Jacob W. Maxwell

Photo by Elizabeth Heaton



The problem I’ve noticed as a graduating student at the University of Utah is that colleges are academic cocoons. When is it the right time for us to leave the safety of the campus and flutter our wings in the cutthroat job market? In my senior year of college, teachers, peers and guidance counselors have turned into sales people for continuing education. For my slice of life article I decided that I would profile a recent graduate and how he was faring in the job market.

I found a recent graduate named Chris Jex at Brewvies, a cinema pub that I frequent. At that point he was very happy to have found a job one week prior to his graduation. He seemed to be very disheartened at the point of our first interview because he was working the same type of job that he had quit a few years back to concentrate on school.

An ironic twist to my story came when the subject of my profile, who works for local sports merchandise retailer Fanzz, described his absolute displeasure with professional sports.
He said, “I feel that organized sports are beneficial for society’s leisure but are also examples of our society’s misplaced priorities. When things like education, civil engagement take a back burner to an athlete snatching a rubber ball in the air I feel there is something wrong.”

I asked Chris why, then, did he take the job?

He was afraid that if he didn’t start working that he would start to get behind on living expenses and student loan debt. So he bit the bullet and took the best available job. I avoided talking about his initial dislike toward the industry he now works in because it started to detract from the story.

I also had to scrap an interview with Chris’ roommate Brad because it was based on taking an ironic angle to my story that I let go of to write a more clear and concise story. He did compare Chris working for Fanzz to Nick Naylor, a character in “Thank You for Smoking” who lobbies for major tobacco companies. Brad feels that Naylor’s famous quote, “everyone’s got a mortgage to pay,” is the reason Chris keeps going with his job.

With the three ideas I came up with for my enterprise story, I decided to focus my story on a mandate Brewvies Cinema Pub put in place to have its employees cover up their tattoos. When it came time to write the story, the mandate dissolved due to public pressure. However, when I was talking to Andrew Murphy, the pub’s manager, about the tattoo mandate, I found another story to write about.

Murphy talked about a fine that the pub received during the summer of 2011 for showing an R-rated film because it violated a state statute. When the story broke, it quickly received national attention. After a lengthy conversation, I asked him if he would be willing to go on record.

He agreed and gave me an exclusive into Brewvies’ take on the fine and the possible slippery slope that the precedence set by the violation could have in the future.

This happened so fast that I wasn’t sure where I was going with the story. I realized that my enterprise story could go multiple directions so I let my interviewees determine the direction I took it in.

I emailed Francine Giani, interim director of the DABC, to get her comments. She had taken over the DABC after the fine was given to clean the agency up after an audit revealed alleged illegal activity and extensive mismanagement of resources.

She gave a statement describing why the DABC went after Brewvies and cited the law it allegedly violated.

I found both her statement and the law she cited interesting because it looked like the DABC may have violated Brewvies’ First Amendment rights.

David Vergobbi, my third interview, agreed.  He said that any R-rated film falls under protected speech and Brewvies has grounds to fight the violation.

I learned that when writing about heated issues concerning education and alcoholic beverage control, it was difficult to keep my opinion out of the stories.

Also, in putting together these stories, I learned to keep my ear open during the development process for different angles to take my stories in.


Jacob “Jake” Maxwell is currently attending the University of Utah pursuing a Bachelor of Science in strategic communication. He plans to graduate in August 2012.

Maxwell always understood that his life’s journey would include higher education. Originally entering college as a political science major, his plans changed after taking an introduction to communication course at Salt Lake Community College from Philip Anoske, an instructor originally from Africa who taught an English speaking communication course using his third language. He also taught Maxwell that everyone has different ways of communicating and that by becoming aware of these factors; it would help us to become better communicators. Maxwell decided to take the challenge and learn how to be a better communicator.

Maxwell is a 2010 graduate of Salt Lake Community College with an Associate of Science in speech communications and graduated from Hillcrest High School in Midvale, Utah.

He is a windshield technician for Rock Doc Chip Repair LLC. in Salt Lake City.