Jacqui Banaszynski first heard of JAWS in the 1980s through Glenda Holste of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. She finalized reservations and ticket purchases with the intent to attend the annual camp but each time breaking news foiled her plans and she could only watch JAWS from a distance. It was not until 2013 that she finally got the chance to participate in camp when giving a presentation. She said that compared to other journalism groups, JAWS is nurturing toward young female journalists and is characterized by relationships that seem authentic and warm rather than structured and formal.
Jacqui grew up in a remote part of Wisconsin to a blue-collar family. Her dream was to get out of the small farming village and travel the world in search of hard news. Once she started working at several papers, she was not hesitant of continually challenging the status quo and demanding equal opportunity to serious news work. Her success in journalism came at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, when a woman editor/mentor offered her an assignment in Africa and the published works became a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in international reporting. Several years later in 1988, at the same publication, Jacqui went on to win a Pulitzer in feature writing. Her subsequent journalism career included stints at The Oregonian and The Seattle Times before she got hired as the Knight Chair in Editing at the Missouri School of Journalism. Now as a professor, she reflects on the young generation’s work world that provides slightly better opportunities for women journalists.
This three and half hour oral history interview with Jacqui was conducted at the Missouri School of Journalism on November 14 and November 20, 2013.
( This interview was conducted by Yong Volz )