Food", October 13, 2008. Source: Xinhua/Translated by Archived October 17, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Jennifer 8. Lee". The Colbert Report. March 4, 2008 – via
  17. ^ "Best Sellers, Hardcover Nonfiction". The New York Times Best Seller list. March 30, 2008.
  18. ^ Liu, Jonathan. "Times Goes Hollywood: Gives Content Work to Beverly Hills Group". New York Observer. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  19. ^ Ventura, Elbert. "I Love You, Man". Reverse Shot. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  20. ^ WikiLeaks questions why it was rejected for Knight grant, Yahoo! News, June 17, 2010 Archived September 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Clint Hendler: WikiLeaks Releases Video Showing Death of Reuters Staff Columbia Journalism Review April 5, 2010
  22. ^ "Board of Directors". Center for Public Integrity. Archived from the original on July 1, 2012. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
  23. ^ "About The Foundation | Advisory Board". The Nieman Foundation for Journalism. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  24. ^ "Read the Margins – About". Read the Margins. Asian American Writers' Workshop. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  25. ^ "Upworthy | The Paley Center for Media". The Paley Center for Media. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  26. ^ Denison, D.C. (September 8, 2012). "Boston literary start-up lands Amazon deal". The Boston Globe. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  27. ^ Ha, Anthony (March 10, 2014). "Aiming To Fit Fiction Into Busy Schedules, Rooster Is An iPhone App For Serialized Novels". TechCrunch. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  28. ^ Bosman, Julie (September 30, 2012). "E-Books Expand Their Potential With Serialized Fiction". The New York Times. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  29. ^ McMurtrie, John (March 12, 2014). "S.F. company launches Rooster, a new mobile reading service". SFGate. Retrieved March 17, 2014.
  30. ^ a b Brisbane, Arthur S. (June 30, 2012). "Insider's View of Changes, From Outside". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 18, 2015. Retrieved June 18, 2015.
  31. ^ Silverman, Craig (June 18, 2012). "NewsDiffs tracks changes to New York Times, CNN". Poynter Institute. Archived from the original on June 18, 2015. Retrieved June 18, 2015.
  32. ^ Goldenberg, Kira (February 4, 2013). "Tracking the NYT's evolving Koch obit: NewsDiffs reveals the newspaper's multiple revisions, resulting in a surge of traffic". Columbia Journalism Review. Archived from the original on June 18, 2015. Retrieved June 18, 2015.

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