Chris Jones is an award winning writer-at-large for Esquire US, and a contributing editor for ESPN: The Magazine.
He began his career as a boxing writer for the National Post in Toronto. This is also the subject of his first book, Falling Hard: A Rookie's Year in Boxing (2007). In 2005, he won the National Magazine Award for Feature Writing for Home, a story about three astronauts stranded on the International Space Station when the shuttle Columbia exploded. In 2010, he won his second National Magazine Award for The Things That Carried Him, a heartbreaking story that chronicled the return of the body of Sgt. Joe Montgomery from Iraq to Scottsburg, Indiana.
His work has also appeared in the Best American Magazine Writing, Best American Sports Writing, and Best American Political Writing anthologies.
When you say four thousand dead, that doesn’t really mean anything. It's just a number. You can dismiss it. But if you start getting into names and faces and you see the mom and you eat pot roast with her, and you drink beer with their friends, and you listen to the guys who carried him back talking about the blood on their uniforms – you can’t dismiss it. And that’s just one. That’s just one.
Mike Sager is an award-winning reporter and bestselling writer. He has worked as a writer-at-large for Esquire US for almost 15 years. A former staff writer at The Washington Post and contributing editor of Rolling Stone and writer-at-large for GQ, Sager has also written for Vibe, Interview and Playboy. In 2010 he won the American Society of Magazine Editors' National Magazine award for profile writing, for The Man Who Never Was.
Sager has written about the Wonderland Murders, heroin addicts, Vietnam veterans, a 625 pound man, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Some of his articles have inspired Hollywood films. He has published three collections of articles: Scary Monsters and Super Freaks (2003), Revenge of the Donut Boys (2007) and Wounded Warriors (2008). His first novel, Deviant Behavior, was published in 2008. Sager also co-wrote the autobiography of Mötley Crüe front man, Vince Neil.
Sager has read and lectured at Columbia University, New York University, the University of Illinois, the University of Missouri, and the University of California, Irvine. His work is included in college textbooks.
Though I came to journalism for the stories, for something to write about, I have reaped much more. I am who I am today because of journalism – a man crafted by his craft, as it were: a found-art assemblage of disparate notions and sensibilities and odd, useless tidbits of information, all of it collected form the multitude of lives through which I have been allowed to pass, all of it welded helter-skelter onto the framework of the twenty-year-old kid who waded out into the real world 27 years ago with a Radio Shack micro-cassette recorder in hand to report hist first piece as a pro: a story about a man who lived on a diet of wild plants. You have to start somewhere, no?
Walt Harrington was a staff writer for The Washington Post Magazine for nearly 15 years. He is the winner of twenty local, state and national journalism awards. Editors at The Washington Post nominated Harrington’s work three times for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing.
Over the years, Harrington has written benchmark profiles of George Bush, Jesse Jackson, Jerry Falwell, Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, Carl Bernstein and former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove, as well as many in-depth articles on ordinary men and women.
His latest book, The Everlasting Stream: A True Story of Rabbits, Guns, Friendship, and Family, is the story of what Harrington learned during his 15 years of rabbit hunting with his father-in-law and his Kentucky country friends. Harrington is also the author of Crossings: A White Man’s Journey Into Black America, and of two collections of stories: American Profiles: Somebodies and Nobodies Who Matter and At the Heart of It: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives. His book, Intimate Journalism: The Art and Craft of Reporting Everyday Life, is a guide for journalists wishing to write literary journalism.
Harrington holds master’s degrees in journalism and sociology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is currently the journalism department head and a professor of journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He speaks regularly to professional journalist groups and in newsrooms on the reporting and writing techniques of literary journalism.
If you yearn to do this kind of journalism, I suggest you demand it — of your newspapers and magazines, editors and reporters — but mostly of yourselves. That’s what’s so empowering about print journalism. You don’t need elaborate equipment — no lights or cameras or sound booms. You don’t need great resources — no grants or big advances. You often don’t even need permission from The Powers That Be. You can go and assign the story. Or if you’re a reporter, you can go report and write the story. Each time you do, the depth of the response from your readers will amaze you, your confidence will grow and you will want to do it again because this kind of journalism is simply closer to human truth than what most journalists do. You will feel that closeness when you accomplish it. And once felt, you’ll want to feel it again and again.
Jacqui Banaszynski is a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter who now holds the Knight Chair in Editing at the Missouri School of Journalism and is on the visiting faculty of The Poynter Institute. She has worked as a reporter and editor for more than 30 years, most recently as Associate Managing Editor of the The Seattle Times.
She has traveled to all seven continents, including Antarctica. She has covered beauty pageants and popes, AIDS and the Olympics, dogsled expeditions and refugee camps. She was a finalist for the 1986 Pulitzer in international reporting for coverage of the Ethiopian famine. While at the St. Paul 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.
She has edited several award-winning projects, and leads workshops for editors and reporters around the world. This is her third visit to Romania.
Stories are our prayers. Write and edit them with due reverence. Stories are parables. Write and edit and tell yours with meaning. Stories are history. Write and edit and tell yours with accuracy and understanding and context and with unwavering devotion to the truth. Stories are music. Write and edit and tell yours with pace and rhythm and flow. Stories are our soul. Tell them as if they are all that matters.
Travis Fox is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and journalist. He worked as a videojournalist at The Washington Post before starting Travis Fox Films, which produces video journalism and documentaries for outlets such as PBS Frontline.
In the 10 years he spent at the Post, Fox covered every major conflict in the first decade of the 21st century. He was in Iraq during the invasion, had tours in Afghanistan as well as several reporting trips in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. During this time, Fox was recognized for helping establish a new form of multimedia storytelling on the internet.
In 2006, Fox received the first Emmy Award presented to a web video producer. He was also the first and only person to win both the Editor of the Year and Videographer of the Year awards from the White House News Photographers Association. He has won dozens of National Press Photographers Association and Pictures of the Year International awards and has been nominated for a total of eight Emmys.
Fox graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism and is an adjunct professor at Columbia University.
Alex Tizon is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and faculty member at the University of Oregon. He is a former longtime staff writer for the Seattle Times, and a contributor to Newsweek, 60 Minutes and Sierra magazine. His first book, Big Little Man, is scheduled for release in the fall of 2012.
His stories have covered aspects of some of the biggest news events in recent times, including the 9/11 attacks, the war in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina. He has written profiles on heads of state, activists, murderers and poets. His reporting has taken him to every corner of the United States, and to Canada, China, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines and the Arctic Ocean.
Tizon was a regular guest faculty at the Poynter Institute for ten years. His lectures at Harvard’s Nieman Narrative Journalism Conference were anthologized in the book, Telling True Stories.
He earned an undergraduate degree in Political Science at the University of Oregon and a graduate degree in Communications at Stanford. Filipinas magazine named him among the 100 most noteworthy Filipino Americans of the 20th century.
This is his second visit to Romania.
Every story has a protagonist who wants something, and must work through a series of obstacles to obtain it. Every good story, and every great profile, is a quest. The quest can be simple: to escape boredom, to get the girl, to win the money, to redeem oneself, to avenge something. [...] Somewhere in the tangle of the subject’s burden and the subject’s desire is your story.
Starlee Kine is a radio producer, writer, and pop culture critic. She has produced stories for This American Life and has written for The New York Times Magazine. She is currently working on a book about self-help titled, It IS Your Fault.
In 1997, Starlee was interviewed by This American Life’s Paul Tough for a segment about her relationship with her Ukrainian neighbor who thought Kine was a drug dealer. This meeting turned her into a fan of the show and, two years later, she was working there as an intern and, later, as a producer. Her best known stories involved writing a break-up song with Phil Collins’ help, or encouraging her parents to divorce.
She has taught classes in radio, and co-created The Post-It Note Reading Series, a collection of staged reading events with illustrator Arthur Jones.
Pat Walters is a producer for the National Public Radio’s show Radiolab. He has written for The New York Times Magazine, Discover and Popular Science, among others, and he's a contributor to Pop Up Magazine, (the world’s first live magazine), Longshot Magazine (a 48-hour journalism experiment) and The Atavist (a multimedia magazine for the iPad).
Radiolab is a show featuring real stories that blend science, philosophy, and human experience. In 2007, Radiolab received a National Academies Communication Award "for their imaginative use of radio to make science accessible to broad audiences.” In 2010 the program got a George Foster Peabody Award for broadcast excellence.
He holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Memphis, and he's a former National Geographic explorer. This is his second time in Romania.
Evan Ratliff is founder and editor of The Atavist, a storytelling platform for the digital age. He is a contributing writer to Wired, The New Yorker and National Geographic, and the story editor for Pop-Up Magazine.
In 2009, he conducted an experiment for Wired, during which he was supposed to disappear and the readers had to find him. The resulting story, Vanish, was a finalist for the National Magazine Award for Feature Writing.
His stories were published in many anthologies, including The Best of Technology Writing 2006 and 2010, and The Best American Nonrequired Writing 2010. He is a co-author of Safe: The Race to Protect Ourselves in a Newly Dangerous World.