Ellen Jaffe Jones

Author, Speaker, Consultant

Ellen Jaffe Jones, BJ '76

Degree(s): BJ '76 (Broadcast News)

Whereabouts: United States, Anna Maria Island, Florida

What do you do?
Author, health/fitness/recipe columnist, nationally certified personal trainer and running coach, media consultant. I spent 18 years in broadcast news as an investigative/consumer reporter, anchor, producer and photographer. I spent six years as a stay-at-home mom, then five years as a financial consultant at Smith Barney where I was the No. 1 market performer in our branch of mostly 75 men. Then I joined my husband in his successful media consulting business. One of my clients connected me with all kinds of opportunities that led to writing my book.

How did you get your job?
My new book, “Eat Vegan on $4.00 a Day: A Game Plan for the Budget Conscious Cook” is one of Amazon’s best-selling vegetarian cookbooks in 2011. After 400 media interviews soon after publication, I hit the road with the publisher for a three-year book tour. My mom, aunt and both sisters had breast cancer. I dedicated the book to my three daughters who have to deal with our family history. I can think of no better way to use my degree than trying to help prevent easily preventable diseases that have destroyed many families and much of our country. I also became a nationally certified personal trainer and running coach, and volunteer coaching high school girls cross country and track teams.

What is the best professional lesson you learned at the J-School?
Leigh Wilson, a great mentor at Mizzou said, “Life is a smorgasbord: just keep going down the line and sample each item. If you don’t get paid to have a good time, move on.” My husband, also a former TV investigative reporter and three-time DuPont Columbia award winner, and I had opportunities to work for the networks. We chose the roads less traveled and glamorous so that we could have the time it takes to have relationships and families. Not easy, but no regrets.

What advice do you have for current students?
Follow your passion, and the money will come. If not, be sure to have a plan B and C. And stay active, preferably athletic. I would guess the world’s going to get crazier than it already is, and getting involved in a sport helps preserve sanity and the energy needed to deal with it all.

What is your favorite J-School memory?

Updated: November 7, 2011