AAJA SF mourns the loss of Jessica Lum

We are deeply saddened to report the passing of AAJA SF member Jessica Lum.

Lum, 25, was a talented up-and-coming visual and multimedia journalist always seeking a new adventure. Her recent travels led her to the desert of Southeastern California, where she immersed herself in an unconventional community of squatters living on a decommissioned military base. The successful Kickstarter project became the basis of her thesis, “Slab City Stories,” which won the 2012 Online News Association’s Online Journalism Award in the Feature – Student category. AAJA SF also awarded Lum with the Willie Kee Memorial Scholarship in 2011.

Lum recently graduated from the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where she worked as a reporter and assistant editor for the community news site MissionLocal.org. Lum’s journalism career also included time at PetaPixel, Youth Radio, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, and Hyphen. A proud Bruin, Lum majored in English and Geography/Environmental Science at UCLA and worked for the school newspaper, The Daily Bruin. Lum maintained her trademark sense of humor throughout her battle with adrenal gland cancer. The Sacramento native recently adopted her first dog, Dakota, from a local rescue shelter.

The U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism plans to establish an award for excellence in visual and multimedia journalism in her name.


Jessica’s memorial service will be held on Feb. 2 at 9:30 a.m. at the Chinese Grace Bible Church in Sacramento. Condolence cards can be sent to her parents, Bob and Anna Lum,1609 34th Street, Sacramento, CA 95816-6527.

Donations in memory of Jessica may be made to find a cure for pheochromocytoma. Checks should be made payable to University of California Regents and indicate “malignant pheochromocytoma research” in the memo line. Mail donations to Dr. Paul A. Fitzgerald, UC San Francisco, 350 Parnassus Avenue, Suite 710, San Francisco, CA 94117.

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