NAME: Jamie Ehrlich, 23
HEBREW NAME: Leah Devorah
CURRENTLY LIVING IN: Washington, D.C.
ALMA MATERS: Marblehead High School ’14, University of Chicago ‘18
JOB: Associate producer, CNN
FAVORITE FOOD: I would be totally fine if both peanut butter and Nutella were in every single one of my meals.
FAVORITE MUSIC: Lizzo, Vance Joy, Vampire Weekend
FAVORITE BOOKS: “The Argonauts” by Maggie Nelson, “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt, “The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia” by Masha Gessen
FAVORITE TV SHOWS: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATION: Paris and Tel Aviv
PLACES YOU WANT TO GO TO NEXT: I want to explore the West Coast more, and my next trip will hopefully be to the Pacific Northwest.
FAVORITE JEWISH PEOPLE NOT IN YOUR FAMILY: My rabbi at Hillel at University of Chicago [Anna Levin Rosen] has served as a Jewish role model for me … It was very cool to have this Jewish role model and faith leader who was female, which is something I’ve found to be quite rare.
FAVORITE JEWISH HOLIDAY: Definitely Passover
WHAT WAS YOUR JEWISH BACKGROUND GROWING UP?
Both my parents are Jewish, I was bat mitzvahed at Shirat Hayam, and after my bat mitzvah, I was a madrich with the Hebrew school. I was doing that every weekend, and as a kid we also were part of Rekindle Shabbat, where a couple of families would get together and celebrate the Sabbath together. That was a great way to keep in touch with my faith throughout my childhood, and it was really important to my parents that I keep the Jewish faith. I went off to college, and continued staying in touch with the Hillel there, and I celebrated holidays at school there. Since moving to D.C. after graduating college, I work kind of crazy hours, so I don’t get to go to temple as much as I’d like, but I found that with my inability to do that, I’ve seen my faith come into play in other ways where my Jewish friendships have become more important to me, the traditions that my family had have also been more important to me.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO GO INTO JOURNALISM?
I had all these role models – people who I wanted to be 10, 15 years out, and they were all journalists. So I looked at Wolf Blitzer, and said, “I want to be Wolf Blitzer one day on CNN.” But also, we’re kind of facing this crisis of information where I think with new media happening, and with the Internet evolving, and seeing how 2016 played out, the struggle of information and truth around an election, and how people are getting information into their brains, I found this calling in journalism, where it was a preservation of fact. So many people are reading these articles, and they take what’s in them to be true, so you’re helping them and you’re helping people around the country understand what’s happening in the world.
HOW DID YOU END UP WORKING AT CNN?
In college, I worked on my school newspaper until I was a senior, and I covered news on campus, and I also did some work at UChicago on David Axelrod’s podcast “The Axe Files.” After graduation, I packed all my bags, moved to D.C., and got an internship, and after that moved up the ladder and now I am with cnnpolitics.com as an associate producer/web producer. I manage the CNN Politics homepage, as well as our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts. We work on SEO, headline writing, and also on the side I do breaking news coverage, so reporting and writing articles with our breaking news team.
YOU MUST HAVE SOME INTERESTING STORIES.
I remember last summer, there was a shooting in Annapolis in that newsroom, and the day after they sent me and someone else and they basically said, “Go to Annapolis, go to the courtroom, pull every single file they have on the shooter.” It was kind of surreal, as one of my first assignments, getting sent out to cover a shooting where journalists were killed. That was a surreal moment starting my career in journalism.
YOUR MOM, LORI EHRLICH, IS A STATE REPRESENTATIVE. HOW DID THAT INFLUENCE YOU?
I think her being in that position and us having a campaign run out of our house definitely inspired me to go into journalism. Her high profile mixed with my appetite for news made for really interesting dinner table conversations. I was able to learn about how lawmaking happens on the local level, while also turning to places like CNN for national coverage, and I think before she was a rep, she was an environmental activist, so that taught me to care about the world around me, and question everything, and not take anything for granted.