Jesse worked for newspapers and radio stations in Kentucky and Louisiana before moving to Florida in 1954. Between 1954 and 1978, he worked as a publisher in Florida for the Punta Gorda Herald, Boca Raton News, Cocoa TODAY and the Pensacola News Journal.
Jesse served as president of the Florida Press Association twice, once in 1959 when it was a weekly newspaper organization and again in 1966 after it became a weekly and daily newspaper organization. He was tireless in his commitment to FPA and was a major factor in the emergence of FPA as a strong, single statewide association representing all the newspapers in the state.
He worked diligently throughout his career to help bring Florida journalism education to the national forefront and provided dedicated support and leadership for numerous projects to this end.