I know I’m a journalism nerd…but I am kind of star struck by Jacqui Banaszynski. In case you live in a box, she is a pulitzer prize-winning journalist who is now a print and digital faculty member at the Missouri School of Journalism.
I first read her work called “Aids in the Heartland” in one of my classes last year. It was a phenomenal piece of work, really everything you want a good story to be. If that wasn’t enough, she gave my reporting class some really useful advice about interviewing.
The gist of it is to not simply write questions, but consider the stakeholders in what you are reporting about. It may seem obvious, but by doing this, you can come up with a list of topics and potential sources, which is easier than writing questions cold. Broader topics give me the freedom to be conversational and natural.
I tried this trick today at an interview I did with the Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education, and it worked wonderfully. Not only did we cover a lot of ground for my assignment, but I didn’t feel overwhelmed or nervous. As an added bonus, the Assistant Superintendent said I sounded very informed about the goings-on in the district, which is a compliment for any new reporter in a new community.
It’s amazing enough to get to read Jacqui’s work and hear her talk about her experiences, but learning from her and working with her in my sequence is one of the things that makes me so happy I chose to study at the Missouri School of Journalism.
I feel like all I talk about lately is journalism, but truly…it’s consuming my life.