Jacqui Banaszynski, Journalism

Jacqui Banaszynski, Journalism

JACQUI BANASZYNSKI has worked in news and enterprise journalism for more than 40 years, and teaches students and professionals around the world. She is a Knight Chair Professor Emerita at the Missouri School of Journalism and a faculty fellow at the Poynter Institute. While at the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press, her series “AIDS in the Heartland” won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in feature writing. In 1986, her eyewitness account of the African famine was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting.  Projects she has reported or edited have won national awards for business, investigative, social issues, environmental, human interest and sports reporting.

Banaszynski will be presenting at an AHP conference for the third time.

“I loved her!! I loved how she shared her experiences, talked with us like we were comrades and openly answered everything we asked.” MEGAN ARSZMAN


MASTER CLASS: Character, Scene and Sensory Detail

 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. / 11 a.m. – noon

Think of writing as riding. You can read about it, understand the theory, appreciate the skill, even learn to tack up. And all that is useful. But until you climb on the horse and get it moving, you aren’t riding. Writing is the same way. You can be a great reader (and need to be, I think, to be a good writer), an avid student of the craft and even a good flyspeck editor. But until you face that paper or screen and get your fingers moving, you aren’t writing.

In this “master class” session, you’re going to get on the horse.

We will spend the morning in a deep-dive, practicing the most essential elements of strong storytelling: character development, scenic action and sensory detail. Come prepared to stretch. We’ll do short, fun and creative exercises that will let you put those elements to work – and show you what a good writer you already are.

NOTE: Bring a notepad and pen (or laptop, but writing practice in longhand has advantages), an open mind and a willingness to stretch. This is not a competitive or critical environment, but a safe place to explore. And if you fall off the horse, we’ll help you right back on. 



9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Muscular Writing: Verbs and Sentence Structure

The most important tool in strong, tight, clear writing is the verb. We’ll explore the incredible utility of the verb, and how vibrant, active verbs can create lean, mean sentences that power up your stories.

SUGGESTED: Bring a couple of pieces of your own writing for self-critique and rewrite practice.

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Detail and Description: Writing for the Mind’s Eye

The best writing helps readers see and sense. And that requires specific images that transform the written word to a visual story. We’ll examine the difference between generic, abstract language – adjectives and descriptions that are flabby or vague – and concrete descriptions that show character, place and action.

SUGGESTED: Bring a couple of pieces of your own writing for self-critique and rewrite practice. The best pieces would be profiles or events stories.



One-on-one Coaching Sessions with Jacqui Banaszynski