Hi, I'm Jen Kinney. I’m a radio producer, writer, kayak guide, and compulsive storyteller. I like stories that live on the nervy boundaries between the individual and the collective, the personal and the political, the built and the natural.
I think a lot about this imperative, borrowed from permaculture design: “Use and value the edges and the marginal.” In nature, edge ecosystems are the most diverse. Tide pools, riverbanks, the shady fringe between forest and prairie — evolution begins here, where organisms have already adapted to fluctuation and change. I like to walk these hazy borders. I’m interested in the nesting dolls of obligation that encase and connect us: the family, the clan, the tribe; the city, the state, the planet. Some days, I'm the faded mural on a North Philadelphia rowhome that reads, “Working together we can save our community.” Other days, I'm the scrawl of graffiti beneath it that says, “Who cares???”
I pursue stories that beg the question: What do we owe one another? What do we owe the prisoner? What compels a woman into civic disobedience? Who owns our sidewalks, our water systems, our right to clean air? If the answer is we own them in common, who are we?
I'm a recent graduate in radio documentary at the Salt Institute, and have over five years of experience in print and photo journalism. I cover urban policy and infrastructure for Next City. My work has also appeared in Philadelphia Magazine, High Country News, Roads and Kingdoms, the Anchorage Press, Spoke Magazine, Satellite Magazine, Business Insider, and Nautilus Magazine's blog Facts so Romantic, among others. I live in Philadelphia, where I also lead bike and kayak tours of the Schuylkill River.