Jacqui Banaszynski is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who teaches and coaches other storytellers — student and professional journalists, corporate and academic communicators, advocates in the field, the information gatherer on the line and the visionary leader in the top office. After 30 years in newspapers, she is the Knight Chair Professor at the prestigious Missouri School of Journalism and Editing Fellow at The Poynter Institute, a world-renowned school for professional journalists.
Jacqui spent 20 years as a reporter at newspapers in the Upper Midwest and Pacific Northwest, writing about public safety and dairy princesses, workplace issues and women’s rights, environmental battles and sporting events, dogsledders and refugees of famine and war. While at the St. Paul Pioneer Press her series “AIDS in the Heartland” ~ an intimate look at the life and death of a gay farm couple ~ won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in feature writing. She was a finalist for the 1986 Pulitzer in international reporting for coverage of the Ethiopian famine and won the national AP Sports Editors deadline award with a story from the 1988 Summer Olympics. In 2008 she was named to the Feature Writers Hall of Fame.
Jacqui has directed and edited several national award-winning projects, including a groundbreaking series on the global economy, an investigative series on the failure of public defense and policy-changing stories about social services, health and education. A project she directed on HIV/AIDS in Africa won six national and international awards; it became the centerpiece of a traveling exhibit about HIV prevention and was cited by President George W. Bush when he signed a major aid package to fight the disease. Numerous student stories she directed have won Hearst Awards, considered the Pulitzer Prize of college journalism. Interviewed regularly for her storytelling expertise, listen to Jacqui on NPR (http://www.wuwm.com/programs/lake_effect/le_sgmt.php?segmentid=6697).
Among her non-newspaper clients: Microsoft Inc; National Public Radio; Thomson-Reuters Inc. financial journalists; communications staff at Johns Hopkins University, the University of Georgia, North Dakota State University and Hong Kong Baptist University; the national association of university of alumni magazine editors; the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE), which represents more than 400 professional communicators, educators and information technologists around the world; the national Community College Leadership Forum.
Jacqui was raised in a Wisconsin farm village and earned her journalism degree in 1974 from Marquette University. She has extensive international experience as a reporter, editor and teacher, working with stories and storytellers from Canada to Chile to China, from Antarctica to emerging democracies in Eastern Europe, from Minnesota’s Iron Range to wartime Iraq. As far as she has roamed, she continues to believe in the beauty of Lake Superior, the enduring metaphor of the Green Bay Packers and the power of true stories to connect across time, culture and conflict.