JEFF JONES is the Engagement Editor for the Public Insight Network at American Public Media. He’s produced radio programs for Minnesota Public Radio News since 2003 — starting his career by “translating” wire stories to broadcast copy in 15-second increments.
He produced and directed MPR’s “All Things Considered” with host Tom Crann from 2006 to 2010, mixing national stories with regional news and features. He has edited hundreds of broadcast interviews, but the most memorable feature “regular folks” who had surprising stories to tell.
Jones strongly believes that places have stories, too. So he created MPR Sound Point, a mobile phone-based audio tour of interesting places in Minneapolis and Duluth that gives listeners a chance to “talk back” via the Public Insight Network.
Jones has also worked for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Session Weekly Magazine and Twin Cities Public Television. He loves road tripping to new urban neighborhoods and to isolated National Parks. And he’s proud that every paragraph here takes 15 seconds to read.
NEAL KARLEN has written on topics from politics to pop culture as a former Associate Editor at Newsweek, Rolling Stone Contributing Editor, and regular contributor to the New York Times. His work has appeared in publications ranging from The New Yorker to the fanzine The Squealer. He is the author of seven books on topics ranging from punk rock to minor league baseball to Chasidic Jews, collaborated with Prince on a rock opera (“The Dawn”) and with Henny Youngman on the vaudeville comic’s autobiography (“Take My Life, Please.”) Karlen has a rabbit named Bunny Lebowski, named for the heroine of the Coen brothers film “The Big Lebowski.”
Speaking of the Coens, here is a 2009 Washington Post article about Karlen shamelessly laying siege to the publicity-averse brothers in search of an interview (and perhaps a part in their film, “A Serious Man.”)
There is also the 2003 “Lives” essay from The New York Times Magazine on what it was like for Karlen to live for a year in John Dillinger’s most notorious hideout, and The New York Times op-ed on the meaning of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead at the time of his death. Karlen loved Jerry, but received death threats from Deadheads. He agrees with Lenny Bruce’s dictum that there is nothing more pathetic than an aging hipster.
JEFF SEVERNS GUNTZEL (publicinsightjeff.tumblr.com) has reported from the Middle East and points all over the United States for a cadre of publications and news organizations that are not usually mentioned in the same sentence, including Punk Planet Magazine, National Catholic Reporter, City Pages, MinnPost and GOOD. He also did time as an editor at Utne Reader. Severns Guntzel once house sat for Studs Terkel. The house was robbed of its television under his watch. This means something, but it’s not clear what.
If he could make you read three things he’s written, it would be this profile of a forensic anthropologist (because the man is amazing), this brief history of Twin Cities hair metal (because hair metal is a legitimate form of artistic expression) and this musing on Baghdad before and after the 2003 invasion (because the author is a little bit haunted by Iraq).
JACQUI BANASZYNSKI had aspirations to be an athlete, an architect and an airline pilot. But she came of age before women were given equal rights to the playing field, shop class or the cockpit. So she joined the high school newspaper staff, got the keys to the school car … and it turned out just fine.
Banaszynski has reported from all seven continents, including Antarctica. She has covered beauty pageants and popes, dogsled expeditions and refugee camps, war zones and welfare and workplace issues — not to mention a few thousand planning commission and sewer board meetings.
She won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in feature writing for an intimate series on a gay farm couple dying of AIDS, was a finalist for the 1986 Pulitzer Prize in international reporting for on-the-ground coverage of the Ethiopian famine, and won the Associated Press Sports Editors’ deadline reporting award for coverage of Greco-Roman wrestling (not a sport she aspired to) at the 1988 Olympics. Not much of her writing work is archived online (she is, after all, d’une certaine age) but you can get a peek at the AIDS series.
As an editor, Banaszynski has directed several award-winning projects ranging from features to business to investigations. She now is a Knight Chair professor at the Missouri School of Journalism, an editing fellow at The Poynter Institute, and coaches reporters, writers and editors around the world. As the Collaborations Editor for the Public Insight Network’s new reporting venture, she is eager to add some new-age juice to a journalists’ most important skill: listening.
ANNA WEGGEL has worked with the Public Insight Network since 2008 and she can’t imagine journalism without it.
She first learned about the PIN in a college course at the University of Minnesota and had a feeling it wasn’t the last she’d be hearing about this groundbreaking way to engage sources. Seeing the same sources over and over in print, on air, online, and even in her own student newspaper, she longed to become part of a team that was helping people who aren’t usually heard in the news find their voice.
After receiving a B.A. in journalism, Weggel internship-hopped through seven newsrooms including The Pioneer Press, Mother Jones, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. She is currently a Public Insight Analyst, telling stories informed and inspired by the PIN and training and mentoring partner PIN newsrooms across the country.
Her non-work life is held hostage by the stage — where she performs improv comedy, shows with her band, and a cappella musicals.