Training: Perfecting Personality Profiles

by February 5, 2014

Photo by Graham Milldrum

The two-day webinar, Perfecting Personality Profiles, was held Feb. 5-6, 2014.

To make your beat coverage more accessible and engaging, focus on people – those in positions of power or influence, and those who consume goods and services, work for wages and pay taxes.

Good profiles go beyond resumes and predictable accomplishments. Done well, they can reveal personality, character and motivation. They bring the people and the passion behind the numbers to life.

In two, one-hour sessions, Pulitzer winner Jacqui Banaszynski explores the characteristics of memorable and accurate profiles, while offering a range of profile approaches that can suit your purpose, publication and audience. She also dives more deeply into the reporting and writing techniques that can help any beat reporter pursue sparkling profiles.


HOUR ONE: The Why, What and Who of Profiles

  • How personality profiles inform and elevate business-beat coverage
  • How to identify good profile subjects
  • The core characteristics of good profiles
  • A range of profile types

HOUR TWO: The How of Profiles

  • Access and sourcing of profiles
  • Best practices of reporting for profiles
  • Effective writing structures for writing profiles
  • Alternative profile approaches and structures
Jacqui Banaszynski

Jacqui Banaszynski


Pulitzer Prize-winner Jacqui Banaszynski is the Knight Chair in Editing at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She worked as a projects editor at The Oregonian in Portland and at the St. Paul Pioneer Press in Minnesota. While at the 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 and a national Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Her coverage of the African famine was a finalist for the 1986 Pulitzer Prize in international reporting. Her deadline story from the 1988 Summer Olympics won the national AP Sports Editors contest. She spent 18 years as a beat reporter and take-out writer at newspapers in the Northwest and the Midwest. Banaszynski has also taught at the Poynter Institute, the University of Kansas and the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. She has served four times as a juror for the Pulitzer Prizes.

Banaszynski, a native of a Wisconsin farm village, is a 1974 graduate of Marquette University.


Review the session materials below for tips on how to infuse your beat coverage with engaging profiles.

Session recordings

PowerPoint presentations