The experience of writing a news article was a completely new concept for me. Along with originating interesting and detailed ideas, I wasn’t quite sure how to define what makes a topic appealing to others. I decided to make the task less daunting by asking myself a few simple questions. What topics interest me? What topics of conversation do students commonly talk about? And the last, can you name concepts or programs that faculty have spoken about on campus?
My first idea came out of pure luck. I practically stumbled right into it while attending a class for innovation scholars at the University of Utah. We were given the chance to tour the Marriott Library and learn about different projects it sponsors for students on campus. One in particular caught my attention. It is called the “U and You” project, which is located in the Digital Scholarship Lab and had just been introduced.
This new program is ingenious and inventive. It includes both the interests of students and staff on campus. The idea is to give students the opportunity to record their individual stories while attending the University of Utah. After the stories have been digitally recorded, they will then become transcribed into a social networking website and archived at the library for students in the years to come. It also has great potential to shape University of Utah policy and can give administrators a better idea of individuals attending the university.
This program touched on several of my questions for story ideas and definitely piqued my interest. The next step became tackling my fear of the interviewing.
Once I had contacted the appropriate students and advisors involved with the “U and You’ program, I made sure to read as much as possible regarding interviewing skills. My main concern was that the information would come up short.
But once I had completed the interviews, asking several follow-up questions, I found that it wasn’t lack of information that would be a struggle but keeping my own opinion out the article.
Once again I stumbled upon new problems I hadn’t anticipated.
I believe that with each new story journalists investigate, they face new problems and emotions that can feel unexpected. It’s been a great learning experience for me to tackle these issues as I trudge down the path to becoming a better communicator.
Jessica Anderson, 24, is a communication student at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. She transferred to the U in August 2011 from Salt Lake Community College and is enjoying the new experience.
She is currently involved at the University of Utah as an innovative scholar and received an internship for the 2011-2012 academic year working in the student recruitment office. As a recruitment intern she has had the opportunity to explore and learn about several different departments, majors and activities available on campus.
Jessica is an avid traveler and has recently just moved back to Utah from Washington, D.C., where she and her husband, Jon, were able to explore the East Coast and its rich diversity. In the summer of 2012, they plan to attend a study abroad program in Siena, Italy, where they will take language intensive classes.
As much as she loves getting away, Jessica loves a variety of activities that Utah has to offer: concerts in Deer Valley, the Sundance Film Festival, snowboarding in Park City and boating at Bear Lake. But she said, “Nothing beats the feel and sound of a crowd at Utah football game, GO UTES!”