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Jackie Bryant
Jackie Bryant

San Diego Magazine has hired Jackie Bryant, a local freelance writer known for specializing in cannabis business and culture, as managing editor.

Bryant, a freelancer in San Diego since 2015, begins her new job May 2. She plans to continue writing “Cannabitch,” a monthly newsletter published on the Substack platform.

“This all has happened very fast,” Bryant told Times of San Diego. “I’ve done well as a freelancer these past few years, and I’m loud and proud of it. However, freelancing takes a lot of time relative to its variable pay and lack of institutional support.”

“The opportunity to help make an impact at San Diego Magazine was too good to pass up. So, here we go with a new life chapter,” she said.

Bryant is a past San Diego Magazine contributing freelancer with previous articles about travel, food, wine, spirits and the arts.

She also has written about restaurants for Eater San Diego. For nearly five years, she wrote a cocktail column for Ranch & Coast Magazine. Her work was selected for inclusion in the Best American Travel Writing anthologies in 2020 and 2021.

She has covered San Diego for Bisnow, reviewed film festivals for The San Diego Union-Tribune and served as lifestyle editor at JustLuxe and the editor of Luxury Living International.

However, in recent years, her passion has been the cannabis beat, which has included the cannabis business, culture, criminal justice, science, product and consumer information and policy. She has written about cannabis legalization and the profession for MJBizDaily, Voice of San Diego, San Francisco Chronicle, Leafly, California Leaf, Different Leaf High Times, Sierra, Playboy, Cannabis Now, Healthline, Uproxx, SF Gate, Forbes and others.

She has appeared in federal court as an expert witness on the cannabis plant and the Southern California cannabis industry. She has been a speaker at various conferences, including Roth Capital’s Women in Cannabis conference and a Coldwell Banker event on cannabis and commercial real estate.

Beginning in 2018, Bryant became the cannabis columnist for the now defunct San Diego CityBeat, where she met Seth Combs, former CityBeat editor-in-chief who joined San Diego Magazine as editor in chief in March 2022. San Diego City Beat ceased publishing in March 2020.

“After writing a lot about food, wine and travel, I threw all my eggs into cannabis writing and am proud to have nurtured that beat on a local, regional and national basis,” said Bryant.

Bryant also is a longtime colleage of Troy and Claire Johnson, who acquired San Diego Magazine in 2021 from Jim Fitzpatrick, who owned the magazine for 27 years. Troy, a longtime food writer who previously wrote for CityBeat, is also a TV personality who has appeared as a judge in more than 100 episodes of Food Network’s “Guy’s Grocery Games.”

“I’ve known Seth and Troy for several years and long admired their work. I’ve been watching how they’ve been changing the magazine in recent months,” Bryant said. “San Diego Magazine might be considered as old-time, legacy media, but we all know the media economy is changing and the magazine is active in multi-media, podcasting, video and social media. I’m excited to be part of the next phase of the magazine’s growth and direction.”

A native of New York, Bryant has lived in San Diego since 2014. “My ex-husband’s job brought me to this great city,” she said.

Bryant graduated in 2008 from Connecticut College in New London, Conn., where she double-majored in U.S. government and religious studies.

She succeeds Erica Nichols in the magazine’s managing editor role. Nichols had worked at the magazine for two years.

Raindrop Launches Sister Agency Mari + Gold for Hospitality

Raindrop Agency, a San Diego creative marketing agency, has launched a sister agency called Mari + Gold with expertise in the hospitality, tourism and lifestyle industries.

The Mari + Gold leadership team.

A Raindrop statement said Mari + Gold will serve several current Raindrop clients, including Jazzercise, Inc., Del Mar Racetrack, T S Restaurants, San Diego Symphony, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Brigantine Restaurants and Rubio Coastal Grill restaurants.

Mari + Gold will begin with a team of about 20 employees, many of whom are coming from Raindrop Agency and all with experience in hospitality, tourism and lifestyle industries. Raindrop has a staff of 77 employees, a spokesperson said.

Services will include brand planning and development, website planning, design and management, public relations, organic social media management, vertical video creation, influencer marketing, design, photography, email marketing and media planning and buying.

The word Mari is “sea” in Latin and gold inspires feelings of sun, warmth, joy and luxury. “The name Mari + Gold is meant to evoke vacation feelings and represent all things joyous, fun and sophisticated about its home city of San Diego and the industries in which the agency will specialize,” said the Raindrop statement.

Mari + Gold co-founders include three Raindrop executives: Jacques Spitzer, chief executive officer; Adam Wagner, chief operations officer; Carrie Jones, chief communications officer. President of Mari + Gold will be Nicole Bushnell, former chief marketing officer of Punch Bowl Social and Garden Fresh Restaurants. Bushnell is a former Raindrop client.

“In my years as a chief marketing officer, Raindrop was my agency of choice. The team’s passion, partnership and quality of work is unmatched,” said Bushnell. “I’m thrilled to bring my industry experience and client perspective to Mari + Gold and offer the highest level of creative marketing and agency partnership to brands across the country.”

According to Jones, “We’re thrilled to now offer a holistic and specialized agency partner for hospitality, tourism and lifestyle clients. After years of diversifying clientele and services at Raindrop, we created Mari + Gold to deliver a tailored client experience by our team of talented experts who live and breathe these industries. We’re excited for the opportunities this new chapter brings for Mari + Gold’s passionate, dedicated team to help clients in these industries thrive in today’s market.”

Radio Listening Helps Dieters Lose Weight

Radio and its many music formats can help dieters achieve their weight loss goals, according to report from The Media Audit.

As reported by Insider Radio, an industry trade publication, the musical environment created by radio allows dieters to concentrate on their health regime, including cooking and exercise, with fewer distractions. Also, radio connects advertisers to an often-affluent audience ready to spend dollars to lose pounds and live a healthier lifestyle.

“Because radio reaches many demographics of dieters, it can be a very effective and efficient medium for advertisers selling a wide variety of products for dieters,” said Nick Miller of The Media Audit. “From more healthy choices at the supermarket to exercise and other sporting goods equipment to apparel for physical activities to health club memberships, radio connects advertisers with the increasing number of adults dedicated to being healthier.”

The report said dieting has a broad appeal across all four primary generational groups, including Gen-Zers, Millennials, Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers. Heavy exposure to radio of more than three hours during the average day strongly correlates with the three youngest generations of dieters, the report said.

San Diego Press Club Presents Freelancers Panel

The San Diego Press Club will present “Going Independent,” a free webinar featuring a panel of three freelance journalists, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 3, over Zoom. The public is invited to attend.

The freelancers, including Jackie Bryant, Jodi Ettenberg and Mike Sowden, will discuss tools and resources available to independent journalists, including the Substack and Patreon platforms for newsletter creators, as well as how to build a paid following.

Bryant, author of the “Cannabitch” newsletter, has specialized in the cannabis beat. She was recently named managing editor of San Diego Magazine.

Ettenberg, a former lawyer, writes content for her website titled “Legal Nomad.” Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, National Geographic, BBC Travel and The Guardian. After a lumbar puncture left her disabled in 2017, she also writes about curiosity, resilience and the challenges of life changes.

Sowden, a travel writer, also writes a paid newsletter about the science of curiosity titled “Everything is Amazing.”

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.


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