Post by HENRY ALLEN
The Beekeepers’ Association story wasn’t my first choice; initially, I had planned to write an article about the University of Utah’s scholarships for competitive video gaming. The video gaming article didn’t pan out well – I found myself completely uninterested in the topic. During one of my writing session for the article, I ended up calling my dad to take a break, and happened to mention some of the activities I’d done with the Beekeeping Association. My dad suggested switching my topic to something involving the Association, which ended up being a much more interesting topic. There had been articles written on the club before, but none that shaped up like mine.
Locating sources wasn’t a problem because I was already part of the Beekeeping Association – contacting Quaid (the student president of the club) and Ms. Sybul (the faculty adviser) for interviews was fairly simple and seemed like a no-brainer. For my third interview, I picked a fellow member of the club (Leota) who happened to be at a club event I attended.
Quaid and Ms. Sybul were the obvious interview choices because they’re the most knowledgeable members of the club and organize everything it does. They were able to answer pretty much any question I could come up with, and their answers actually held weight because the president and adviser can speak on behalf of the club. Interviewing Leota felt right because I wanted a few quotes from a regular member of the club who was relatively new, which allowed me to get a new member’s perspective.
I didn’t encounter any noteworthy obstacles while gathering information for the story. Frankly, the hardest part was writing it all together within the word limit. After I wrote my first draft, I had to go back and trim a bit of fat. It was pretty tricky to keep the article condensed, yet engaging and informative. I did encounter an ethical dilemma: it was difficult to prevent the story from becoming an advertising piece for the club. One example is a sentence I had to cut where I talked about where the Association sold its honey and lip balm – the club member part of me wanted to include it, but it always came off as an advertisement.
Deciding my focus came easily – I wanted to write an article about the club process, but with more emphasis on the club aspect; most of the other articles focused only on the bees. “Making sense” of the information wasn’t difficult because I took a chronological approach – I discussed information and events in the order that I’d experienced them as a new member of the club.
The writing process came quickly once I’d gathered all my interviews, assets, and information. My main issue was writing something that sounded good – I’m my biggest critic.
I did have one paragraph I had to take out of the story, where I described the honey extraction process – I ended up converting portions of it to captions on pictures, but it would be fun to write out a detailed description of the process on the blog.
Frankly, I was most surprised by my own interest in the story. I had expected the interviews and writing to be a slog, but I ended up enjoying the process immensely and found that I had too much to say about the subject.