• Jennifer 8. Lee

    Co-founder of Plympton. Film Producer.

    Seed Investor. Author. Journalist. Emoji Activist

  • Work

    I'm cofounder of a literary studio called Plympton, which focuses on innovation and publishing. I wrote a book and produce documentaries. I work where technology x journalism with Hacks/Hackers. I also have co-led a Y Combinator Demo Day seed fund for Angel List. Once upon a time I was the youngest full reporter for The New York Times. Now I'm a vice-chair of the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee. You can find an official bio here. Some of my projects are below.

    Emojination: The Dumpling and Hijab Emoji


    The Dumpling Emoji Project was a successful two-year campaign with Yiying Lu to bring dumpling representation to Unicode. From our efforts sprung Emojination, a grassroots group whose motto is "Emoji For the People, By The People." Emoji we have created are the hijab emoji, the bagel emoji and the lobster emoji. Backstory in Fast Company.

    The Search for General Tso (and other films)


    The Search for General Tso premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. Based on my book research, the documentary was directed by Ian Cheney and produced by me and Amanda Murray. Tso was released January 2, 2015 in theaters and has a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. I also help produce other films, which have appeared at the Sundance and SXSW Film Festivals.

    MisinfoCon (and the Credibility Coalition)

    February 2017

    MisinfoCon was a summit on misinformation at the MIT Media Lab in February 2017. It was one of the largest gatherings to focus on trust, verification, fact checking, and reader experience. Sponsors and hosts included Mozilla, Knight Foundation, Craig Newmark, the Nieman Foundation, and First Draft, among others. It has since given birth to the Credibility Coalition, an initiative to create a technical schema for assessing credibility on the Web.

    The Fortune Cookie Chronicles


    The Fortune Cookie Chronicles was my book about how Chinse food is actually all-American. It hit #26 on the New York Times Best Seller List and was featured on Colbert Report, Martha Stewart, TED.com, CNN, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, and NPR stations coast to coast. Plus it was a Borders Original Voices and Book Sense selections.

    Lincoln in the Bardo VR


    I was an executive producer of an immersive VR piece for The New York Times based on George Saunders' novel, Lincoln in the Bardo. The piece was directed by Graham Sack and was also produced by Sensorium. Read more about it in Variety.

    Recovering the Classics


    Recovering the Classics is a crowdsourced collection of original covers for great works in the public domain where anyone can contribute.The project was a collaboration between Plympton and the Creative Action Network. We partnered with the White House, the New York Public Library and the Digital Public Library of America.


    You can host your own local Recovering the Classics exhibit as part of our 50x50 campaign.



    NewsDiffs is a website that records changes to news organizations' websites. It was created in June 2012 at the Knight Mozilla hackathon at MIT with Eric Price (now a professor at University of Texas Austin). The project has received lots and lots of press attention.

  • Long Bio

    Jennifer 8. Lee is an entrepreneur, documentary producer, journalist, seed investor and emoji activist.


    She is co-founder and CEO of Plympton, a San Francisco-based literary studio that innovates in digital publishing. Among their projects is Recovering the Classics, and a VR film based on George Saunders' Man Booker Prize winning novel, Lincoln in the Bardo.


    A former New York Times reporter, Jenny is a producer of The Search for General Tso and Picture Character, both which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festivals,


    She is also the author of the New York Times-bestselling book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles (Twelve, 2008), which established fortune cookies are originally Japanese.

    Jenny's recent work focuses a lot on misinformation, having co-founded the Credibility Coalition and MisinfoCon. She is a co-chair of the World Economic Forum's Global Futures Council for Media, Entertainment and Culture.

    She is the founder of Emojination, a grassroots group whose motto is "Emoji by the people, for the people." As part of that organization, she successfully lobbied for a dumpling, hijab and interracial couple emojis among others. She cofounded Emojicon and is a vice-chair of the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee.


    Jenny has served as the lead judge for the $25 million Knight News Challenge, and on the launch team for Upworthy. She coined the term "man date."


    Jenny also serves on the the Center for Public Integrity, MuckRock Foundation, the Digital Public Library of America, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Hacks/Hackers and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Inside Climate News. She also serves on the committees for the New York Public Library Young Lions, the Robert F. Kennedy journalism awards, and SXSW programming.


    Jenny graduated with a degree in Applied Math and Economics from Harvard, where she was vice president of The Harvard Crimson. She then spent a year at Beijing University on fellowship.

  • Contact Me

    Questions? Comments? Feedback?

  • Elsewhere on The Interwebs