Faithful readers will recognize Jessica Steinhoff as a frequent contributor to our popular music coverage. She's been doing that since 2008. They won't realize that she is also the unsigned author of many of the Critics' Choice entries in the Week, the happenings roundup that runs in the centerfold of this publication. But those of us at Isthmus who were on the interview panel looking for Kenneth Burns' replacement as arts and entertainment editor were aware of that.
We were not aware of Steinhoff's varied and extensive arts and publishing background, a history that led to her being hired as the replacement for Burns, whose seven-year tenure ended when he relocated to Knoxville, Tenn., at the end of last month.
I suppose Steinhoff's professional story starts at 14 when, as a Milwaukee-area schoolgirl, she began contributing to a teen magazine published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She followed that up with a journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She put her degree to work with a stint at the Milwaukee alt The Shepherd Express and subsequent employment with the publishers of newspapers, books and magazines.
In 2004, while still working a string of day jobs in various fields, Steinhoff put together her own freelance writing business, Word Up, through which she managed her contributions to Isthmus, The Onion and many others, including Alarm Press, a book and magazine publisher. She has recently contributed a chapter for Alarm's Chromatic: The Crossroads of Color and Music. She's also a fiction writer, photographer and musician.
Steinhoff has worked in New York and Chicago in recent years and says she is happy to be back in Madison. We are happy to have her ensconced in the corner kiosk of Isthmus' editorial level, guiding our coverage of arts and entertainment.