Lisa Bannon

Bannon’s journalism career spans the world from Los Angeles to Milan

Written by Maia Anderson
CAS Intern
Lisa Bannon

When Lisa Bannon, a class of 1982 graduate, began her time at Miami she was, like many students, unsure of what she wanted her future to look like.

Bannon’s first major at Miami was zoology. After several changes, she decided to take classes based on her own personal interests to figure out what her true passions were.

She found herself taking classes in English and political science, and at the end of her sophomore year, met with a school counselor who advised her to declare both as her majors.

A Formative Experience

According to Bannon, the most influential experience of her time as an undergraduate at Miami was studying abroad through the Luxembourg program.

“That was kind of a transformative experience for me where I kind of was exposed to the world for the first time,” says Bannon. “It shaped my interests for the rest of my life.”

While in Luxembourg, Bannon studied European literature, politics and art.

Due in part to her time in Luxembourg, Bannon later spent 10 years in Europe, living in both Paris and Milan. When she was sent overseas early on in her career, she had the advantage of having already lived in Europe.

Not only did the Luxembourg program provide educational opportunities, but she says it also gave her a life-long friend.

“We’ve gone through life together,” says Bannon, “The friendships I made at Miami are invaluable.”

From The Miami Student to The Wall Street Journal

While at Miami, Bannon worked as a writer for The Miami Student. She says this gave her some practical skills in the field of journalism.

Working for the student paper as well as the international experience she gained through the Luxembourg program were influential in landing her position at The Wall Street Journal.

“I have this job because I have international experience,” says Bannon. “Those two things were really important, and then when I got out of school, I was able to go to a newspaper and say ‘Hey, I know how to write a story’ and eventually was sent overseas and was able to say ‘Hey, I speak French and I already lived overseas for a year.’”

Bannon’s career after graduation began at a daily newspaper in Ohio called The Warren Tribune Chronicle. She worked her way up through the ranks over the years and moved from The Warren Tribune Chronicle to Fairchild News Service, which Bannon says was a stepping stone to her eventual position at The Wall Street Journal.

Through Fairchild, she worked in Toronto, Paris and Milan, and received the job offer for The Wall Street Journal while in Milan. After Milan, Bannon worked in Los Angeles, and eventually moved to New York, where she has lived since 2003 with her husband, National Geographic photographer George Steinmetz and their three children. She has worked at The Wall Street Journal as a reporter, writer, and editor.

Today, Bannon works as coverage chief for Life & Arts at The Wall Street Journal. She says she is responsible for overseeing the coverage of culture and society for the whole paper. In her position, she advises a group of reporters that write about topics from entertainment and the arts to health, travel, parenting, food, and technology’s impact on society.

"Lisa has become a real power player at the Journal, as one of five top editors there," said Patricia Gallagher Newberry, who visits offices of The Wall Street Journal with her NYC Media students each winter term. "Heading the Life & Arts staff seems to be the perfect fit for a Luxembourg grad who started her career in Italy and France."

When reflecting on her career in journalism Bannon describes it as “amazing.” She has held positions as everything from a foreign correspondent in Italy, to a senior writer in Los Angeles, and bureau chief in New York. She has also been an editor for Page One of The Wall Street Journal.

Looking at her future, Bannon says a return to writing would be the most fulfilling next step in her career.

“To be honest what would be fun for me for my next job would be to return to writing” says Bannon. “I think that would be a perfect end to my career would be to return to writing.”

Some Advice for the Future of Journalism

As someone who has worked in the field of journalism for a number of years, Bannon has several pieces of wisdom for budding journalists. Most important, according to Bannon: Take every opportunity you can get.

“Try to get practical experience,” says Bannon. “Work at The Student, work in TV or media, work on blogs, work on anything you can.”

The Youngstown native also stresses the importance traveling and experiencing new cultures and people.

“Growing up in Ohio you're in the middle of the country and you're around people just like you. It’s important to get out of that and see the world as diverse.” Bannon has had a wildly successful career as a journalist, holding many positions and travelling all over the world. Thanks in part to her education at Miami, she was able to forge a fulfilling career in a field she says is the “most exciting profession there is.”

“Journalism is more important than it’s ever been,” says Bannon, “It's hard to navigate, but it’s a very noble profession. You’ll never regret being a journalist.”