Quick facts about Jessica Mudditt
I am an Australian/British citizen with a passion for travel, culture and literature
I have lived and worked as a journalist in Myanmar since July 2012
Before that I spent three years in Bangladesh honing my journalism skills after being accredited as a newspaper journalist in London
I love travelling, writing, running, reading and animals
The extended bio…
I grew up in Melbourne’s safest suburb of Park Orchards and studied Arts/Law at Monash University. I realised quite early on in my degree that practicing law wasn’t for me, but for better or worse (I daresay worse) I didn’t wake up to the fact that it was journalism I wanted to pursue until several years later. The epiphany came right at the end of year spent travelling through Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, China, Nepal, India and Pakistan. During the very last days of my trip I visited the Pakistan War Museum in Rawalpindi, where a not-so-scary military official invited me into his office for a cup of tea. Without thinking, I proceeded to blurt out question after (innocent!) question – and at one point he stopped me and said, “Are you a journalist?”
I wasn’t, obviously, but the fact that he thought I might be felt like the highest of compliments. I landed in London a few days later determined to work out how people like myself turn themselves into journalists. I started attending night school journalism classes at SOAS while working for a government agency that was involved in all things teaching. Towards the end of the course, our lecturer mentioned the possibility of becoming accredited as a newspaper journalist by the UK’s National Council for the Training of Journalists. I completed the intensive six-month course (shorthand and all) that same year, which was 2009. But the problem was that I couldn’t convert my multiple internships at newspapers in London into actual paid work as a reporter. Local newspapers seemed to be folding every other week. A newspaper that I’d been interning with for the best part of a year suddenly issued its staff reporters with laptops and asked them to file stories remotely from parks and coffee shops, as rent overheads had become untenable.
I shot out an email requesting a six-month internship in Bangladesh with The Daily Star. My request was granted and I moved to Dhaka in November 2009.
I spent the next three years living in Bangladesh. Dhaka’s booming media scene gave me the chance to establish myself as a journalist: the opportunities were vast and the stories and sources were out-of-this-world (more about that in my book). Before I’d completed my internship with The Daily Star I was offered a position as special corespondent at The Independent, a national English language daily newspaper.
It was also in Dhaka that I met my husband of three years, Sherpa, who started off as my translator. For the past two years Sherpa’s headed up Myanmar Business Today as its editor-in-chief. We live in Thuwana with our Bangladeshi cat Butters, an adopted street dog called Ripley and two very large tortoises called Colombo and Kandi.
Playing dress-ups with my sister-in-law and cousin in Bangladesh…
We moved to Myanmar in July 2012 as I was offered a job with The Myanmar Times. I joined the weekly newspaper as a sub-editor and later became features editor. I quickly developed a fascination for all things Myanmar.
After some 15 months with The Myanmar Times I switched to full-time freelancing. This gave me a free reign to pursue the stories I’d longed to chase. My feature articles were published in Mizzima, DVB, Irrawaddy and IRIN News – as well as an assortment of travel, lifestyle and trade magazines. I also worked as a part-time sub-editor at the first privately owned English daily newspaper, Myanma Freedom Daily, until it suspended publication in April 2014.
I started working at the British Embassy in Yangon in September 2014. The role is a six month consultancy as UK Trade and Investment’s project manager – a truly excellent opportunity. As a result, I’ve retired from journalism until March 2015.