Sophia Roney


Behind the curtain: Women in the U’s Theatre Department discuss underrepresentation


When it came time to decide on a story idea, my heart was set on developing one involving sports and mental health. However, as I searched for sources to interview, I was unlucky in my attempts. I lost my story. I became frightened and unsure as to what I should do next.

I consulted my professor and decided I should pursue another storyline. I immediately decided that my next story would be based in theater. I have a great fondness for theater and performing on stage. I was thrilled about the opportunity to speak with people with the same excitement for theater as I have.

As I searched for sources to interview, I knew the best place to locate them was in the University of Utah Department of Theatre. I was able to interview two professors and a student partaking in theater. The sources provided the best details about key elements in theater production.

Throughout the process of creating my article, I had to change course on what type of story I would write. Although the change of plans frightened me, I grew to connect with my article. Relating to the story with my own individual experiences allowed me to discover the focal point for the article, which is women in theater.

When I began the interview process, I interviewed each of my sources over Zoom. This proved to be a convenient way of communication because I could access my sources right from my living room. With this unique opportunity to receive their thoughts on theater, I wrote down notes throughout the process. As I compiled my thoughts, I discovered my focus. That brought me to the conclusion that women’s importance in theater would become the way I integrated each of the different interviews.

Gathering the women’s quotes became the way I began the writing process for the article. Once I established their thoughts, it helped me form an outline of how I perceived how the article would flow. I learned that the best way for me to write was to create a visual of the outline and set out all my notes in the order I wanted the information to be introduced. However, some details from the interviews did not make it into my final draft. These anecdotes were the connections I made with interviewees when discussing our mutual love for theater. With some we would connect over our appreciation for musicals such as “The Phantom of the Opera,” or “Les Misérables.” Overall, the effort put into the final product has become one of my most memorable experiences.


I am currently a full-time student at the University of Utah. I am majoring in Communication with an emphasis in journalism. I aspire to become a broadcast journalist. With this position in mind, I hope to bring to light important issues and entertain the audience while doing so. In my spare time, I enjoy skiing, running with my dogs, creating graphic designs, singing, and hanging out with friends and family.

Salma Abdalla


How society plays a role in the way Black women express vulnerability 


As a Black Muslim woman I have faced many difficulties due to things that were out of my control. These include health disparities, inheriting trauma from war, and living in America. The constant feeling of helplessness depleted my self-confidence and made me afraid to express who I was, all of which has manifested itself in many different ways.

I knew what I wanted to write about as soon as Professor Kim mentioned our enterprise story. I knew it would be different from what my classmates would be writing about. Because of the Black women around me, I was motivated to write about how society plays a role in our lives. At such an early age, we were taught not to show our weaknesses. There would be days when I was so overwhelmed that it showed physically, yet I would still go above and above for whoever came my way. Living in Utah didn’t help. Each day was a different experience. People were staring, pretending to speak broken English and being shocked when I responded in fluent English.

Once I knew the topic of my story, I knew it would be difficult to find a therapist because not many of them are experienced about what Black girls go through, which took a long time. Among the 10 therapists I emailed, only one responded. I found her on Instagram and contacted her privately. However, the conversation went smoothly and she thanked me for writing about this story as it is something society rarely acknowledges.

Fathi Kofiro and Sabrina Abdalla were excellent sources because they both know what it’s like and have experienced it themselves. They are on the other side of it, where they have to learn and unlearn and practice speaking up when something isn’t all right. My goal is to have every other Black girl be comfortable enough to speak up and out. I share my story to encourage others to practice being humble and kind to others. One can never be sure of what another person is going through. Being kind will open many doors in life. 


My name is Salma Abdalla I am a second-year University of Utah student. With a minor in Cognitive Science, I intend to major in Communication with an emphasis in Journalism. I am a first-generation African-American student.

My parents were born in Barawa, Somalia, and I was born in Salt Lake City. Somalia was engulfed in civil war in 1991, which has tragically continued to this day. In this turmoil of brutality, many families were killed or separated. My parents made the ultimate choice to flee the country to make sure we grew up in a safe environment. Living every day in Somalia was unpredictable; even waking up in the morning was a miracle. 

Being the youngest in the family with not just asthma but eczema, I had a lot of attention that wasn’t conducive to flourishing into a confident person. There were numerous times where I would have an asthma attack and all my mom knew how to do was pray because of her past traumatic experiences. As I have gotten older, I have come to realize that our circumstances do not define us nor are they a reflection of our abilities. Experiences are what make you who you are today. Growing up as a sick child I would be hospitalized 10 times a year. These extended hospital stays affected me physically, emotionally and academically. I have had to work twice as much as my peers. Whereas they tend to understand things as soon as they learn a concept, it often takes me longer. 

Witnessing their struggles has motivated me to always strive for the best. It has shown me that opportunities should never be taken for granted. Keeping this in mind, I made a vow to myself that I was going to take advantage of the opportunities that are provided to me. My heart melts and trembles every time I come across a person in difficulty, because I instantly remember the struggles my family and I have overcome. I want to continue helping people throughout my life and I have done that by joining organizations and leading community projects. I want to build strong foundations for people who need and deserve care. The fulfillment I get when helping people shows me the beauty of life.

Reflecting back on all the obstacles my family have been through, I am blessed to be where I am today. The struggles my parents faced reflects on the outcome of my abilities of being adaptable, erudite and always reaching for my goal. The happiness I get from accomplishing my goals is what pushes me to create bigger, daring goals. Goals of pursuing a career in journalism and social work. A quote that always keeps me motivated is, “if you can dream it, you can achieve it.” I believe I can achieve my goals of helping people and making a change. From then on, my boundaries are limitless and time will certainly tell.

Makena Klinge


Keeping the art of darkroom photography alive in a digital world


I can’t recall a specific time in my life when I fell in love with photography. It’s been more of a constant companion to me, a comfort in this crazy life, something I can always come back to. It’s dependable. It’s exciting. And most importantly, it’s a much-needed creative outlet for my restless mind that seems incapable of slowing down.

I didn’t grow up with a crazy amount of photography exposure. it was never a “hobby” to anyone in my family. Nevertheless, I was fascinated with it from a very young age. I think what got my attention in the first place was the idea behind capturing moments in life, of freezing pieces of time, of documenting memories in a tangible form that I can look back on in the future. When I take pictures, I feel like a type of magician. Like I’m doing voodoo. It’s exhilarating and it fills me with an unexplainable adrenaline – every time.

Since photography is always on my mind (more or less), it was a no-brainer to base my enterprise story on the topic. One area of photography that I’ve always been interested in but haven’t got around to really studying or practicing is darkroom photography – which is why it was perfect to dive into it for this story.

It was surprisingly easy to find sources for my story since I am currently in a photography class at the University of Utah – to fulfill my minor in photography – and most everyone I reached out to was very excited and willing to speak to me about my topic. The first person I contacted was my current photography professor, who was more than happy to help me out. Then I contacted the owner of the darkroom studio in Salt Lake City, who was also extremely nice and forthcoming with information. I only came across one hiccup with finding my third source, but I ended up reaching out to the president of the Photo Club at the U and he contributed perfectly to the direction of the story. I couldn’t be happier with the sources I got to communicate with for this project!

Overall, I had smooth sailing in this venture of playing journalist for the first time. Besides one source not responding and having to conduct one interview over email (due to busy schedules), it couldn’t have gone better. The only thing I struggled with was trying to narrow down all the information I collected and pick a focus. Which in all reality, is the best problem I could’ve had, so nothing too major to complain about.

The most important thing I learned through the writing process is that you just have to sit down and write. That’s all it takes! But boy did I struggle with just getting a story down on paper. I’m not a procrastinator, never have been, but for some reason this project intimidated me immensely. I think it’s the fact that I have absolutely zero experience in this type of writing, and it scared me because I just had to jump in and do it. Plus, the hardest part for me of any writing project is starting. I made it through though and came out realizing that it was easier than I thought. I just had to find the courage to begin and realize that everything would turn out just fine.

It was an interesting and great experience to learn more about a topic I’m interested in, in a journalist mindset. I’m grateful that I was forced (in a sense) to write a story like this, because I learned that I really love it. Which is good considering it’s the career field I plan to go into.


I’m a busy bee, I always need to be doing something.

Whether that’s photography, sports, reading, journaling, playing the ukulele, running, outdoor activities and spending time with family and friends. My faith in God is the biggest part of my life, and I try my best to live that out every day. I also really enjoy learning and school. At the University of Utah, I am studying journalism and international studies, along with a minor in photography.

I hope to work for a company like National Geographic as a traveling photographer/journalist at some point. My goal is to travel the world and experience all the different cultures and tell all the stories of everyone from everywhere. We all have stories to tell that can contribute to and change the world, I hope to be the one to tell them.

Jonathan Little


University of Utah esports


I came up with the idea for my story from a colleague of mine who said he had recently joined the esports team. Having heard nothing about this, I was highly intrigued and decided to learn more about the program. I have always played video games with friends growing up and was amazed that there are competitive environments on a collegiate level. The story idea was a perfect blend of the interest I already had coupled with the curiosity of esports.

Through my co-worker, I was able to get in touch with the three sources I used for the story. He helped me join the Utah esports discord server and from there I was able to contact players easily through the platform. I also researched a large amount about esports itself through multiple websites and published articles.

I decided to use these three sources in particular because they were each a part of different Utah esports teams. This way I was able to hear from three different sections of esports and not have my knowledge limited by just one or two of their teams. Additionally, all of my sources had been a part of their respective clubs for more than a year, so they were very familiar with the program.

At first, I struggled with the writing process because I was not sure how I wanted to build my lead and introduce the topic. After multiple drafts, I finally found the right way to start it off and the rest of the story flowed easily. My sources gave me great quotes to use, which helped to make the body and conclusion.

I was shocked to learn how popular esports is and how much money has been awarded at large tournaments. I am excited to see what the future has in store for this sport and how it will progress.


Jonathan Little was born in Las Vegas and lived there for 12 years before moving to Boise, Idaho, to graduate high school. After he graduated, Jonathan moved to Salt Lake City where he began studying at the University of Utah.

Jonathan is currently a fourth-year student studying communication with an emphasis in journalism. He found his passion for writing in high school when two of his English teachers opened his eyes to the joy of writing. He also found a passion for music after playing alto saxophone in his high school jazz band.

He hopes to one day work as an entertainment journalist for popular magazines like Rolling Stone, Billboard, or Genius. His dream is to combine his two interests into the perfect career in the music entertainment world.

Luke Magel


The importance of student organizations at the University of Utah


My enterprise story started out as a profile of a specific club at the University of Utah. However, my attempts to contact the president and vice president of the club failed. I shifted my focus to another club, but I did not receive any responses from that organization either. I tried to reach out to the associate director of student leadership and involvement so I could interview a member of the administration, but I did not hear back from them. I was not expecting contacting sources to be the most difficult aspect.

I finally received an email from Josh Olszewski, the student organizations coordinator, who had been sent my interview request by the other administrator. It was at this point that I decided to make my story about the importance of clubs at the university.

In our interview, Olszewski pointed me in the direction of the Women’s Outdoor Leadership Initiative and the University of Utah Beekeepers Association. Olszewski said these clubs were good representatives to contact. I managed to get in contact with the presidents, Emma Taylor and Amalia Friess respectively, and I interviewed them.

Amalia Friess invited me to observe a club meeting right after our interview. While the information from that meeting did not fit my story, I was personally interested in it. I enjoyed the meeting, and I hope to be able to attend some hive inspections with the club in the spring.

Once I began to write my story, I discovered that my story could only be as good as the interviews that built it. I found that my last interview provided me with the most useable information because I had practiced my interviewing skills twice by then. I combed through my recordings of the interviews and focused on the quotes and information that seemed the most impactful to me. I built my story around that information, and it led to the most natural and engaging result.


I am a full-time student at the University of Utah, and I aim to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in communication in 2024. I am an aspiring journalist, musician, and lyricist. I grew up in a house filled with classic rock from my dad and classical from my mom. My mom taught me to play the piano when I was growing up, but I switched to guitar so I could play the rock music I loved. I have been playing guitar for over eight years.

Music plays a major role in my life and interests, including journalism. I hope to be able to make a living writing about the art I love. Being able to interview and write about artists, especially the guitarists I idolize, is my dream career.

Leah Beehler


Community oasis in a busy city


Transitioning from living in a coastal neighborhood to Salt Lake City has definitely been a big change. I began noticing all the community gardens that we had in the area here. I developed my story off of my main interest in these gardens and how they benefit the community and its residents. Especially while being a new resident of Salt Lake City, I wanted to get a feel for the main benefits of community gardens. 

The first step I took was choosing the main garden that I wanted to focus on. Once I came to the conclusion that I was going to focus on the Wasatch Community Gardens, the next step I took to find my sources was familiarizing myself with the website. Then, I read about what it had to offer and decided what I wanted my story to focus on. Once I had my main points chosen, I went to the Board and Staff tab on the website and mentally selected the best candidates I thought would help with my story.

I reached out to the staff members with the emails provided and asked if they would be willing to meet with me and answer some questions. Since I wanted to also write from a community standpoint, I reached out to a community member. My goal was to get a real opinion on what it is like living with and near a community garden. I feel I chose the best sources for my story because they are the most educated on my chosen topics. 

I encountered some obstacles with people not getting back to me in time. I got a lot of responses referring me to other people. However, I was then having a tough time getting responses from the references. Because of the pandemic and busy schedules, one of my interviews was held over the phone. 

In order to make sense of all the information I gathered, I created a story outline. I organized all of the quotes I wanted to use and the main points that I was making and created a story map to prepare for the writing process. I found the writing process to be very enjoyable. I learned many new things about what the garden has to offer and enjoyed getting to share that knowledge. I was surprised by how much I learned about the community garden and how much it really does for the community. 

Although the garden is very pretty and fun, that is not all it is. It helps bring jobs to people in need and offers free pick zones to help feed the residents with organic and healthy produce. The Wasatch Community Gardens really does a lot of good and cares deeply about its community and what it grows. 


My name is Leah Beehler and I am currently a full time student at the University of Utah working to earn a degree in Communication. My passion for writing and reading began in high school and my English courses. Throughout my high school years I was involved in a full-time, strenuous sport which taught me time management and how to be dependable. I have now integrated those skills in my journalism. Through my honesty, excitement, and drive I aspire to be accurate and respectful with my writing. 

In my free time, I enjoy sitting and reading a good book, going for walks, and spending time with my family. I also love to travel and experience new cultures and lifestyles. My lifetime and family experiences drive my curiosity in people and their stories.

Kayla Swank


L3 Harris’ Salt Lake City location talks about pandemic-related challenges and how it’s adapting


After having a few ideas fall through for a story involving the pandemic, I started wondering how a larger company and its employees were adapting during these times. Through a family connection I was able to interview three people with varying positions in departments within the L3 Harris company. Since each person was in a unique situation, they were able to give a different perspective on how their departments were operating.

The pandemic provided some easy and difficult aspects with the interviewing process. It was easier in terms of response time from the interviewees. Since many people have adapted to online communication, I was able to complete two interviews quickly and effectively through email. Complications did occur with one interview involving Zoom, however. A few times during the interview there were periods of the screen and sound freezing, so there would be repeats of discussion.

Once I had all my information gathered from the questions I had asked, I realized my focus had pivoted slightly. I was originally focused on wanting to know what kind of procedural changes and problems a company was facing during the pandemic. But after reviewing the questions I had asked, I realized I wanted to know more about how the people themselves were managing procedures and obstacles within the company through their perspective. I enjoyed it and felt surprised about the process of communicating connections and differences within each person’s experience. By that I mean describing how each employee had different obstacles, yet those obstacles connected to the bigger picture of facing a pandemic together.

Watching the news since the start of the pandemic gave me anxieties over businesses crashing and not being able to bounce back. But after interviewing the employees of at least one company, I feel better in knowing that they are managing just fine.


I grew up reading book after book and was always creating art, and those passions have travelled over to my secondary education.

I am a University of Utah student and will be graduating in spring 2022. I will be receiving my Bachelor of Science in writing and rhetoric studies and a minor in animation. I am a writer and an artist who hopes to use my work to shed light on topics such as environmental awareness and mental health advocacy.

Some of my works include a published poetry and short writings book with Amazon and frequently doing art commissions. My favorite hobbies include hiking, fitness, drawing, photography and fashion.

Jacob Freeman


UDOT’s plans for transit in Little Cottonwood will affect climbing along with traffic


I had been thinking about this story since before I had taken a journalism class. In fact, this story is part of what convinced me to start taking journalism classes at all. I was frustrated that the story of Little Cottonwood wasn’t being told as much as I thought it should be. Thus, coming up with the idea for my story was natural. I was passionate about the topic going into the project, and that passion only grew during the process.

I knew right away what organizations I wanted to contact for this story. Salt Lake Climbers Alliance was the obvious choice, as it is the organization at the forefront of the conversations about Little Cottonwood Canyon, advocating for protection of climbing. I also knew I had to get in contact with UDOT, as it is the driving force behind the potential upcoming changes to the canyon.

My source at SLCA was David Carter, the chair of the policy and conservation committee. He was extremely receptive to me and my request for an interview. I was pleasantly surprised that he was not only willing to do an interview, but he also seemed genuinely excited to talk to me about an issue he was clearly passionate about. The interview felt very natural and conversational, and it was highly informative on the opinions of SLCA, and what the organization proposes as alternatives to UDOT’s current favored policies. 

My sources at UDOT, Josh Van Jura and John Gleason, were also very helpful to me in crafting my story. While it took much longer to get in contact with them, they were happy to tell their side of the story. Even though UDOT’s proposals distress me, I am grateful for the information they provided.

This brings me to the moral dilemma I experienced when crafting my story: I feel very strongly that UDOT is dead wrong about the proposed traffic solutions in Little Cottonwood. I wondered, before the interviews, if my opinion would shift more to center between these opposing organizations after talking to both sides. The opposite happened. When writing, I found it difficult to remain objective. To address this, I did my best to provide both sides with the same amount of representation in the article. Luckily, all my sources gave me plenty of information; I could have written pages more for each of my sources, so providing equal representation in my article was not much of a challenge.

My sources were what made this story so enjoyable to write. I am very happy with my decision to interview sources who are on opposite sides of an issue, and this is something that I will take with me to future articles. Hearing my sources address the ideas of their opposition and offer a rebuttal made my article both easy to write and, I hope, interesting to read.


I am a full-time student at the University of Utah pursuing a degree in communication with an emphasis in journalism. After starting my academic career in the chemistry department, I realized journalism was the best way for me to explore my passion for the outdoors in a productive way. I plan to use my platform as a journalist to bring awareness to issues important to me, such as environmental and social justice. My hobbies have been shaped by the communities I have grown up in, and by extension they have influenced what I’m passionate about. These hobbies include rock climbing, skiing, and skateboarding. I also enjoy cooking and playing the violin.

Rose Shimberg


From competition to camaraderie: the rise of women’s ski groups in the Wasatch Mountains


The idea for my enterprise story initially came to me during one of our class sessions when I was thinking about topics that interest me. I am an avid skier and got the idea to look into some of the all-female ski groups that I know of in the area. This appealed to me because I love skiing and wanted to document the growing inclusivity in the sport. Because I am not a member of any of the groups I focused on, I was still detached enough to tell their story objectively.

I primarily used Instagram to locate and contact my sources. My sources were all younger people, so I thought I would be more likely to receive a quick response if I reached out to them via Instagram direct message instead of email. This suspicion turned out to be correct — each of my sources got back to me the same day I reached out. This strategy also made sense because the Salt Lake Sisterhood functions primarily as an Instagram page. From there, I was able to see people who were tagged in posts or mentioned in comments to find some options for my sources. I think that the sources I ended up with were a perfect selection for my story.

Nicole Weaver, as the local representative for a global organization, demonstrated the link between changes here in Utah and a wider movement of inclusivity. She was passionate about Womb Tang and had a lot to share about the group.

Sarah McMath was a great source to talk to about her initiative, Alta Lady Shred, which, although it was put on hold the past couple of seasons due to the pandemic, was founded back in 2017. She had a great perspective and was able to reflect on how things have changed since she started the group.

McMath was also a segue to the Salt Lake Sisterhood and my next source, Clare Chapman because they are close friends and coordinated Lady Shred together. Chapman could then talk more about the Salt Lake Sisterhood page, which she runs by herself, and connect back to McMath, who has been a long-time supporter of the project.

Making sense of the information I compiled was one of my biggest challenges. I used Otter to transcribe my recordings. After the interviews, I combed through the text, picking out the most important information and themes and copying down quotes that had potential. After doing this with all three interviews, I began to narrow down what I had collected and piece it into a preliminary order. This became a long and messy draft, which is not uncommon with my writing projects. But the process helped me discover a theme that emerged in each interview, which was the shifting narrative from competition between women in skiing to the idea of uplifting one another instead.

In terms of my writing process, I often struggle with stripping down my stories to create something compact and complete. This assignment was a good exercise in condensing a lot of information into a small amount of text and making hard decisions about what to include.

Overall, I didn’t experience too many setbacks or major dilemmas while writing this story. However, due to my sources’ availability, I had to conduct two of the interviews the week the story was due, which didn’t give me much time to piece together my draft. However, it was good to practice writing a piece under a tight deadline.

Although I was initially nervous to reach out to sources, I was pleasantly surprised by the eager response I received from each one. It has given me more confidence as I move forward with a career in journalism.


My name is Rose Shimberg and my path to Communication at the University of Utah has been a bit unconventional. I grew up in rural New Hampshire, where I spent a lot of my time skiing, rock climbing, and playing sports. However, I loved to create from an early age. An only child, I spent free time at home, long car rides in the backseat, and even family meal times reading, writing stories, and drawing. After high school, I attended the University of Vermont, where I received my BA in Geography with a minor in Community and International Development.

The study of human geography gave me an understanding of the intersectional nature of the issues facing the world today and a passionate drive to do something about it. But toward the end of my college career, I realized more and more that I couldn’t envision myself going into the field in my future. Although I was passionate about the topics I studied, I wanted to create something. In a mid-pandemic revelation, I decided that I’d been adhering to the path I’d carved out for myself for too long. What I wanted to do was simple. It was my first passion, my longtime hobby, the manifestation of the ideas bouncing around in my head. It was suddenly obvious. I wanted to write.

Acting upon this epiphany has gotten me where I am now. On top of continuing my studies by taking journalism courses at the U, I work full-time and do freelance content writing on the side. I hope that the experience and samples I gain through my coursework will help me to follow my passion and land a job or internship in the industry soon. Ideally, I will one day get the chance to write about the many issues facing our world today — and use my voice to do something about them.

Alejandro Lucero


Utah Humanities aims to bridge political polarization across the state


Deciding to focus my story on political polarization wasn’t a hard choice. I have been taking many classes focusing on the freedom of expression and how it is important for a free flow of information for society to truly thrive. The problem as I see it today, is that faith in journalists is at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Rather than listening and trusting communication professionals to disseminate accurate and credible information, many people chose to believe reposts on social media that tend to have zero credibility. I wanted to investigate what a solution to this problem is, and what initiatives local organizations have taken to bridge this gap.

The hardest part about writing this article was developing the focus statement or nut graph. As I conducted my interviews, I realized that my perceived solutions to political polarization were off the mark. I believed that the Conversations held by Utah Humanities was the answer because it allows constructive dialogue for people who have differing opinions. It was only after speaking with Professor Kevin Coe, that made me realize the problem was structural and needs massive overhaul. Learning that was defeating in a way because I wanted to focus on solutions, not perpetuate problems. My solution was to revamp the focus into a question, and to end with what the Conversations do best, show the humanity in one another.

I appreciate all my sources being so accommodating and knowledgeable. Without their input and perspectives, I wouldn’t have been able to dive into the problems and solutions of political polarization. The only thing I would want to change, was being able to meet face to face with them, so we could have shared this information over a hot cup of joe.

I believe that this was a good start for my portfolio as a print journalist. I learned that the best ideas come to you on a Friday evening while walking across the street to a 7-Eleven, so always keep a voice recorder handy. I learned that grammatically no good I am sometimes, those pesky commas! I hope I can continue to grow and build off of this piece to become the dynamic storyteller that I aspire to be.


A child watching TV at all hours of the day is as expected as the sun rising in the morning. But when I would begrudgingly watch the news with my grandparents, there weren’t many reporters who looked like me. Unfortunately, that is a trend that has continued.

I want to become a journalist to inspire other high-energy, storytelling, chatter box Chicano kids because I didn’t even know that this was an avenue perfectly suited for my abilities until I was 24 years old.

I am a student at the University of Utah studying communication with an emphasis in journalism. I also work as a videographer for ABC4 and a public affairs specialist with the Utah National Guard. I love writing, but I have also been drawn to photography since graduating from the Defense Information School as a PAO.

Regardless of the medium, I aim to prove that Latinos in the media don’t have to stick solely to the immigration beats. I plan on becoming a dynamic storyteller who brings life and care to every story I cover, while hopefully inspiring some mocosos along the way.

Katey Kolesky


Urban Flea Market creates community for locals


I have always had a passion for thrifting and shopping locally. In summer I love getting up early on Saturday and Sunday mornings to attend garage sales, flea markets and swap meets. When brainstorming for my enterprise story I wanted to focus on something I was passionate about. A friend of mine told me about his experience attending the Urban Flea Market a few days before and I was immediately interested in attending. 

Once I knew that I wanted to focus on the Urban Flea Market as the main idea for my story, I needed to get in contact with local vendors so that I could ask questions about their experience with the Urban Flea Market. My friend told me about some of his favorite vendors when he was in attendance. After doing some research on the local vendors, I knew who I wanted to interview. Once arriving at the Urban Flea Market it was time to meet with the vendors and take pictures. 

I originally wanted to base my story on how local small businesses were going to be affected with the ending of summer markets. I was under the impression that Oct. 10, 2021 was to be the last chance to attend the market. Once I arrived, I had learned that there would be an indoor winter Urban Flea Market that started in December. 

I had already prepared a list of questions to ask the vendors about how the end of summer markets was going to affect their small business. It was at this time that I had to think on my feet and pivot the topic of my story. After some quick thinking I decided to focus on the community that the Urban Flea Market builds. 

Once I decided to make the focus of my story on the community, I had to think of new questions to ask in my interviews. By making the focus of my story on the community rather than profits, I was able to ask more open-ended questions that sparked insightful conversations.  

Finally after I had conducted all of my interviews and taken my pictures, I went home to go over my notes and listen to the interviews. I typed out my handwritten notes and typed out my favorite quotes from listening to the interviews. It was at this time that I realized I didn’t have as much information or quotes that I thought I needed.

This problem stems from me conducting my interviews at the market. Although I do think this was still a good time to get pictures and attend the market, maybe a different time for interviewing might have been better. Due to how busy the market was and the vendors catering to their customers, it was hard to get the undivided attention of the vendors. I felt bad taking their attention away from their customers to conduct our interview. 

I learned a lot about the writing process while writing this assignment. I had never written any type of journalism piece before so this was a new skill that I was developing. Once I had created an outline for how I wanted my story to flow I was able to craft a story that I was very proud of. This project pushed me out of my comfort zone and it is something I’m happy to have accomplished. 


I am a senior at the University of Utah studying strategic communication. I will be graduating this spring of 2022. After graduation I hope to pursue a career in public relations, marketing or advertising in the fashion industry. I have a passion for fashion and it’s something that I love to incorporate in my everyday life. I fell in love with clothing and thrifting at a very young age when my father and I would attend yard sales and go thrifting on Saturday mornings. I am passionate about sustainability and how it can affect climate change and the environment. I have volunteered with many climate organizations in Utah and I hope to bring my take on sustainable fashion practices to every job that I am involved with. I love the hunt of finding my own piece of treasure and I hope to inspire others to use thrifting as a way to live more sustainably. 

Kristine Weller


How the Know Your Neighbor program helps refugees and volunteers in SLC


When considering enterprise story ideas, I did not want to take the easy way out. I really wanted to search for a topic that I was passionate about and would enjoy writing. I first thought of big picture things that interest me and that I have a passion for. Topics of interest included sustainability, human rights and mental health. 

I knew, however, that I needed to be specific when picking a story idea. Coincidentally, my sister had just become a volunteer for the Know Your Neighbor program. This program aids refugees and seemed to fit my passions well. I knew the Know Your Neighbor program was an important topic that I would enjoy writing about. 

My sister gave me the contact information for the volunteer coordinator, Megan McLaws, at Know Your Neighbor. McLaws was a wonderful source, and she put me in contact with two volunteers, Lexie Hanks and Kim Langton.

Hanks was a great source because she has been an active volunteer in the Know Your Neighbor program for a little over a year. Further, she has volunteered in a number of different ways, including virtual tutoring and going to the goat farm that is run by a Refugee Community Based Organization (RCBO).

Langton was also a great source because he has been an active volunteer for over three years and is also on the board for an RCBO, the Umoja Generation, which also aids refugees. He gave good insight on how helping refugees has impacted his own life and the new perspectives that can be gained from it. 

After interviewing McLaws, Hanks, and Langton I needed to focus my story. The biggest problem for me, however, was that there was so much good information, thoughts and quotes I wanted to use. All three of my interviewees had something inspiring and profound to say, but I couldn’t include everything they shared.

I didn’t get to include Hanks’ story about reading “Snowy Day” to the refugee kids she tutored virtually. As she read this story, the kids stopped her because they were excited that it was snowing outside, just like in the book.  

Langton also had some fun stories that I couldn’t include, one being about the refugee he mentors. After Langton’s mentee called him from a Walmart parking lot with smoke coming out of the engine of his first car, Langton explained that you have to change the oil in your car every few months. 

While I didn’t include everything each interviewee discussed, I did pick out important aspects of what each person shared, and was able to craft a story that explains what the Know Your Neighbor program is and how it helps volunteers and refugees alike.


Growing up, I was never sure what I wanted to do when I became an adult. When I was very young, I always said that I wanted to be an angel when I was older. This, obviously, couldn’t become a reality. 

Despite my first dream “job” being unrealistic, I still felt I needed to pick a specific path. Over the years, I have considered many options when it came to a career. I felt I needed to plan out with certainty what I was going to do. 

I now have realized that it’s impossible to plan for the future in this way. I instead have started to focus on what I value, what I’m passionate about and what will be fulfilling and aim toward goals that encompass those ideas. 

Considering this, I want to fight for the rights of others and spread awareness surrounding issues regarding race, mental health, ethnicity, gender, class and sexual orientation. Furthermore, I wish to inspire people of all ages through advocacy and writing. 

Mason Orr


James Pehkonen and Kevin Thole’s mission to strengthen and empower people in their sobriety


When brainstorming ideas for my enterprise story, more than anything I felt overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by all the possible options and avenues.

I thought about my passions and hobbies. I considered topics that sparked my interest. Yet, I knew that I ultimately wanted to write about something that felt important. 

My story idea was introduced to me by my mom. Both my parents have worked with Jim Pehkonen, a “Life Architect” or “Life Coach” who works here in Salt Lake City. When my mom mentioned to me that Pehkonen had started a new podcast, “Sobriety Elevated,” with his co-host Kevin Thole, I immediately thought, “This is what I want to write about.” 

Right away I thought this was a topic that people should be informed about. In their podcast, “Sobriety Elevated,” Pehkonen and Thole discuss some really pertinent subjects relating to drug and alcohol abuse and the recovery process. I felt as though this was a resource that should be shared with others. 

First, I knew I wanted to interview Pehkonen since he is an expert in his field. He has worked with a multitude of people struggling with alcohol and drug abuse so I knew he would be a really great resource. Setting up the interview was fairly easy since I already had connections with him and shortly after reaching out, we met for coffee. As I expected, he was extremely helpful and informative. 

Pehkonen then helped me get into contact with his co-host. Unfortunately, my interview with Thole had to be over the phone since he lives in St. Louis, Missouri. However, despite the lack of face-to-face interaction, Thole was extremely helpful and offered me ample information for my story. 

When conducting the interviews I experienced difficulties with recording the conversations. I found that taking handwritten notes for both of the interviews was difficult, but overall I felt more connected with my story. 

Another challenge for me was that much of what I talked about with Pehkonen and Thole was very sensitive. Both of them gave me permission to use any of the information they provided me, but I wanted to make sure I did so in a respectful manner. 

Just from these two interviews, I was given more than enough information to write my story. I started by finding my lead. I knew I wanted to start out strong and I was hoping for a good anecdotal lead. Luckily for me, Thole provided me with a great one. From there I wanted my story to move chronologically. First, introduce Thole and Pehkonen. Then I went into how the two of them met and finally how they started their podcast. 

I found my interviews with both Thole and Pehkonen to be extremely uplifting and empowering. Hearing their stories of what they have overcome in their own lives gave me a sense of empowerment. No matter what hardship you may come across, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and that is what I wanted the focus of my story to be. 


I am a full-time student at the University of Utah, currently in my senior year. I expect to graduate in the fall of 2022 with a major in communication with a journalism emphasis. Writing has always been a way for me to express myself and now I hope to use writing as a tool in my career and as a way to connect with people. I have always seen writing as an opportunity to bring a community together. This is what I hope to do in my future career.

Alma Bean


Music is more than what we hear, it’s an inspiration


When I was introduced to the enterprise story assignment, I knew that I would write about music in some capacity. Having a degree in music, I felt that it was only right to use my previous knowledge of music from Jacksonville University to try to educate the students at the University of Utah.

At first, I wanted to speak on music in public schools and how music should be viewed as an important part of a child’s education rather than an elective that can be replaced. As I started reaching out to multiple sources and conducting further research on the subject, it seemed as it would be difficult to write on this topic since the results varied from state to state.

The sources that I managed to contact all have a background in music — all have degrees in music from different institutions (Florida State University, University of Tennessee, and University of North Carolina at Greensboro). Though each source has a degree in music, each of them has taken their education and applied it in different ways. Sherry Blevins is a student advisor at Appalachian State University while composing music. Julian Bryson teaches choral studies at Jacksonville University while composing original music. Diana Galeano works as an office assistant while performing for two A Capella groups in her spare time.  

My change in topic came at what I assumed was a bad time since I made the change the day of my first interview over Zoom with Galeano. I decided to keep the questions that I had originally prepared and try to have a fluid conversation to see what additional questions may come up during the interview process. While speaking with Galeano, she spoke a lot about how music has influenced her life even outside of performing. After hearing her passion for music, I knew that my article needed to focus on passion rather than a call for change.

My next two interviews with Bryson and Blevins had each of them speaking on their passions before I could dive into the questions I had prepared. Bryson spoke about his sexuality and how an openly gay man on campus inspired Bryson to be open about his sexual orientation and use music as a safe space. For Blevins, her wife helped her reach out to her students and prepare for competitions through music posters they developed together.

Knowing my article had a serious approach that led to a heartwarming conversation, one that was emotionally intriguing, was a weight off my shoulders. With the amount of notes I ended up taking, it was difficult to try to cut out any information. Between the three audio files being about an hour each, plus around 40 Post-it notes of information, there was a lot of information to go through.

Going through all of those notes I had gathered, it was difficult to decide what must be left on the chopping board. Going back to the audio recordings of all three interviews really helped me decide what physical notes I decided to negate. Some of the topics felt special to each specific individual, yet each managed to touch on similar topics without being gestured in that direction.

After two weeks of creating the rough draft, I felt comfortable with submitting my article. With this article being my first, I’m excited and nervous waiting to see what the people think and hopefully the readers will be able to connect with my piece.


Alma Bean, after his final music performance at Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida. Photo by Mali Evans.

My name is Alma Bean. I am currently a student at the University of Utah working toward my second bachelor’s degree, this time in communication with an emphasis in journalism. I currently have a bachelor’s degree in music from Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida. As I pursue a degree in communication, I dream to bring this emphasis of journalism to the world of sports.

Ever since I was a child, I have been fascinated with sports varying from football, basketball, baseball, and even swimming. My mother constantly would joke about how I am a walking, talking sports almanac.

A few months before receiving my degree from Jacksonville University, I had a lot of internal conflict on the next chapter of my life. After some self-reflecting, I decided that writing about athletes and their lives was a career change that I needed to make. Now that I have relocated to Salt Lake City, I’ve been able to do personal analysis about the Utah Jazz. Utah Sports Corner is my way of creating a portfolio while being able to track my progress as I work my way toward my degree in communication.

Jhareil Hutchinson


Diversity, equity & inclusion: Inside the David Eccles School of Business 


I originally wanted to write a story on how social media has shaped our generation. I wanted to find a way to show how social media has affected us and analyze how it would continue to play a pivotal role in our lives moving forward. Over the years we have seen race-related issues captured on our phones and then later shared on social media. Seeing how social media has shaped society and played a role in many historical events, I wanted to explore how diversity and inclusion has become a topic of debate. 

I originally came up with writing about diversity and inclusion at the David Eccles School of Business through everything that has happened over the last couple of years. Seeing all of the protests and injustices that were going on made me feel upset and I was emotionally drained. I don’t think the business school takes into consideration how the stigma of being a business student and a person of color affects one’s mind and educational career. 

Having been at the business school for a year, I have experienced many different types of microaggressions. These microaggressions have come in many forms such as being asked where I’m really from, the origin of my name, being mask-shamed, and being called many different rude and offensive names. There are not many students of color who go to business school, which makes it hard for one to connect and feel safe while training to learn and grow as a student and person. My main goal was to think of ideas the business school and I could start doing to make students feel like they belong. 

I located my sources through my scholarship. I am part of First Ascent Scholars, which is a program through the business school. First Ascent Scholars has provided many different resources such as tutoring, professional mentors, therapists, and financial help. I interviewed a fellow First Ascent Scholar, Julie Paredes-Pozas, who was able to explain how she genuinely felt about the business school. This helped my story gain another voice and perspective on this important and timely issue.

I also created a simple, anonymous Google survey that I sent out over my Instagram. I wanted to gain insight from students of color who were attending the business school and see how they felt about their feelings and inclusiveness of the business school. 

My last resource came from a representative from the business school itself. Bethany Crowell helped me gain insight into the business school’s demographics. The numbers were not surprising but it was still startling and interesting to look at in comparison to other departments. 

I felt like these were the best sources because they were the most timely and relevant. Paredes-Pozas’ voice was very helpful in adding a student perspective, as well as the anonymous Google survey. The graph added an important element to the story because it helps the reader see what I was trying to tell. Without the graphs, I don’t think my story would be the same. 

I didn’t encounter any obstacles but I did have to scale back some of my writing in my draft because I felt like I went into too much detail. In some of my Google surveys, there were some names that students had been called which I decided not to put in my story. I decided not to because the words are very hurtful and not nice to say. I don’t think I’ll include it in my blog because of how derogatory and mean those words are.

The pandemic did not pose any problems for me but I felt that it was easier to conduct one of my interviews on Zoom. This was easier because it allowed me to be remote and it was convenient for my interviewee. 

I initially wanted to focus the story around myself and explain how I felt about the business school. I wanted to explain my true feelings and hopefully take some sort of action. I then thought it would be better to capture the audience’s attention by deciding to focus on how the business school is helping students of color and how it is meeting the diversity and inclusion needs. 

Something that I learned about myself during this process and was surprised about was there are a lot more students who feel the same way that I do than I initially thought. Aside from being a part of First Ascent Scholars, I’ve never felt like I was included or felt like I belonged at the business school. Moving forward, I would like to have a conversation about improving services and the atmosphere so students like myself could feel safe and accounted for. I also learned that I write best when I write without making any revisions. I write everything down, which helps me retain information and keep a nice, steady flow. 

Overall, I enjoyed this process of interviewing and collecting resources to write a story on an issue that is important to me. There were many times throughout the writing process where I got stuck and it taught me how to be patient and let the story come to me. Writing has always been something I love to do but when I bring in a sense of reality and can relate to my topic, I connect with the story on a different level. 


Hello! My name is Jhareil Hutchinson, currently I am a second-year student at the University of Utah. I plan to major in Marketing and pursue a journalism emphasis. I am a first-generation African American student, learning and applying my knowledge to the ever-evolving world around me. At the U, I am a part of the First Ascent Scholars Program, which has helped me continue my education and gain professional experience. 

I have always loved writing; it brings a sense of relaxation and voice to my mind. One of my favorite topics to write about is mental health and racial justice. I am passionate about uplifting voices that may be undermined and also learning about what I can do to help those who are helpless. 

One of my biggest inspirations is Kobe Bryant who said, “The moment you give up, is the moment you let someone else win.” This quote is very special to me because I look back on this quote when I feel stuck or lost in terms of an assignment for class or for life. 

As for the future, I am not sure what it holds but I hope it will come with a lot of success and growth opportunities. I hope to graduate in the spring of May 2024 and find a career that is not only thrilling and fulfilling but full of success and growth opportunities! 

Raegan Zitting


Three local women entrepreneurs share their success stories


As I was drafting ideas on a newsworthy and exciting story, I concluded that locality and women were of the utmost importance.

With the pandemic still being a prominent issue, I decided to turn the viewpoint on a devasting time into a success story for incredible businesses in the Salt Lake City community.

With this idea in mind, I reached out to some local businesses that all shared the common trait of being women-owned and ethically practiced.

As I began crafting my story, I learned that connection was so important to me in how I write. After developing personal stories and triumphs from these incredible women, I knew I needed to showcase their business now more than ever.

Sorting through the information was a challenge at first, mainly because of these women’s extraordinary detail. However, connecting it all to the focus of women in business during a pandemic and, more specifically, how they grew from that made the most sense.

I was genuinely so surprised by how much the pandemic grew these local businesses’ sales. I went into these interviews with a completely different story in mind. Thus, I was ultimately thrown for a loop when the information favored a success story rather than a sorrowful one.

Going through this story journey connected me to these women in a way I have never connected to anyone! I got to see a different side of business owners and it without a doubt increased my appreciation for local shops in my community.

Piggybacking off that growth, I now choose only to shop locally and sustainably. These women truly shifted my thinking, and I only spoke to three! Imagine the impact of hundreds; maybe I’ll find out in another story.


Raegan Zitting (she/her) is an aspiring journalist studying communication at the University of Utah. Participating in the world-renowned HER campus Raegan loves writing about local and community matters. With a passion for fashion, Raegan hopes to one day work for a fashion magazine in New York City. Growing up in a small town has inspired Raegan to report the little details rather than the big ones, while still loving the big cities. Working at Nordstrom for a year and a half Raegan has now taken a leap and started a job at the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

Before realizing her passion for writing Raegan took an interest in cheerleading for four years. Working her way up to the position of captain Raegan learned the trials and tribulations of leadership and its importance. Cheerleading was a big part of the reasoning for Raegan’s interest in community writing.

With a projected bachelor’s degree in communication and a master’s in design Raegan has big educational dreams. Some of Raegan’s interests include cooking, exercising, reading, and of course writing.

Sophia Jeon


UMFA’s directors talk about the institution’s educational philosophy


Art and art history are my long-standing interests. Being inspired by an art museum is one of the best ways to spend my time meaningfully. When I first toured the University of Utah campus in August 2021, the place that caught my eye the most was the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. The UMFA’s website confidently presented its educational philosophy and outreach, and I found it to have credible value with a long history and a variety of projects. That was the reason for me to decide that UMFA as an institution was what I wanted to explore for my story.

UMFA’s Learning and Engagement Department has been contemplating and researching various educational programs in addition to exhibitions and gallery tours to communicate with diverse community members across the state. To delve deeper into the institution’s current activities, I contacted the department’s staff members, all of whom readily accepted my request for an interview.

All interviews went very smoothly, even though it was my first experience interviewing someone with a Zoom meeting. In the first interview with Ashley Farmer, the co-director of adult and university programs, I was able to get interesting information about the exchange between UMFA and the U. Since UMFA is the state’s fine arts museum but at the same time an institution affiliated with the U, what Farmer told me was informative for me as a student at the U, and furthermore, for my story to be published in U NewsWriting.

The second interview with Mindy Wilson, the director of marketing and communication, was also helpful to get information about the UMFA’s ongoing activities. Most of all, I was impressed that Wilson said she was happy to have a conversation with me, a student at the U, as UMFA prioritizes communication with students on an educational level. The interview with her made it meaningful for me to explore a new institution.

Unlike the other three interviews, the interview with Annie Burbidge Ream, the co-director of K-12 and family programs, was the only one conducted in person. We were able to meet and have a chat at the UMFA cafe. Faced with Ream’s trustful tone of voice and her confident facial expression, I could feel that she took great pride in her own work as an educator.

The last Zoom interview with Virginia Catherall, the curator of education, family programs, visitor experience, and community outreach, was also meaningful. She explained about the different events taking place off-campus. What impressed me the most was hearing about the growth process of UMFA from her perspective. Since Catherall has been working at UMFA for 27 years, listening to her about the history and growth of the institution has been a huge help in developing my story.

It was important and beneficial for my story to get specific information from the practitioners hosting direct activities for the museum to fulfill its net function as an educational institution. However, it was not an easy task to put the large amount of information and program lists received from each interviewee in writing. It was a challenge not only to find only the essential points of my writing among various pieces of information, but also to determine the order in which to arrange them.

Nevertheless, I was able to enjoy having pleasant conversations with people I have never met before and writing about them. Most of all, the fact that the interviewees enjoyed communicating with me and actively responding to my interview gave me a lot of confidence in writing the story. Exploring the UMFA, an institution with close ties to my university and at the same time a place where I personally love to go, has in the end enriched my story as a whole and allowed me to enjoy writing about it.


Marketing and public relations are essential to keeping up with current trends. No matter how great a product or service you have, if it is not promoted, no one will know.

The reason I am studying Strategic Communication at the University of Utah is to become a public relations specialist who can quickly understand market changes and recognize the needs of the public.

To utilize the diverse approaches for marketing and communication, I have learned and mastered talents and skills in different fields. I not only have computer literacy skills for social media use, such as video editing, Photoshop, illustration, and digital calligraphy, but also can use software programs for data analysis and statistics. I also have talents in taking pictures, analyzing films, and discussing current social affairs.

From a young age, I like to introduce myself to people and enjoy expressing my thoughts in writing. Taking advantage of those strengths, as a student aspiring to become a public relations professional, I am currently learning how to connect with, inform, and persuade people to meet public concerns.

It will always be fun and exciting for me to communicate with different people in the world.

Chandler Holt


George S. Eccles Student Life Center’s COVID-19 regulations and trends


I developed my story after my first idea, centered around Utah sports and preventing the coronavirus, fell through. I still wanted to talk about the virus because there is so much information regarding that subject and it also has played such a big part of our lives the last two years. I decided to shift my focus from Utah sports to the Student Life Center on campus because it is such a nice gym that so many Utahns use.

I located sources by walking around the gym finding people who didn’t mind stepping away from their workout for a few minutes to be interviewed. I also tried to interview people from different facilities in the Student Life Center. I talked to one person lifting weights, one person playing court sports and one person climbing the rock wall.

I deemed my sources the best to fit my topic because I didn’t want to focus on just the coronavirus regulations in place but also what the gym environment is like with the regulations. All the COVID-19 safety information and advice about the Student Life Center is available online for anyone to read. That is why I decided to talk to students rather than some sort of official position at the gym.

I would say that my biggest obstacle happened when I was forced to switch stories. The Student Life Center story wasn’t easy, but it was straightforward. Considering my story was centered around COVID protocols and trends, I wouldn’t say the pandemic negatively affected my story in any way. In fact, my story wouldn’t exist without the pandemic.

After all my interviews took place, I organized all the information by person from most important to least important. I followed this structure later to decide what parts would make it into my full story. The writing process went smoothly. Organizing all the content beforehand made writing more like putting a puzzle together rather than starting from scratch.

I tried talking to a gym official about the coronavirus regulations and trends, but it didn’t go as planned. At one point, I was questioning my choice of sources so I made a second effort to interview a gym official. The person I got in contact with just told me all the regulations that I could’ve read online, and they wouldn’t speak on any trends that they saw in the gym regarding COVID safety.

The biggest surprise to me was the extremely low mask use percentage even though the CDC recommended mask use by vaccinated and un-vaccinated individuals due to the period of high transmission rates. I was also surprised that one of the interviewees admitted to feeling discouraged to wear a mask due to others not wearing a mask around them.

I would say that I am happier with my story now than I was while drafting it. Despite all the road bumps that occurred and the concerns I had, I’m happy that I could pull all the content together to make the informational article that resulted from my writing process.


I am a 19-year-old Communication major with a journalism focus at the University of Utah. I was born in Anaheim, California, but have lived in Seattle almost my entire life. I aspire to be a sports journalist or sports analyst once I graduate from the U. I love basketball, the great outdoors, and spending time with friends and family. My biggest goal is to be in a position to give back to my family and my community.

Caleb Strange


What it truly means to be a football fan


In the early stages of deciding what I wanted to write about, I had a friend ask me about becoming a football fan and what it really meant. It really stuck with me and I decided to expand and see what it was truly like. I think a big thing that really made it difficult for me to write this story was the ability to stay out of the story. I am a fan of football myself and I feel like I used my own examples in the story rather than expanding on what was given to me.

Expanding on my sources, I feel my sources had the right mindset for this story. They have been fans of football their whole lives and I feel like they were perfect interviews for me. They really understood exactly what I was asking.

I think the pandemic made it difficult to write this because, as we all know, we were at home for most of 2020, and there were no fans in attendance for the games during the pandemic. Something that I wanted to include in my story was how did you adapt during the pandemic being a fan, knowing you couldn’t be there.  

The writing process was actually fairly easy once I got everything organized and constructed how I wanted to write it. I find that once I get writing, I actually really love it, and that is something that I have to remember for my future. I was surprised with how easy it came to me, I felt like when I sat down and got into it, it came naturally.

I really enjoyed writing this story because it let me explore something that I am very passionate about but never thought of before. The whole process was interesting, coming up with ideas, and I had a lot of fun.


Caleb Strange is a Communication major at the University of Utah. He grew up in Concord, California, but in 2014 his family moved to Park City, Utah. Caleb grew up watching the Warriors, 49ers, and San Francisco Giants, so his love for sports started at a young age. This inspired him to want to explore more of what sports had to offer.

Caleb began his college life at Westminster in Salt Lake City, as a vocal major. After that first semester, he was starting to question if he should continue in vocal or maybe look a different route. He settled on communication focused on journalism, because he thought that would help him achieve his dreams of sports broadcasting. After studying communication at Westminster for a semester, Caleb transferred to the University of Utah to continue his studies. This was right around the beginning of the pandemic.

Something that Caleb also loves and another reason he wanted to pursue journalism, was Marvel and DC movies. As well as sports broadcasting, Caleb hopes that one day he can cover the newest superhero movies and write about them.

This might be important to mention, but Caleb is actually moving to Orlando in January to take part in the Disney College Program at Walt Disney World.

Sorina Trauntvein


The impact of COVID-19 on animal shelters in Salt Lake County


When I was trying to decide on a topic for my story, I came up mostly blank. Leaning back on my passions led me in the right direction, though. I had been looking into volunteer work around Salt Lake County, and realized that a great story could be spawned from talking about animal shelters during the pandemic. A cursory search showed that it was underreported, and I knew that I could create a great resource for those in my area.

Reaching out to animal shelters in the area was relatively easy, as they are businesses that have marketing teams and publicly available emails. All of the shelters I reached out to were friendly. However, not all were willing to interview.

Guinnevere Shuster, the associate director of marketing and communications at the Utah Humane Society, reached out to me very quickly, and I was able to coordinate a Zoom interview with her as well as visit the shelter and take a few photos. This would be the core of my story, and provide the general narrative I wanted to share.

I also reached out to Temma Martin at the Best Friends Animal Society, who provided valuable information that would show how supportive and necessary its operation was during the pandemic. I did make an error and ended up missing an email from her. However, the timing still worked out and I was able to include that information in my article.

My final source was Abby Buttars, someone I knew growing up who had adopted a cat, Henry, during June 2020. They provided a first-person perspective on how the adoption process worked and how Henry improved their experience. I had been struggling to find someone to interview and ended up putting out a call for anyone who had adopted a pet during the pandemic. Buttars answered the call and I loved their addition to the story.

Martin and Shuster had shared similar situations, and I realized that the story I was going to be writing was slightly altered from the story I had planned. I had almost preemptively decided what information I was going to receive, and much of it ended up being incorrect assumptions that my sources overturned quickly.

After my interviews, it was all a matter of organization, as things seemed to be aligning as I pulled out strong quotes and began outlining. Although it turned out differently than planned, I’m glad I can now correct assumptions and share the story of what happened in Salt Lake County’s animal shelters during the last year.


I am currently a full-time student at the University of Utah, studying communication with a journalism emphasis. I aspire to be a journalist and explore the lesser-seen areas of life. I’m passionate about people and firmly believe that everyone is one conversation away from being interesting.

In May 2021, I graduated from Utah Valley University with an associate degree in university studies shortly before receiving my high school diploma from Utah County Academy of Sciences.

I always knew that I wanted to write when I grew up, but choosing a reason was the hard part. After taking an editing class during my senior year, I knew that I would love being a journalist. When I’m not writing, I like to spoil my niece, re-dye my hair pink, and read niche Wikipedia articles.

Christian Loftus


Young Utah artists turn to their craft to find relief from the mental health crisis


When I first pitched stories, both my ideas had the same answer to Question 5, Why is this worth covering? “Local art is always worth covering.” It was my first gut response, and as I worked on this piece, I stuck with it.

I may be a bit biased – I’m a sometime local artist myself. For years I’ve taught and performed improv comedy around Utah. It’s a somewhat embarrassing thing to admit and talking about it never got me a second date. But the long and short is that I know just how healthy engaging with creativity can be for your mind. For me, acting was a reason to exist in a single moment, a single purpose. All around me I see people getting through their day with the stories of superheroes and podcasts about Gothic murders. Maybe it’s all been on my mind because I, like so many others, have had a really hard year. What better use of publishing space, I thought, than the things that are keeping us keeping it all together.

So, I started looking carefully. I searched profiles on Facebook Marketplace filtered by Salt Lake City locations. I was recommended an Etsy page by a friend who was obsessed with the tiny little things people can knit. I remembered the work of people I’ve bumped into that left their marks on me.

Then, I was talking to the artists, and as much came out during the little prep chats as did during the interviews. I was surprised by the uniformity of response. We talked about therapy, we talked about despair in the face of inequality, we talked about little homes carved into the wall and filled with people and soft things to love. They all shared my feelings about grounding oneself through creativity.

In other words, I found a direction by accident. Not only were we making art, we were doing it to keep ourselves sane. When I shifted my research to data, I found a larger version of the same picture. Utah has never had encouraging statistics about mental health issues, but the problem was exacerbated immensely by COVID-19. Rates of everything from depression to suicide skyrocketed from their spots in 2019.

So, as I wrote, I found myself turning to face that correlation head on. My little showcase of local artists became emblematic to me of a widespread medical crisis that trailed the pandemic close as a shadow.

Writing the profile aspects were easier for me than the rest of it, maybe because of my background in creative writing. Perhaps the most difficult was finding a balance between the expansiveness provided by medical data and the personalization provided by narrative. The word count was a hateful blessing in that regard. It forced me to evaluate how much of the piece could be devoted to each intended effect. I strove to emphasize relevancy in the lead, so that the reader would contextualize the artists’ work and finish the article.

That length restriction also dictated the kind of story I was able to write. My original vision, once my direction was settled on at least, was to write a slice of life-style narrative for each artist. My reluctance to give that up drove me into the arms of William Faulkner, who famously said, “In writing you must kill all your darlings.” What surprised me was how liberating it was to be forced away from my comfortable styles and forms. I often like to think of my writing in terms of intentions. What is my intention in writing a piece? What is my intended impact on the reader when using literary conventions? How does my formatting help or hurt the communication of my intended message? With this piece, I was forced to answer these questions in excruciating brevity. It was, as my mom always says, good for me.

My intention with this piece was that it will reach an audience who, like me, didn’t know that what they were feeling was everywhere. Local art is always worth covering, and so are resources that point people with potentially life-threatening mental health issues toward acceptance and treatment. It’s an especially important message here. Utah has some of the worst rates of depression and suicide in the country. I think the artists will think it a fitting tribute to share their work to this end, since their hopes were to accomplish the same thing – acceptance, tolerance, and looking outwards.


Christian is a student and educator. He earned his associate degree at Utah Valley University, where he graduated with honors, and is finishing his B.S. in Communication at the University of Utah. Following graduation, he plans to seek a master’s degree in Writing and Rhetoric Studies.

His teaching credentials include working with first- and second-generation children of immigrants in Salt Lake City, serving underprivileged adults in Washington, D.C., and teaching classes in improv theater.

Christian has a passion for community building and has worked closely with the American Cancer Society to lobby for patients’ rights. When he’s not engaged in pursuing his professional goals, he explores his passions by writing speculative fiction, studying ancient and modern folklore, reviewing aging horror movies, and counting down the days to Halloween.

Lorna Gage


Dreamscapes is the first sustainable art exhibition in Salt Lake City


Struggle during the pandemic isn’t unique — every sphere of both public and private life has been impacted by COVID-19. But when it came to choosing a topic for my enterprise story, I knew it was important, now more than ever, to bring attention to local businesses and artists.

With that in mind, it wasn’t hard to find the Utah Arts Alliance.

UAA is a nonprofit arts organization that provides services and programs, enabling the community to experience and access art, and allowing people to pursue their creative goals. From there, I discovered its immersive arts program, Dreamscapes.

Not only is Dreamscapes unique in respect to the way in which the exhibit utilizes a blend of physical and digital art to create a complete immersive experience, it is also Utah’s first permanent environmentally sustainable art exhibition. This is when I knew it was important to highlight this local business, one that relies on volunteers.

I reached out to the Dreamscapes manager, Suzanne Raia, and immediately heard back.

In our interview, I learned that she was connected to Dreamscapes through UAA and had been with the exhibit since its conception. Raia expressed passion for the green initiative and spoke highly of the difference she felt the exhibit makes, not only for the environment, but also for the artists.

Through Raia, I was connected to Ashley Brown and Bo Dean. Brown is the assistant manager at Dreamscapes and a creative lead. She was a great resource because she provided insight into what it is like to work as an artist within the exhibit and to collaborate with volunteers. Brown and I walked through the installation during the end of our interview, and she was able share anecdotes about the process of building the exhibit and point out pieces I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.

Bo Dean is a builder for UAA, so he provided a unique perspective on the types of opportunities community collaboration can result in and how we can affect change. This interview made me realize the importance of connections and having a network within the community. Dean described his work with organizations such as Dreamscapes, Burning Man, Illumination, UAA, and others.

In all my interviews, we talked about the importance of volunteers and sustainability, which is how I found the focus of my story. In the coming days, Dreamscapes will be moving to a larger location to rebuild, and volunteers will be more important than ever — so I structured my story by introducing the sustainability component of the exhibit and ended with a call for volunteers.

During the writing process, I learned a lot about constructing a story based on the information from the interviews and then fact checking. I immediately pulled the quotes I wanted to include in my story. Then I started organizing the useable information into one document in the order in which I would include it.

In this story, I hope the theme of community involvement really comes through and encourages people to support local art.


I am a firm believer in lifelong education and have an associate degree in communication from Northwest College in northern Wyoming. I am currently a full-time student at the University of Utah pursuing a bachelor’s degree in strategic communication.

I am an avid reader of all genres, like to start my morning with a New York Times article, and even have a Book of the Month subscription. I hope to work with a publishing company someday and help authors get their work to the public. Some of my hobbies include walking around Salt Lake City, attempting to cook, exploring different art scenes, and participating on the debate team at the U.

Alfonso Belloso


How will you die? Preparing for the end of life with a death doula


“My body feels like it’s vibrating all over. A feeling like all the cells in my body were dancing.” These were the notes I had typed on my phone as soon as the interview was over.

I wanted to remember the sensation after I had interviewed Jude Higgins, a death doula based out of Salt Lake City.

Looking back, I would have never imagined that interviewing people could be so exciting and rewarding. “This is cool. I can do this,” I thought to myself.

Alfonso Belloso enjoyed the arts at the Van Gogh exhibit and was inspired to create an expressionistic self-portrait.

The catalyst that developed this story idea came after I had begun writing a screenplay about a death doula. I wanted to get more background on the profession so I thought interviewing one would be helpful for my screenplay. I located my source through a Google search, and I was fortunate enough to interview the first person who came up in the search results for “Death Doula Salt Lake City.”

The results led me to Jude Higgins, who was a great focus for this story because not only is she the first to appear in searches, but she is also knowledgeable and experienced in the field. She along with the other death doula I interviewed, Katrina Klinge, were very cooperative for an interview and helpful to answer any questions I had.

The biggest obstacle I faced was following up with my sources and maintaining the connection after the interview had passed. I was so grateful for their time, that any additional requests seemed like I was taking advantage of them. This was something that I had to overcome and with some words of encouragement from Professor Mangun, I was able to overcome this fear.

The pandemic did not pose any problems conducting the interviews. Two of my sources did not live in Utah so our interviews took place over the phone or email. The source who lived in Utah was able to meet me at a coffee shop to conduct the interview.

I always knew that I wanted Jude to be the focus of the story. The challenge was finding a way to have my two sources fit into her story. I think they contributed well to the focus while also giving them a chance to be a part of their own story.

I have pages and pages of quotable lines from all three of my sources and If I could make a larger story, I would have loved to include the stories they had to share. Jude Higgins had a story about working as a death doula in a hospital during the peak of COVID.

The thing that surprised me the most was how much I enjoyed every step of the process. Even the parts that made me nervous were still exciting and I would really enjoy writing more stories for fun. Because it is fun for me. I don’t know if I’ll ever be a great writer or journalist, but I do know that I’ll try my best to get better and make engaging content for readers.

To conclude, this experience has given me the realization that even stories that don’t include me, have a piece of me in the writing. This was the first time I’ve had to write a story objectively. All my writing prior to this story has been deeply personal and influenced by my own experiences. The challenge to write a story without expressing how I was feeling, or what I was thinking was an interesting challenge and one that I feel I learned a lot from.

I hope to write many more stories in my life. It was fun and I would say my favorite part of the entire process is the interview. Meeting people and getting to know who they are, where they’ve been, and what they’ve experienced is a wonderful way to connect. I want to connect with more people and if I could make my ability to connect a career, I will be happy.


Alfonso Belloso is a filmmaker, photographer, music producer and novice journalist living in Salt Lake City. Alfonso Belloso is originally from Los Angeles, where they studied audio engineering at the Musicians Institute. Alfonso is a Latinx music producer who has worked with Grammy Award-winning engineers in the recording industry, composed music for films, and produced records for independent artists.

Growing up in LA, Alfonso always had a love for movies and music. Their father was a DJ and would take them to work at parties in LA.

Alfonso’s family moved away from LA after their uncle was murdered in their own home. A bullet that was meant for Alfonso’s father. Their family ended up in Salt Lake City, where Alfonso started a punk band. This band would lead to Alfonso recording multiple studio albums and living in a van traveling North America to play music for strangers.

After some time playing live music on the road, the cold and hungry nights were difficult to find exciting. Alfonso left Utah and their band to try to find success in different cities. However, much like the treasure in Paulo Coelho’s novel “The Alchemist,” the treasure was always right under their nose the whole time. Back home in Utah.

Alfonso now studies journalism at the University of Utah. They aspire to be a filmmaker with an interest in cultural journalism writing about stories such as their own or other people’s. Stories that drive connection and make people feel seen and less alone. A strong influence from enlightened mystics such as Ram Dass or Eckhart Tolle, Alfonso believes that we are all one and brought into this life to honor the present moment. Alfonso hopes to encapsulate this feeling in everything they do.

Alfonso said, “I only aim to make a positive and memorable experience for the people of the planet. I hope that I can inspire my community and the next generation of disenfranchised creators.

Kayla Lien


The diversity and importance of Black-owned businesses in Salt Lake City


From the moment I laid eyes on a Vogue magazine, I’ve wanted to have my name on its pages. Fashion and clothing have been a part of my life since I was 12, when I started learning how to sew costumes. 

So often, I was told there was no market for someone like me. I didn’t look like those designers, the models walking the runway, not even the people watching in the stands. It became abundantly obvious that, if I wanted a seat at the table, I would have to make one. My interest in this, heightened by the volatile sociopolitical climate from the past year, led me to my story idea, highlighting clothing brands and creators of color.

Originally, I had wanted to talk to people of color from all regions and was specifically interested in speaking with women. I was especially looking for people of Asian descent because I wanted to see how COVID has impacted their business. However, all my sources ended up being Black men, coincidentally. 

I located sources from a lot of Google searching and scouring Instagram nonstop. It was hard to get responses from potential sources, even harder trying to coordinate schedules. Admittedly, I am not well-versed in Zoom, so that was a struggle for me while interviewing. At one point, I thought I had lost half an hour of content — my nails were chewed down to the quick. Luckily, everything righted itself, helped along with typing in Comic Sans font and video game soundtracks in the background.


Kayla Lien is a full-time student at the University of Utah, majoring in communication with an emphasis in journalism. She attended East High School in Salt Lake City and was involved in the journalism class all throughout her time there. Having been an editor for two years, Kayla became the editor-in-chief her senior year. During her time at East, she won a few awards for her writing, such as First Place for Op/Ed writing in the Utah Futures of Journalism awards in 2018.

Kayla enjoys writing about and highlighting social issues, especially those that influence minority groups. As a queer woman of color, she recognizes the need for diversity and inclusion. As much as she loves to write, she vehemently detests writing autobiographies. 

Between school and work, she can be found crocheting, sewing, or making funky earrings. If not there, check under her 80-pound German Shepherd. She may have gotten lost.