My name is Jay A. Fernandez, and I’ve been a writer, reporter, and editor, both on-staff and freelance, for more than 20 years at a number of top-tier publications (see list below). After getting my start writing book criticism at The Washington Post, I moved to New York and worked in the editorial departments of Barnesandnoble.com and Premiere, the country’s top film magazine. In 2000, I moved to Los Angeles to become managing editor of Code, a minority men’s culture magazine. A few years later I launched and wrote “Scriptland,” a weekly column on the professional lives of screenwriters, for the Los Angeles Times, and then jumped to the staff of The Hollywood Reporter (THR), where I was a senior film reporter for four years.
As a freelance journalist, I’ve written cover features, breaking news, cultural criticism, artist profiles, book and music reviews, business stories, Q&As, op-eds, crossword puzzles, marketing copy, humor pieces, and more. Over the years, I’ve been a guest blogger, written liner notes for CDs, done copywriting for a progressive film production company, associate-produced a DVD series of in-depth interviews with Hollywood’s biggest screenwriters, and worked in marketing at Universal Music Group. I also co-created and co-edited THR’s first and only all-Comic Con issue, for which we recruited writer-director Jon Favreau as guest editor. As I mentioned, I’m versatile. (My crowning achievement on that front may well be having ghostwritten a regular column called “Tall Tales” for Pistons-Bulls-Lakers phenom John Salley about fashion for extremely tall African-American men.)
As an editor, I can improve most any kind of writing, from merely correcting the spelling, punctuation, and grammar through to shaping and developing content on the macro level. I’ve been doing it for a long time and can make just about anyone’s fiction, nonfiction, or journalism sing — or at least give strong, concrete suggestions for revision. After all those years in newsrooms, I’m also hardwired for deadlines and quick deep-dives into unfamiliar topics. I’m available to help English departments, nonprofits, individual writers, artist collectives, students — anyone who needs help improving his writing generally or on a single piece of work.
I simply love language, from the profane to the poetic. It’s an incredibly powerful tool that I’ve always believed has the same potential as magic.
I grew up outside of Philadelphia and have lived my adult life in Washington, D.C., New York, and Los Angeles. I currently live with my sons and partner in Highland Park, where I can usually be found drinking coffee, crate digging for vinyl, workshopping short stories, smiling at strangers, hitting shows (pandemics notwithstanding), and reading poetry.
Loeb Award finalist (breaking news category) for group coverage of the 2007-08 WGA Writers Strike (L.A. Times)
Magnum Opus Award, Gold, Best Interview or Profile, for profile of Dennis Hopper, ACCESS, Nov. 2008 issue
Current and Former Clients
City of Hope
DreamWorks Animation TV
Los Angeles Review of Books (Fiction Editor)
The Therapist (CAMFT publication)
Publications Where My Work Has Appeared
Los Angeles Times
The Hollywood Reporter
Time Out New York
New York Review’s The Reader’s Catalog