Natalie Zullo



When considering topics for my enterprise story, I was inspired by my car radio. In search of a good song on my way home from class, I was led to a classical music station. Listening to the genius of the professional musicians brought peace to my mind after a stressful day. It was then that I realized I wanted to write about professional musicians in the state of Utah and their careers.

Research was tricky as I needed to find high demand professionals around the state of Utah. With the help of friends and family, I was led to three sources. One source was a performer in the Tabernacle Orchestra at Temple Square and private violin teacher. The other was the owner of her own after-school music program and studio. The last source was a world-famous violinist in the Utah Symphony.

The interview I was most excited about was the Utah Symphony musician. But difficult encounters came up during my interviewing process. The world-famous musician from the Utah Symphony became suddenly unavailable due to travel demands of the orchestra at that time. Although this came as a surprise, I did find a third source. Instead of interviewing another professional musician, a Utah mother of six musical children agreed to speak with me. I would discover later that she played a crucial role in my final article.

As I started to gather information and quotes, I quickly realized that my story seemed to be writing itself. Each individual I interviewed had such a different opinion and voice that my story became a discussion between each of the sources. I was worried at first that my piece would turn into an argumentative piece, but the voices fit together perfectly to construct a final article.

I was surprised that my final story didn’t turn out the way I had first envisioned. I had walked into this assignment with a very specific idea and process for my story. But the people I interviewed seemed to write the story for me and lead me along a journey of discovery and curiosity.



Music has always filled Natalie’s heart.

Natalie Zullo was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, with a deep appreciation for the violin. She is a Spring 2020 University of Utah graduate studying strategic communication and violin performance. She currently is the owner of N-Z Violin String Studio and works as a dental assistant in Murray. In June 2019, Natalie married the love of her life in the Salt Lake City Temple and currently lives in Draper.

In her spare time, Natalie can be found on the nearest running trial, skiing with her husband and baking sweets in the kitchen. She writes and arranges music in her spare time and loves gatherings with her friends, family and sweet husband.

Natalie plans to continue developing her violin studio in the future and work as an event planner.

Gwen Trapp



As I was looking into the different topics for my enterprise story, I decided that I wanted to write about something I knew I was passionate about. Since I have been highly involved on the University of Utah’s campus and have seen the benefits of doing so, I felt that diving deeper into campus involvement would be a prudent topic.  

After thinking about what specific area I wanted to focus on for my piece, I gathered my sources according to who I thought would be the best fit. I originally wanted to target three students, all of different ages and who were all a part of different organizations. However, after receiving feedback on my topic, I thought it would be a good idea to include an alumnus from the U who was also highly involved during their undergraduate career as well.  

I was particularly interested in how being involved could impact one’s leadership journey and future outlooks, so I interviewed individuals who hold high leadership positions on campus. This led me to interview the executive director of the Union Programming Council (UPC), the student body president, and the student programs manager of the Bennion Center.   

Austin Matsuura, the executive director of UPC, was a great resource in my story because he showed how being involved can help one to discover their true passions. He was able to give a positive insight on how to create future goals through involvement as well.  

I also interviewed Anna Barnes, the current student body president, because she plays a crucial role in ensuring that student voices are being heard. She was able to express how not all leadership journeys are the same and how unexpected challenges can rise along the way.  

Bryce Williams, the student programs manager, was deeply involved in campus activities throughout his undergraduate career. By being involved as much as he was on campus and in the Bennion Center, it led him to his current job. He was able to show how being involved could help you to achieve future jobs and careers.  

After gathering all the pieces that I needed for my story, I was eager to begin writing. I wrote about the two U students and then concluded it with Bryce Williams’s comments. By writing my piece in this format, it shows the audience what the outcome of being involved could potentially lead to. 


rsz_fullsizeoutput_1c1cI was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, in the year 2000 along with my sister and brother, making me one of the unusual triplet births of that year. I attended Salt Lake City public schools and graduated from Skyline High School in 2018.  

My strong determined personality led me to decide to pursue a major in strategic communication and minors in leadership studies and business management. I have been highly involved on campus and have found a true passion in wanting to grow myself through leadership opportunities at the U. 

Some of the student organizations I have been a part of include the Union Programming Council, the Associated Students of the University of Utah, Greek life and the University Ambassador Program. I have been able to meet excellent student and adult leaders and have gained a variety of essential skills along the way.  

I hope to one day be able to take what I have learned in communication and pursue my dreams of going into a significant leadership role. I believe a successful leader is someone who is inspiring and is able to reach a common goal with the support and ideas of others.  

When I’m not at school, I enjoy spending my time with friends, family and eating as many dark chocolate desserts as possible.  

Asia Bown



I began research for my story under the impression that I’d be able to execute a hard-hitting expose on Planned Parenthood’s decision to reject Title X funds. This decision was made in opposition to the Trump administration rule that doctors at centers accepting these funds would be prohibited from referring patients to doctors who provide abortions. It could have any number of negative consequences: understaffed centers, undersupplied offices, the inability to keep many of their services free of charge, etc. I hoped that during my research and interviews, I’d be able to understand just how much of an effect this decision might have nationwide by analyzing its effects on the two centers in Salt Lake City. If there weren’t so many far-reaching effects, I’d have taken my idea in a bit of a different direction by evaluating the decision through the lens of a social and political advocate. This approach, however, never came to fruition. 

As I researched sources, I figured that my best options were the managers of the centers, the media/press hotline, and people using Planned Parenthood’s services, which of course would be their prerogative. Unfortunately, after many visits to both centers and various inquiries, I discovered that Planned Parenthood employees aren’t permitted to give interviews, which is understandable given the current conservative attitudes toward Planned Parenthood and the protests that happen daily at centers around the country. This proved particularly fatal for my original story idea. 

How could I write a full story about Planned Parenthood and how a significant decision impacts its centers without input from Planned Parenthood? It was then that I chose to shift my focus to the accessibility of sexual and reproductive health resources for students, which was always going to be a part of my story. Instead of making it the main event, I decided to use Planned Parenthood as an example of a sexual health resource in my new story. 

For this new idea, I found my sources quite easily. I went to the Center for Student Wellness and talked to one of the educators there about my story. She referred me to the sexual wellness educator, Maya Jolley, and told me about the ACES Peer Health Education Program. In my interview with Jolley, I learned more about the program and got in contact with two of the students involved with the program, Elnaz Tahmassebi and Linda Derhak. I interviewed both students and got their take on sexual health education for students and their roles in the program. Once I had all three interviews done, it was relatively easy to work them into my story and make sense of the narrative I was trying to write.

 It was important to me that anyone could read my story and understand why sexual and reproductive health resources are incredibly important for students, so I made sure to write clearly and explain the issue in depth. Even though the topic is relatively taboo and negative, I wanted to make sure that it was something people could talk about with hope, so I ended the story on a positive note.


rsz_1rsz_1img_2615My first story was a retelling of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.” My first favorite book series was Nancy Drew. And my first favorite magazine was National Geographic. I fell in love with the written word at a young age. I’ve never wanted to do anything with my life that didn’t involve writing. Initially, my heart was set on becoming a novelist, though, as I aged I grew to appreciate other types of writing and I broadened my horizons. In high school, writing for the school newspaper coaxed out a love for journalism that I didn’t know existed and prompted me to consider it as a possible career, switching gears from my aspirations in criminal law, which in all honesty mainly stemmed from years of watching “Law and Order: SVU.” 

In my first year at the U, I decided to combine my international interests with my journalistic interest and tack on an international studies major with an environment and sustainability emphasis. Now in my sophomore year, I’ve gleaned more information on possible career paths and as of right now, I hope to use my international studies degree to build a more solid world view so that I can write more effectively about international and environmental issues and maybe even pursue a career abroad. 


Andrew Luras



When taking this class I already expected some big assignment that would require us to work on it throughout the semester. I had thought of the things I wanted to talk about already ahead of time, waiting for confirmation on what was approved. I had an idea for the LGBTQ+ community but nothing really planned out until our professor mentioned she’d want something to do with Utah or the U. So I decided upon the LGBTQ+ community at the U, as I figured it’s an ongoing topic that is talked about daily throughout our lives, especially in the U.S. where we strive to solve LGBTQ+ issues.

I located my first source through a friend’s professor at Westminster College. The instructor backed out but recommended I talk to Clare Lemke, the director of the LGBTQ+ resource center at the U. I already planned on speaking with her but didn’t know how to go about it. After that Lemke referred me to Whit Hollis, the director of the Union, who happens to be gay himself. 

My friend referred me to another friend of hers who was attending the U while also being a part of the LGBTQ+. However, she wanted to go unnamed, which I respect and would probably do as well. I felt as if they were the best sources because one is the director of the resource center at the University of Utah, and the second is the director of the Union. He has been here since 2001 and knows more about the history of the resource center. The third source shared personal experiences.

I encountered some obstacles with sourcing, because people backed out at the last minute, causing me to do my interviews pretty late in the story. It was also hard to get hold of Hollis because his schedule is busy. I was able to fix everything and address these obstacles, it just took me a while to find new sources. 

I tried to let the reader understand the history of the resource center, first with Hollis and what it was like to be someone who was LGBTQ+ then compared to now. I then decided it was appropriate to fit in experience from the resource center’s director and try to go over what the resource center is and why it is there. Finally, I thought it was a good idea to end on a personal experience from someone to show what it was really like to be here at the U as an LGBTQ+ student with no filter or bias. 

I found it pretty surprising that there is such a big presence here at the U for LGBTQ+ acceptance and that I was able to actually become friends with the unnamed person I interviewed and we’ve hung out a few times. I’ve learned that I really am pretty shy until I start talking to someone, especially if it’s something I care about. I had great conversations with my sources during and after the interviews, and I remembered why I used to get in trouble all the time in class as a kid, since I really do run my mouth and won’t stop talking about something I’m passionate about. 

I hope this contributes positively to my ongoing future as a journalist and I really hope to continue writing about the things I am passionate about for future writings such as this. It felt nice to finally go out and do something that made me feel like I was writing an actual news article instead of just the same required essay for every class. I enjoyed what I did and this just further fuels my ambition to become a journalist.


I don’t think I could ever permanently leave Utah and I didn’t think I’d ever say that.

I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, thinking this city was boring as a kid. I saw myself as an artist, writer, cosplayer, video game fanatic, music enthusiast, collector, etc. all the while continuing to think I’d go nowhere if I continued to live here. I constantly sought out traveling to different states in recent years to find some sort of “inner peace” and to finally answer the question of “where do I want to be” soon learning that many of the places I traveled to made me homesick. I started to make traveling a side hobby, but only if I have the money to do so, while still retaining this mindset that the corny line of “there’s no place like home” was true in my case. I found this out in the recent years of my life that Utah was my place to be and if I wanted to go anywhere else it’d only be temporary. 

I made it my goal to become a better writer when I started college. I had attended Catholic school up until college constantly criticizing my own work and never thinking I could make a career out of it. I used to hate writing papers in school after it felt like a task to write about things I had no interest in. College has changed my mindset, especially the University of Utah. I found classes giving me the option to write while incorporating my own interests. My passion has become writing about video games or music. I love writing articles on these two favorite hobbies of mine. With that being said, they have become so ingrained in my life that I want to make some sort of career out of it.

Video games and art in general are a big part of my life. If I’m not working or doing school work, I’ll usually find myself playing a game, drawing, listening to music, or somehow trying to do all three at the same time if it’s possible. I plan to always make time for my hobbies no matter how busy I get in the near future. At least I know that when I’ll be able to retire, I’ll have plenty of free time to do so, but only if I’m able to retire. I never really thought of making writing a hobby of mine but when I incorporate these other interests of mine, I feel as if writing has become so much fun that if I can, I’ll try to write about a recent piece of news or game. 

With knowing all this, I plan on staying in Utah for as long as I need to, unless somewhere down the line I figure I want to find a new place to reside in. Making writing my career in Utah is my main goal while trying my best to make my hobbies a part of it. There’s nothing wrong with having fun in my career and if it’s something I plan to stick with for the rest of my life, I might as well find the joy in it instead of dread each day walking into a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job that I don’t find any interest in, rather I’d love to have passion in what I do.

Ashleigh Thomas



When I began to write my enterprise story, choosing a topic was difficult. Most of the topics I had chosen were too broad and vague. I needed to focus in on “a piece of the pie.” Originally, the most appealing topic I wanted to write about was the ski culture in Park City and how it has changed over the years. You can image how complex this story would have been, so I narrowed it down. I chose to write about the newest development in the Park City ski industry, the Epic and Icon passes.

The Epic and Icon passes interest me because of the way they are changing Park City. This new development has impacted local life in Park City immensely. I am also involved in the Park City ski culture and have many connections to people with strong opinions about the matter. Therefore, finding people to interview wasn’t difficult.

One challenge I ran into while interviewing and photographing for this story, was the fact that it is off season for the resorts. Many people are out of the office or on vacation, so I was not able to interview in person. Luckily, I got hold of a couple contacts and interviewed over email.

I got great information and many different points of view from these email interviews. The thing I was lacking was the personal face-to-face interactions. I find it is the best way to interview and write a story. Many of the people involved in the ski industry are out of the office or on vacation before the season starts, so it was hard to organize face-to-face interviews.

I learned so much from not only this writing exercise but also how Park City locals are reacting and adapting to the Icon and Epic passes. Park City is my home and is close to my heart. Therefore, it is something I am protective of and care to learn about. This is a story I am going to continue to research and learn more about.


Ashleigh Thomas was born and bred in Park City, Utah. Ashleigh loves to laugh and enjoys children’s movies. She has lived in Utah her whole life and has a passion for skiing and the outdoors. Ashleigh has traveled all over the world and enjoys experiencing new cultures and ways of life.   

She is a senior studying strategic communication at the University of Utah. Her love for skiing and the Utah mountains kept her in Salt Lake for her undergraduate degree. She has done internships at Cole Sport, HEAD sportswear, and Park City Municipal working in communications, merchandising, special events and economic development. 

After graduating from the U she hopes to move to New York and pursue a second degree in fashion business management at the Fashion Institute of Technology. With a degree in communication and fashion business management she hopes to move to Europe and start her career!



Tanner Faust



I could say that my story started when I first traveled to Peru with my dad. He is a health and safety auditor for mines all over the world. When I was with him I saw massive environmental damage being done. At the time I just internalized it. However, when I heard about the reduction to Bears Ears, I immediately thought of a similar thing happening to Peru. This piqued my interest in the conservation effort of Bears Ears National Monument. IMG-1436 (2)

Two of my sources came about because of my research into the area. I reached out to both organizations for their input on the topic. My third interviewee was Daniel Tso. I met Tso through my grandma. She lived very close to the Four Corners National Park and Tso was a friend of a friend of hers. I met him at a gathering near Four Corners about a year and a half ago. Recently, I thought he would be a perfect person to interview regarding the harms of industrialization of sacred lands. 

The biggest moral dilemma I faced was bias. I wanted to create a story that outlines the entire political happening of Bears Ears National Monument. However, it was very hard to find facts and quotes that were not slanted one way or the other. Many times, I had to break down the information and then interpret it myself.

At first, I was overwhelmed by the information. There was a ton of it and it all said a million different things. I decided to focus on the political argument going on around the Monument as that seemed to be what most people were interested in. I decided to do a sort of back and forth between the two arguments as there is truth in both sides. I started simple with a hard news lead. Once I got past the initial information I began to lay out the controversy in a more spelled out manner.  

One thing I was surprised about was the validity of arguments for reduction to the monument. I still believe we should favor the environment over the economy. However, the benefits that these operations bring are undisputable. Power and electricity are provided to many more homes than before. Mines and other operations bring jobs and work to the local economies. There is an honest and good argument as to how the reduction can help thousands of people. 

I found myself questioning my predispositions toward this monument controversy. My ideals were challenged. I wanted to translate that for everybody to read and experience. Like many issues nowadays, there is often truth in every argument, it is just a matter of bringing it out.


Tanner Faust grew up in Johnstown, Colorado, a small farming community in the front range of the Rocky Mountains. Before moving to Salt Lake City to attend the University of Utah, he took an interest in business. He started to create small businesses in his small town selling anything from painting services to programming help. 

After moving to Salt Lake, Tanner took an interest in entrepreneurship. He pitched business ideas all over campus to different organizations. Some were sponsored by the U, such as GetSeeded, while others were private and nationwide. 

Tanner also took an interest in marketing. After leaving the business school due to a distaste in its degree, he transferred to the Department of Communication. Strategic communication provided him with a more sound degree in the topics that interested him. 

He began to create marketing campaigns for fellow entrepreneurs in Utah and back home in Colorado. This was the beginning of his professional career. He always found passion in helping others create their dream while also creating the dream for himself. 

Taneon Rood



I was inspired to write about Zions Bank Real Academy because of the soccer culture that surrounds Utah. I wanted people to read my article, and be able to open their minds more than they have before and really see how much soccer means to Utah. 

I was born and raised in Utah, and I was on a few youth soccer teams when I was younger. That was one of the key elements that also inspired me to write this story. 

Dell Loy Hansen, the owner of Real Salt Lake, spent over $60 million on soccer facilities to ensure that Utah could become one of the greatest places in the country to develop soccer talent for the future. It’s been in Herriman, Utah, for less than two years, yet I still don’t see enough people giving it acknowledgment.  

The writing process for my piece was extremely simple since I follow Real Salt Lake heavily already. I already had an idea for what I wanted to tell my readers, I just needed the sources to help add credibility and accuracy to what I said in the article. 

I emailed Taran Meyer, senior manager of communications for Real Salt Lake, and he helped me find the other two people I interviewed for my article. 

Academy Goalkeeper Coach Mirza Harambasic and Zions Bank Real Academy President Jacob Haueter were the other two people I chose to interview. I feel like I did a very good job at finding credible people to interview for this article. My second option that I had in mind if I couldn’t find three people who worked or were associated with the academy was to ask somebody from a Real Salt Lake supporters group about how they felt about the soccer academy. However, this unfortunately never ended up being implemented into my story, but could’ve been useful since it gave a point of view from a fan. 

I encountered zero obstacles when putting my article together and I credit this a lot to the people I was interviewing. They cooperated very nicely and made the experience have no stress whatsoever. Gaining access to the facilities to take photos for my article came easy since they gave me a tour around the facilities. 

There is definitely a lot of information that I gave to the reader in my article, and it might be really confusing at first. However, my goal was to help everybody understand what the soccer academy does and what its purpose is. I feel like I truly did my best when it came to explaining everything. I admit that I covered a lot of themes but this is because I wanted people to fully be informed. 

I had recorded over 22 minutes of interview audio, and it was really difficult for me at first to choose what quotes I would use. But after time passed and I gave things more thought, I eventually found what quotes deserved to be in my article over others. 

What surprised me was how successful my article ended up being. I don’t mean this in a bad way, either. I just thought that it would be much more difficult to get people to interview when it comes to covering a story on professional sports. I definitely feel like I was very fortunate in this aspect of my experience, and the fact that I’m a diehard soccer fan made it even better. 

I personally hope that the Zions Bank Real Academy continues to develop the best soccer talent in North America and that one day there will be more people who will give the academy the credit it rightfully deserves. The academy is definitely taking the right procedures to become one of the best going forward. 


Taneon Steven Rood is an aspiring young writer, looking to make a significant impact on how we view soccer in the United States through his storytelling. He was born and raised in Salt Lake City and grew up playing soccer and basketball. His interest in writing grew when he would stay up late at night and write poetry and diaries based on how he was feeling during his high school years.

TaneonRoodHe enjoys traveling to other countries around the world as a form of leisure and his favorite place to go is Mexico. Taneon has been learning the Spanish language since he was 6 years old and has been practicing the language ever since, although he says he isn’t fluent yet. In 2015, Taneon became an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.

After becoming the youngest person to graduate from Salt Lake Community College in 2019 at the age of 17, Taneon decided to transfer to the University of Utah for his bachelor’s degree.  In the summer of 2019, Taneon did a one-month internship with the Harvard Business School start up company called Zubale in Mexico City. One day he wants to open youth soccer leagues for children in communities that are underdeveloped around the world.

Madisen Gates



This story was initially very intimidating. When I started thinking of topics for my enterprise story, I first spoke with my friends, classmates, and professors to get an idea for what to write on. After speaking with one of my classmates, I quickly found a great, and somewhat shocking, story idea. However, the day before story pitches were due, my main source decided she did not necessarily want her name attached to this story and backed out. I really needed to find an alternative, and fast. I began browsing local events on the University of Utah campus to get started. Shortly into this endeavor I found a link to an event called, “Inspired!”

At first, I did not think much of the event. The description only mentioned artwork on display at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. It caught my eye and, through research, I found out how truly incredible the staff and artists are at HCI. The event turned out to be much more than artwork. The Artists-in-Residence program aims to heal patients, caregivers, and staff members through expressive painting, drawing, and many other creative projects.

Following the link on the events page, I found the email for Donna Beluchi who is one of the staff members on the project. She referred me to my main source, Shelly White, the program director. White then suggested going to one of the art sessions to meet the current artist and speak with the attendees.

I was inspired by White’s passion for the program and dedication to continue these programs. It did not take long for me to find a patient, Caren Pinson, at the art session who was very excited to share her experience on attending this program. These three sources gave me detailed perspectives on what it takes to implement a large program like this, continue to run it, and what it feels like to experience it.

During this project, I was able to meet with so many creative and caring individuals who truly helped my story progress. Once I had completed interviews, an article that was very challenging at first become rewarding and fun to finish. I was so inspired by this experience that I did not need to do an outline to start writing. My sources really guided my writing as I tried my best to stay true to their experiences, feedback, and hopes for the program. They also became my motivation to make my story excellent — to do justice to the wonderful people and programs I was lucky enough to experience.


I am a storyteller.

For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed telling, reading, and writing stories. Originally from Ogden, Utah, I eventually moved to San Diego, where I graduated high school and entered the International Baccalaureate or IB program.


During my time in California, I really began my journey as a writer. The IB program helped me develop my own writing style by studying authors such as Toni Morrison, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Naguib Mahfouz, and many more.

In addition to this, the beautiful scenery and the diverse environment of people made me much more inspired to create stories. I remember lying on the beach, laughing with my friends, experiencing so many different things that inspired at least a hundred stories.

My journey continues in Utah where I am a Strategic Communication major expecting to graduate in Spring 2021. I hope to then help build businesses with my technical writing skills and creative perspectives. Most of all, my greatest hope is to one day grace the “New York Times Best Sellers” list.

Willow Galvan



When I began searching for topics to write my enterprise story on, I was greatly inspired by an acquaintance of mine, Dallin Wilkins. Wilkins suffers from severe hearing loss and has worn hearing aids since he was 18. From what I knew before interviewing him, he had lost a significant amount of hearing due to not using ear protection. At the time, I had never spoken to Wilkins about his hearing loss. After reaching out to him, he was more than happy to let me interview him and learn more about his hearing journey.

Wilkins was truly the driving force in my story. He shared with me how his hearing loss journey began, what his daily struggles entail, and how he advocates to other young people how devastating hearing loss is, and how it can happen to anyone. Not just your grandparents.

After I learned more about Wilkins’ story, it was like I fell down a rabbit hole. I spent hours researching hearing loss and how many young people it affects. I learned more about the topic than I would have ever imagined. But I was still missing my other sources. It was then that I reached out to my grandpa’s audiologist, Dr. Liz Hankins.

Luckily, she was quick to accept an interview with me. It was through her that I got most of the factual information used in my story. She gave me statistics that would do a great deal in my story. She also told me a plethora of ways that people damage their hearing and warned others that it isn’t just older people who are affected.

She was also kind enough to connect me to another source, her husband and hearing care specialist, Josh Hankins. He provided me with all the final information my story needed. He gave his advice on what people should and should not be doing when it comes to protecting their ears. He was also the person who informed me about the new Apple iOS 13 update, which includes the Health app having a new hearing health section. This became a large part of my story.

I would be lying if I said that I was not immediately overwhelmed with the information I had retained from my interviews. However, when I began writing, it all started to piece itself together. I guess it is true what they say, starting is the hardest part.

I quickly realized my story was becoming more of a service piece than I had originally thought. The focus of my story went from being about Wilkins and his personal hearing loss journey, to being a piece about warning and informing others about what they can do to protect their ears and hearing health. Through writing this story I learned a lot, and I can only hope that readers will too.


IMG_4102I’m a Utah girl, born and raised. My entire family, extended and all, have always resided here. I grew up closer to my family than most. They are my everything, and up until a few years ago, I could get to any of them in a five-minute drive. Then, my life changed.

Everything I knew was uprooted when most of my family moved to North Carolina. Originally, I was going to head out there too, that was until I got accepted at the University of Utah.

Making the decision to stay in Utah, when most of my heart moved across the country, was one of the hardest choices I have ever made. I make the trip out there as frequently as I can.

Utah also has some of my heart. Everything I grew up loving is here. Including the University of Utah. Currently, I am a junior and am majoring in strategic communication. 

After graduation, whether it be here or on the East Coast, I hope to go into a career in marketing or public relations. 



Hailey Danielson

MY STORY: The Writing Center at the University of Utah


I became interested in the Writing Center because I was recently brought on as a new tutor there. During my training, a lot of questions started to come to mind. Why don’t a lot of students at the University of Utah make use of this free resource?

I had to start looking inward, and I realized that I never wanted to visit the center because I was afraid that people would think that I was a bad writer. So I wanted to know if other people shared this fear and if there was some sort of a stigma against visiting the Writing Center.

So I decided to start my story by asking some fellow students about their thoughts on the Writing Center. To my surprise, the students I interviewed didn’t feel that there was a stigma per se, but rather there couldn’t even be a stigma because not enough students even knew that the university had a writing center.

I had to shift gears, I went to the director and coordinator of the center to ask them about what they believe that the student body thinks about the center. Anne McMurtrey and Abby Christensen were great sources because they had first-hand details about how they market the center and data that I could get on student visits.

But during my writing and interviewing, I did find some moral and ethical hurdles when it came to the fact that I am a paid tutor at the Writing Center. I had trouble ensuring that no bias came through in the article. In the end, I think I was able to keep a level head while I was writing, without adding in my own opinions and thoughts.

As I began writing, I found it difficult to make sense of all the information that I had gathered, I just wrote everything down in the way that my mind made sense of the order, answering the questions that came to my mind in the order that they appeared to make the story come across the most logically. But it is true that that style mostly relies on the basis that everyone else’s brain functions the same way mine does, which is a bit of a gamble.

At first, I had no idea what I was doing. But after a few very rough drafts, the flow of the paper really started to come to me. Suddenly I was writing, paragraph after paragraph, in a voice that was true to me, while also making the points I wanted to make.

I suppose what I learned from this story is that even if you are struggling don’t stop writing, because as long as you persevere, the story will come to you eventually. I learned a lot about my writing throughout this process. I had to separate the English major part of my brain and explore the journalist part. I ended up really enjoying writing this piece, even though it was incredibly difficult. The voice that I discovered within myself was very exciting, and I’m very proud of all the growth that I have made while working on this project.


Hailey Danielson was born in Pocatello, Idaho, and moved around the state a lot in her childhood. When she was 13 she moved to Santa Barbara, California, where she finished off high school at San Marcos Senior High. When she started college she came to the University of Utah to pursue a degree in English with the Honors College. Danielson is a photojournalist for the University of Utah Daily Utah Chronicle and is debating whether or not to pursue a double major in journalism.

Danielson just completed her first course in journalism — Comm 1610, Introduction to News Writing — with her very first journalistic piece, “The Writing Center at the University of Utah.”

She wants to pursue a career in publishing, either books or print journalism and is considering a career in television news as well. Danielson is planning on graduating from the University of Utah in the spring of 2022.

Reflection Blog: Finding a balance when writing about harassment

By Emily Albrecht

My Story: In the Salt Lake Fire Department, it’s still a man’s world

When it comes to talking about a subject that can be as personal and volatile as sexual harassment, it’s hard to know where to begin. I have friends that work with the Salt Lake Fire Department, and I knew that there was a story to tell about the casual sexism that borders on harassment in such a male-dominated environment. I didn’t want to write a scandalous exposé of something along the lines of Harvey Weinstein, I wanted to highlight the ways that women are still seen as objects: even when they’re doing the same type of back-breaking work as the men around them.

The first and hardest part of developing this story was finding people who were ready to talk on the record. Everyone in this story has had their names changed for privacy. If they didn’t, no one would’ve been willing to come forward. I knew from hearing offhand comments that there was something there, but when your job is on the line if someone gets wind of what you’re saying, it’s quite the deterrent to speaking freely. My issue was this: I wanted a space for both the women and the men who have seen this type of behavior to tell their story, I needed it to be reputable so I didn’t look like I was making things up, and the people who gave their stories to my piece had to be protected. I struggled with how much information was too little or too much, whether I needed to focus more on reputability or safety. In the end, I came to a conclusion that defined my writing and the rest of my process: women will always be told they’re lying. Victims will never be believed by everyone, much as they may speak their truth. I had to put their safety first, and trust that people will believe the testimonies regardless of what they’re told about the speakers.

In the end, there were a lot of things that I wish I could’ve included that I couldn’t because it jeopardized the safety of my sources. For every story that’s happened to every woman on the force, there’s ten more that are incredibly personal and would give away the source in an instant to anyone who’d seen it happen. I think for some journalists, they’d err on the opposite side of me, and maybe that’s a mistake. But I stand by my decisions, and if nothing else they taught me more about myself.

In the Salt Lake Fire Department, it’s still a man’s world

By Emily Albrecht

SALT LAKE CITY — In the Salt Lake City Fire Department, women show interest but still seem to be on the outskirts of the “boys’ club” that’s been cultivated.

Part of this is historically, firefighting has been men’s work. This dynamic has real-world consequences, and those are becoming increasingly apparent. In order to survive in industries like this, women often adapt by distancing themselves from each other or trying to become ‘one of the boys,’ which furthers preexisting norms. One of the biggest issues, however, is sexual harassment. In a study by Pew Research Center, 62% of women in male-dominated fields said that sexual harassment was an issue in their industry, as opposed to 42% in female-dominated fields. In that same study, women in male-dominated industries reported 10-20% more discrimination on the basis of sex than those in other fields.

When it comes to the SLFD, it’s evident that there are stories to be told, but victims are too scared to speak openly about it. Of the five people that were approached to be interviewed for this story, only three were willing to talk and all of them did it on the condition that the interviews would be anonymous.

Liam*, a 25-year-old male firefighter, said part of it is a culture that punishes those that speak out. He’s seen many women forced to prove themselves in ways the men aren’t required to and has friends who have experienced sexual harassment or assault but don’t want to tell anyone out of fear of being “blacklisted.”

“If you haven’t had at least five years of experience, you aren’t expected to have an opinion on anything.” Even after that, he says it is nearly impossible to make real change, saying the system just “isn’t set up for it.” The men in positions of power are, for the most part, happy where they’re at. As long as they continue to benefit from the systems, Liam doesn’t have a whole lot of hope. “It’s not a system that’s based on change. There’s a lot of opposition, culturally and otherwise.”

For the women in the department, it is evident they love their jobs. When so few of them are women, it is something they have to love, or it wouldn’t be worth it. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in 2018, 33.9% of EMS personnel and 5.1% of firefighters were women. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why one EMT called it a “boys’ club” or, as Liam said, a “fraternity.”

As for the actual women in the department, they’re obviously competent and passionate about what they do. Katie*, 18, and Sarah*, 22, both work with Gold Cross as first responders, and therefore spend significant time with the firefighters on calls. Sarah feels like she’s built a rapport with the men, to the point where she’s not worried if they try anything with her because she knows she can tell them to back off, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t notice the differences between how they treat men and women.

When new people come on to the team, especially guys, she tells them that although she’s treated nicely, she “is a female, so that changes the way they treat us.” It’s not always a “creepy” kind of nice, she emphasizes, but it doesn’t happen with the men on the team.

Image by Emily Albrecht

Aside from that, there are more concrete incidents or actions that get brushed off out of practicality. She’s there to do her job, and although they know better than to give her a hug and “leav[e] their hands on [her] lower back,” she doesn’t have the time to do anything about it. It’s a matter of picking your battles, and she finds it easier to say “no” and expect them to listen. “It makes me uncomfortable and then I just leave it alone.”

That said, there are some things that can’t help but put a woman on edge. “[I] knew a specific crew that had little nicknames for every woman at Gold Cross,” says Sarah. Even if some of them weren’t derogatory, some of them were, which left her wondering “well what on earth were they calling me?”

This uncertainty is echoed by Katie, saying “I feel like I need to be on my guard” around the firefighters. She’s happy with what she does, and doesn’t feel like she’s in a hostile environment, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have reservations. It’s not just about the small comments here and there that could be construed as sexual, it’s also about the attitude towards women in general.

There’s one part of the physical exam to become a firefighter that is especially difficult, says Katie, one all of the men say “when they watch it, none of the females pass.”(?) It’s this type of attitude that’s frustrating for Katie, and part of what she called the “boys’ club.” Despite her own experiences with harassment, her hopes for the future are high. “In my career, I don’t want it to be ‘cool’ to be a female firefighter. I want it to be normal, not just nine out of 400.”

*Names have been changed for privacy.

Salt Lake City: Safe or Survival for LGBT Youth?

By Kierra Cable

SALT LAKE CITY — On April 4th, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints revised its controversial 2015 policy that stated that those living in same sex relationships are considered ‘apostates’. According to (According to the church, apostasy is characterized as when individuals or groups of people turn away from the principles of the gospel. The church removed this policy from its records, allowing children of same sex relationships to be baptized and receive blessings. Instead of having the title of apostasy, same sex couples are now referred to as living in serious transgression.

Although serious transgression calls for definite consequences, removing the title of apostasy is a serious relief for same sex couples. However, the reversal of this policy has created a myriad of reactions toward the church.

Some angry members believe that it is too late. An article by Benjamin Knoll stated that the leading cause of death for youth ages 15-19 is suicide. His article Youth Suicide Rates and Mormon Religious Context, tackles the possibility of a correlation between suicide and LGBT youth in the LDS church. During the period of 2015-2019, the church had large numbers of members remove their names from the church role due to disagreement, anger, and even those who took their own life

Unfortunately, suicide is not the only danger toward Utah youth of Utah. An overwhelming amount of youth living in homelessness raises the question: Is this also connected to the predominantly Mormon population? 40% of the homeless youth living in the Salt Lake area identify as part of the LGBT community.

Jayme Anderson of the VOA Youth Resource Center works to house thirty to forty youth every night. The Youth Resource Center provides meals three times a day to youth ages 16-22. The Youth Resource Center It prides itself on being an accepting and safe space for anyone. The staff truly reflect their mission of creating safety for all youth who come through.

“The youth we see are generally coming from a religious background. By identifying as LGBT, the youth assume that they aren’t safe in their homes. Whether that’s true or not, we see a large amount of youth just wanting to be accepted and loved,” Anderson said, “The stigma of LGBT youth in the church has caused a large amount of youth to become homeless.”

Bryson, a youth involved at the VOA, stated that “I didn’t feel safe in my house. When they released the new policy in 2015, my parents tried their best to almost knock the gay out of me. They didn’t want me to be an apostate. They were embarrassed by me, but I can’t help that. I am going to love who I want to love even if it means getting kicked out on the streets.”

When the reversal came about, Bryson’s parents attempted to reach out to him. “I didn’t want anything to do with them. They already had their chance. The church should never have done that to us. Reversing the policy is like putting a bandaid on the situation, it’s bull shit.” Although Bryson’s story is not uncommon, it’s not concrete evidence for of a correlation between homelessness and the LDS church.

With the new revision to the 2015 policy, church leaders are hopeful that this will bring LGBT members and allies back into the church. “The church embodies love, just like our Savior Jesus Christ would” stated Mark Lewis, a bishop of a South Jordan stake, “With this new revision of policy we rely on our Prophet Russell Nelson to guide us as the church. We believe that prophets speak directly to God and if we have faith, we can be guided by that revelation. This new revelation will encourage members of the church who struggle with same sex attraction to feel at home. Our church beliefs on marriage haven’t change, but the way we include others has. I hope that every member and nonmember can be reminded that they too are a child of God.”

Since the reversal of the 2015 policy, we have seen many different responses to the church. A large congregation is in full support of Nelson’s revelation. Another portion of the church is angry that the policy was introduced in the first place.  An article by The Salt Lake Tribune entitled, ‘It hurt people’s hearts’ — How the LDS Church’s now-rescinded policy affected these LGBTQ believers and why the pain persists, shows both ends of the perspective well.

“When The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rescinded that policy earlier this month, anger accompanied their elation, hurt tempered their happiness, bruises scarred any healing” (Salt Lake Tribune). The battle of doctrine and gay rights continues to persist and damage as time goes on. The growth of this conflict will continue to push children out of their homes and even to take their own lives. With the possible correlation of LGBT homeless youth and religious backgrounds we can potentially anticipate an increase in numbers. As a community we can come to the aid of those who need a roof over their head and people to love them unconditionally.

Word Count: 861


Teen nicotine use in epidemic proportions

by Emerald Barney

SALT LAKE CITY – Teen usage of electronic cigarettes is expanding, with 3.6 million middle school and high school-aged teens confirming their usage in a survey conducted by the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) in 2018. The overall number of users has increased by 1.5 million since 2017, making electronic cigarettes the number one teen used tobacco and nicotine product.

Electronic cigarettes, more commonly known as e-cigarettes, e-cigs, or vapes, were first introduced to the United States in 2007. Initially marketed as a safer alternative to smoking, e-cigarettes gained popularity among those trying to quit smoking. With the option to choose the nicotine levels in the products, e-cigs made cutting back on the habit a reality. After surviving bans on sales, regulations, and research, e-cigarettes have seen enormous commercial growth. Roughly 10.8 million American adults currently use e-cigarettes, with more than half of them being under 35 years old.

New products emerging on the market are offering smaller devices, rechargeable batteries, and new flavors. These products are appealing new consumers into the market – many of whom never smoked in the first place, creating nicotine addictions that weren’t there to begin with. Younger e-cigarette users are more likely to become addicted to nicotine and have greater difficulty quitting. They are also nearly four times more likely to start smoking cigarettes than those who do not use e-cigs. But e-cigs are becoming more popular among teens, 2018 saw a 78% increase in high school users, as it is seen as a social activity. Logan Loftis, a 19-year-old student at Utah State University does not own an e-cigarette but will vape when she’s with her friends. “People make fun of the ‘vape kids’ in high school, even though everyone does it,” she said. “It is seriously stigmatized. I think they are fun to use once in a while. They are quite comical too, but overall they can be fun to do tricks and ‘shotgun’ with friends.” Loftis recognizes the possible negative effects and is thankful she isn’t addicted to using an e-cig.

Many teens underestimate how addictive nicotine is and have low risk perceptions of products like e-cigarettes. Teens are more likely to experiment with different substances in their youth, especially if they believe that e-cigs are safer than cigarettes. Tau Mamata, 20, has been using a variety of e-cigarettes since he was 16 and purchased his own when he turned 19. “E-cigs don’t produce tar on the lungs. You’re not as likely to have lung or throat cancer,” he said.  “I just think they are overall safer, especially since you can control the amount of nicotine you inhale.” The NYTS found that 17.1 percent of teen users believe that “they are less harmful than other tobacco products such as cigarettes.”

One of Tau Mamata’s e-cigarettes photographed in April 2019. (AP Photo/Emerald Barney)

E-cigarettes don’t contain the carcinogens that tobacco cigarettes do, encouraging the belief that they are the safer option. However, e-cigarettes are not without toxins. Vape aerosol can contain toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, acrolein, and acetaldehyde – which are found in cigarette smoke and can cause irreversible lung damage. Nicotine can potentially harm adolescent brain development, particularly areas that control attention, learning, mood and impulse control.

Some brands that are popular among kids, such as JUUL, deliver especially high levels of nicotine. Users may be getting a higher concentration of toxins due to the frequency and depth of the inhalation. According to the manufacturer of JUUL, a single pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes. Teens are especially susceptible to addiction to nicotine. The risks and lack of research regarding long term use are at the forefront of the restrictions and regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state lawmakers.

The FDA has developed the Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan, targeting the prevention of youth access to tobacco products, restricting advertisements of tobacco products aimed at youth, and educating teens about the dangers of e-cigarettes. The FDA encouraged restrictions to be placed on all flavored products, excluding tobacco, mint, and menthol. The restrictions would limit flavored products to be sold in age-restricted, in-person locations, and if sold online, require strict practices for age verification. Data from the NYTS shows that 31 percent of teens who used e-cigarettes cited the availability of flavors such as candy, fruit, and chocolate as a primary reason for their continued uses of the products.

In the 2019 Utah legislative session, HB252 proposed by Rep. Paul Ray (R-Clearfield), would impose an 86 percent tax on vaping products. Ray has been trying for several years to get a tax on e-cigarettes approved to discourage teen usage. If approved, the tax could potentially generate $23.6 million each year. However, the bill failed to make it through the state senate before the 2019 session ended.

Lewie Lambros, co-owner of Vapor Dreams in Bountiful, Utah, is adamant that HB252 would be destructive to business and encourages lawmakers to enforce online sale bans. “If that bill went through it would put the vapor industry out of business,” Lambros said. “Kids have dispensable money; they don’t have bills like adults do so it’s easier for them to come up with the money.” Lambros determines that the bill would hurt business and the consumers that the products are helping. He stated that the way to eliminate teen usage to enforce punishments on teens who are caught using e-cigarettes and make access online stricter.

Teen tobacco use was nearly eradicated, but now national concern rises once again about the safety and health of the youth. Reports like those conducted by the NYTS show the concerns are justified. E-cigarettes can help encourage adult smokers to a less harmful delivery system, it just should not be at the expense of exposing a new generation to the addiction of nicotine.

Looking back on teens and e-cigs

by Emerald Barney

I’ve wanted to go into advertising for nearly seven years. I try and stay up to date on new advertisements as well as new regulations relating to advertising. At the end of 2018, the FDA was putting regulations on JUUL because they were putting out “fun” ads – bright colors, young actors, and new flavors. This was targeting teens in a way that was familiar, but it was for a product that was illegal for teens to use – nicotine.

When I came up with the idea, Utah legislators were thinking along the same lines up on the hill. Rep. Paul Ray wanted to impose an 86% tax on vape products, which seemed outrageous to me. I wanted to talk to him about it and the reasoning for it being so high. I also wanted to talk to vape shop owners to see how they felt about the FDA regulations and the bill proposed by Rep. Ray. The shop owner brought up a good point that if they wanted to limit teen use, they would tackle the online age verification issue as that’s where most kids are getting their products.

I also wanted to talk the people I know who use e-cigarettes, as we all grew up with this idea that drugs are bad, and they will kill you. I was curious why they started, why they continue, and what they think about the negative effects. What interested me was that every one of my friends told me they thought it was safer than smoking – as if that is the only alternative as opposed to not doing drugs.

The biggest issues I had was when I felt conflicted on what I wanted to report on. There is so much data from the FDA about how it can harm teens, but then after talking to the shop owners, I realized it isn’t their fault teens are addicted. They can’t always be the ones trying to discourage teen use and enforce it as well. I decided to make the points of both sources, strengthening the idea that no one wants teens to become addicted. The thing I found most interesting were that my friends spend anywhere from $30-$90 a month to keep up with their habits. The bill proposed by Rep. Ray stood on the idea that teens aren’t going to have that kind of money to spend, but I don’t see any of my friends stopping because of the price.

My Story: Teen nicotine use

Elise Dunaway’s Reflection Blog

By: Elise Dunaway

My original idea was a vaguer version of my final idea. I wanted to write about the connection college students feel to pop culture. In Fall 2017 I took an Introduction to Interpersonal Communication course. One of the concepts we talked about was parasocial relationships. In a parasocial relationship, one person puts in a lot of time and emotional energy into the relationship. The other party does not reciprocate because they’re a fictional character, celebrity, athlete, or other media figure. They don’t know the person exists. Writing about parasocial relationships was a more specific way to talk about my original idea, and I could still apply it to college students. 

I first emailed Dr. Julia Moore, the professor for the Introduction to Interpersonal Communication course I took. I also emailed a lot of professors from the Department of Psychology at the University of Utah who focus on social psychology. Dr. Bert Uchino, the Department Chair, emailed me back and was able to answer my questions. I reached out to a friend, Lily Chidester, so that I could also have the perspective of a college student. I think they were the best sources because Dr. Moore and Dr. Uchino had a lot of knowledge about the concept and Lily had a lot of experience with it. I feel like her comments are reflective of many college students’ experience. 

The only real obstacle I encountered was setting up interviews with my sources. I never heard back from a lot of people I emailed, but luckily heard back from Dr. Moore and Dr. Uchino. Finding data to use in my story was slightly difficult, but I ended up finding a great study that added a lot of insight to my topic.

I decided to focus on college students because they’re the audience for my article. I also think that teens and college students are more likely to experience parasocial relationships than older people due to the use and presence of social media in their lives. When doing research, I kept notes of what information I felt was the most relevant to the article I was trying to write. Having the notes kept me organized because I didn’t have to go back and scour through websites to find the information I wanted.

I approached writing this article as I did the other articles I had to write for this course. I found my topic, gathered sources, and tried to arrange the information in the most engaging and accessible way. I used quotes from my sources in places where they explained the concept better than I could. 

There were quite a few interesting details that didn’t make it in. My friend Lily was pretty in depth about how her parasocial relationships has strengthened her interpersonal relationships. I wasn’t able to include all of what she said about that. Dr. Moore mentioned that parasocial relationships can possibly help decrease prejudices. Dr. Uchino talked about how relationships can influence how long a person lives. While there haven’t been any studies done to see if parasocial relationships are part of this, Dr. Uchino guesses that a positive parasocial relationship could be good for mental and physical health. I wish I could have included everything they said, but my story would have been too long if I did.

Nothing in particular about writing this surprised me. A lot of what I learned about parasocial relationships made sense. I think it’s interesting that the concept of parasocial relationships isn’t more well-known because it’s something everyone experiences.

A look at parasocial relationships

A look at parasocial relationships

By: Elise Dunaway

SALT LAKE CITY — Many people feel attachments to celebrities or fictional characters. They treat them as if they knew them in real life. This is known as a parasocial relationship. The term was first used in 1956 by Donald Horton and Richard Wohl in their paper “Mass Communication and Para-Social Interaction: Observations on Intimacy at a Distance.” It originally referred to television figures, but has since been expanded to include celebrities, fictional characters, athletes, and other media figures.

Originally thought to mbe mostly formed only by lonely and isolated people, studies have since shown that everyone experiences parasocial relationships, regardless of how lonely they may be. In extreme cases, parasocial relationships can result in stalking or other problematic behavior, however most people treat them as they would a normal interpersonal relationship.

University of Utah freshman Lily Chidester thinks that parasocial relationships are more common today due to how prevalent social media is. Social media allows people to interact with others who have a parasocial relationship with the same figure, which then can help develop real friendships with those people.

University of Utah freshman Lily Chidester on April 7, 2019. (UNewsWriting/Elise Dunaway)

“Networking among people with a common interest is greatly amplified by social media because it increases the fanbase of the thing in question, whether that’s a fictional character, like in a book or a TV show, or a celebrity, who’s a real person, but is just one person,” Chidester said. “They can’t interact with everyone that knows them.”

Social media also increases the access people have to celebrities. People have the chance to interact with public figures, which can increase the likelihood of forming a parasocial relationship.

Logos for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, which are popular platforms for fans to interact with celebrities.
Instagram/Facebook logos: Wikimedia Commons
Twitter/Snapchat logos: Pixabay

“It seems that liking, sharing, and commenting on social media increases perceived intimacy between the person and the celebrity or character, increasing the person’s perception of their bond,” said Dr. Julia Moore, a Communication professor at the University of Utah.

Parasocial relationships offer many benefits to the person engaging in them. They provide a sense of companionship and can supplement real interactions with people. They also provide a sense of connection and community. People are able to bond with others who have a parasocial relationship with the same media figure. This gives them a group of people they can relate to.

Parasocial relationships are still relationships even though there is no reciprocation involved. People tend to get attached to celebrities they view as similar to themselves. These relationships can give people an emotional outlet. They can be themselves because there’s no expectation to meet a certain standard or act a certain way.

“The greater the intensity of the parasocial relationships, the more likely it is to have a significant impact on one’s life in terms of time spent, goals, and emotions or feelings of attachment,” Dr. Bert Uchino, the Department Chair of Psychology at the University of Utah, said.

Data showing which type of celebrities adolescents formed parasocial relationships with. (UNewsWriting/Elise Dunaway)

study done in 2017 looked at what kinds of public figures adolescents formed parasocial relationships with. It also looked at how they classified those relationships. Subjects were asked to name one celebrity they’re attached to and explain why. Their responses were then categorized into Actor, Singer/Musician, Athlete, Other, and Writer. The Other category included figures like talk show hosts and comedians. For girls and boys, actors were by far the most popular public figures to be attached to.

According to Dr. Uchino, access to actors and other public figures via social media can increase the likelihood of forming parasocial relationships. 

“It gives them yet another platform to interact with fans and often involves disclosure of personal information, which we know deepens relationship development,” he said. “It is likely that celebrities know this and are trying to foster a more devoted fanbase.”

While celebrities can’t form relationships with each individual fan, their actions on social media can encourage the fans to do so with them. Appearing to be relatable can increase a sense of connection and devotion. This can also increase how many people are part of the fanbase.

Social media may not play as big of a role in the formation of parasocial relationships with fictional characters. As they aren’t real, the characters can’t make posts or interact with fans in any way, shape, or form. The development of a parasocial relationship would then have to come from the source material and original content generated by fans.

“I have these fictional characters that I have built relations with, and particularly Harry Potter is super interesting because it’s something that was from my childhood. I’ve read the series an insane amount and basically have it memorized. It’s a huge part of me and how I define myself,” Chidester said. “It’s taught me ways to better myself as a person and the characters have taught me things about myself that definitely still could have come about in relationships with people where it was reciprocated, where they’re not fictional characters in a book.”

Popular franchises with characters people tend to form parasocial relationships with.
Star Wars/Disney logos: Wikipedia
Marvel/Harry Potter logos: Wikimedia Commons

College students can receive companionship and support from parasocial relationships. This can be very beneficial, especially when trying to balance school and having a social life.

“Parasocial relationships can be especially beneficial for college students with low self-esteem. Parasocial relationships with fictional characters or real celebrities can make people feel a sense of belonging,” Dr. Moore said. “So even though parasocial relationships are not ‘real’ in that the two people don’t actually know one another or interpersonally interact, these relationships have real effects on people, and many of these effects are positive.”

Elise Dunaway’s Reflection Blog

Campus involvement and student success

By Michael Boswell

SALT LAKE CITY— College can be a very exciting but stressful time in our lives. Senior’s in high school develop presumptions of how hard college will be. Upon arriving, and after orientation, they find out that it isn’t that bad, that they will survive. Coming from out of state, a new school, town, and area can be quite intimidating. Some of your friends will join fraternities, sororities, and clubs while they are in college, and you, well you may do nothing. Your friends are out at their events and you are sitting in your dorm room, or your house thinking about how can you make college better, you wonder how being apart of something on campus can impact your college experience.

There are many ways to get involved on campus. Whether it be joining a fraternity, sorority, or any club, there are many ways to enjoy these experiences. Though this poses the question of what are the pros and cons of being involved on campus at the U of U. Does it really better your experience or does it add to the difficulty?

Dylan James pictured middle with fraternity brothers. (August 2018) At a Greek Week event. (Unewswriting photo/ Michael Boswell)

“There are pros and cons to everything you do.” Said Dylan James a member of Sigma Chi fraternity. “I chose to rush to better my experience. Not being from Utah, I didn’t have a lot of friends at the U. I thought it would be a great opportunity to make new friends and meet more people. Being apart of Sigma Chi makes you be accountable, you have to maintain good grades and they push you to better yourself. We also give back to the community, by holding fundraisers for Huntsman Cancer Institute. This year we were the first Sigma Chi fraternity to raise over $100,000 for the Cancer Institute. I was very skeptical to rush a fraternity, because of the movies and how they make them seem, but it has been one of the best choices I’ve ever made.”

Research has shown that joining a extracurricular organizations are beneficial to college students. They help bring students and faculty together, let students interact in a non-formal atmosphere, and allow students to strengthen their leadership and communications skills. According to a study conducted by Birkenholz “Communications skills of College of Agriculture students are enhanced through participation in student organizations and activities.” What if none of that sounds interesting to you. Maybe you aren’t a social butterfly and you enjoy your alone time. What would happen if you chose not to join a club or Greek Row. It wouldn’t be the end of the world but how could it affect or add to your college experience.

From left to right: Amanda Brandao, Cam Daley
Cam Daley enjoying a football game with his girlfriend. September, 2019. (U News Writing, Michael Boswell)

“At first it was different from high school.” Said Cam Daley, a student at the University of Utah. “Since I’ve played sports my whole life and being apart of a team it was a hard transition. But since I’m not playing baseball or football anymore it makes me focus more on academics, and not the social aspect of it. Part of me would want to do it over but I am happy at where I am. My first two years I would join something but my last two I wouldn’t.” Cam also went on to talk about how his first two years he felt out of place at the U. However now he feels that his priorities are in line with school, and he feels he belongs.

In a John Hopkins University Press article it stated that, “Females and full-time students who spent more time preparing for class or otherwise engaging in academic tasks earned a higher GPA and reported higher satisfaction with their overall academic experience.” And a recent study from Ohio State University suggests that “students who work 20 hours a week or more are less likely to be involved in a student organization. Compared to students who work less than 20 hour a week, or students who do not work.”  Students who belonged to an organization felt more connected to the university, more confident, and learned problem solving skills, the article said.

Back row left to right (Players) : Darian Power, Kelsin Pupunu, Brad Jackson, Alex Egan, Nate Nelson, Will Frantz. Front row left to right: Tim Nelson, Jason Frantz, Ezequil Garcia, Nate Asper, Michael Boswell, Teddy Arlington, Rocky Mars. University Utah Rugby takes third in Las Vegas tournament in February, 2019 (U News Writing, Michael Boswell)

It can be very hard to let go of who you used to be in high school. The person you were back then will be different than who you are today.  Some students carry on some aspects whether it be sports, or friends. Nate Nelson is apart of the University of Utah Rugby team but he also works three jobs, and is a fulltime student. “It can be hard to find a balance” said Nate Nelson. “I know this won’t last forever, so that’s why I do it now. The bonds I have created through rugby and what it has taught me will last a lifetime.”

It can be hard to determine what you want out of college, whether you want the social aspect or the academics. Your priorities can and will change throughout your college journey, but to narrow down on what is important to you will help make this journey a lot easier.  College is a great experience and should be used for its full potential. There is no right or wrong on wanting to join a club or not. The worst thing you can do, is look back on your college experience and have regrets.

Michael Boswell: Reflection on Campus involvement and student success

By Michael Boswell: Campus involvement and student success

As an incoming Freshman, I remember being scared of college. The idea of college and not knowing what was in store for me was intimidating. When we were told to write a story, this idea instantly popped into my head. Since I play rugby I was curious how my college experience differed to other students. Was it beneficial to be a part of a club or organization on campus, or was there no major impact. How could joining a club or Greek Row help or make it more difficult? Locating my sources was fairly easy. I knew a lot of people apart of on-campus organizations but little who aren’t. It was also difficult to find a study on students who aren’t apart of organizations and how their success is. They were the best sources because they have been students at the U for some time now, and understand the effects of being apart or not being apart of something on campus. My focus was to provide people with a solution. If you were thinking about joining but were scared, or maybe you weren’t how could it affect or better your college experience. My writing process was broken up into multiple days. Knocking bits and pieces out time at a time. I found this to be quite effective. My brain was able to stay fresh and process information as needed. What surprised me was how passionate people were towards what they were apart of.

The Punishment of Participating in Student Production

April 15th, 2019

By Brock Bernstein

SALT LAKE CITY — Like many university students across the United States, Cian Smyth, 20, is no stranger to a slim budget.

Working 28 hours a week as a director and producer for the University of Utah’s gaming production team, one would expect Smyth to be earning more than many of the team’s other members. They would be wrong. He currently earns the same amount as everyone else: absolutely nothing.

His story is just one of many among the university’s production team. Despite this, these students continue to invest their spare time into both the recording and streaming of games for Utah’s student Esports teams.

“I think a lot of students realize the grim reality of the esports industry is [that they’ll] be doing unpaid work for quite a while,” says Smyth. “I’m not happy that our production is perpetuating that.” While he acknowledges any kind of compensation lies far within the future, Smyth is just one of many voices advocating for reimbursement for the team’s efforts.

The loudest and most supportive of these voices is that of A.J. Dimick, the 40-year-old Director of Esports at the University of Utah. “Our production team is one of the most zealous, professional and talented volunteer organizations in collegiate esports,” Dimick proudly proclaimed. “They absolutely should be scholarshipped and officially part of the varsity program. What they do for the University is a service and they do it incredibly well.” While scholarships are generally based on academic or athletic merit, Dimick feels strongly that the team’s quality of work is deserving of such an award and is quick to share his frustration of a limited budget.

“I think there are always limitations to what volunteer force can accomplish relative to what could happen with additional resources,” he admitted. “What has been accomplished is remarkable and has made the argument for what we hope comes next a very reachable reality.”

AJ Dimick
A.J. Dimick, Director of Esports for the University of Utah, showing off a game he helped to produce, Feb. 17, 2016, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Dimick speaks of the importance of gaming, promoting the U’s top ranking Entertainment Arts & Engineering (EAE) program.

According to a National Public Radio interview of Mark Kantrowitz, a recognized expert on college financing and author of Secrets to Winning a Scholarship, “less than 3/10ths of a percent of undergraduate students pursuing bachelor’s degrees have won enough money to cover their complete tuition… so most students are going to have to rely on federal grants, state grants, and money from the college itself.”

One such example would be Utah’s 21-year-old League of Legends Varsity Team Captain, James “Jayms” Tran.  The official NCSA website mentions how the University of Utah was the first Power Five school to launch a varsity esports program, having done so in 2017. Tran looks back on the time before this fondly.

“The people that you get to meet and interact with has been a really great opportunity for me, and was a reason that I played for the team in the first place,” Tran says. As he’s gotten older and looked to further his education, Tran confessed that without a scholarship he wouldn’t have been able to play for the team in 2019. “Having the scholarship allowed me to do something that I really [enjoy],” noted Tran, “which is playing competitive League of Legends. Without it, I would have to find a job in order to pay for tuition.”

While Tran doesn’t participate as a member of the production team, he remains sympathetic to their plight. “Students are attending university, and it is expensive. Not being offered money definitely hinders people’s ability to participate in production.”

U of U League Team
The U celebrates the founding of its first varsity esports team, Oct. 4, 2017, in Salt Lake City, Utah. This marks the first of many esports teams, with the U now including varsity teams for Rocket League, Overwatch, Hearthstone, and more.

A former professional player for Blizzard Entertainment’s Heroes of the Storm, Skylar “Casanova” Mulder is well-acquainted with the amount of labor needed to put on a broadcast. “FI know how important a great production team is. What we do as pros doesn’t happen without the people behind us making it look good,” Mulder laughed. “I think having scholarships or paid positions and incentives, as well as making connections and working with industry professionals in order to train more competent production staff would be amazing.”

Mulder’s career was brought to a grinding halt when Blizzard announced late on December 13th, 2017, that it would be shutting down its Heroes of the Storm Global Championship esports league. Wasting no time, he has since worked as a League of Legends caster with the University of Utah, but openly expresses his disappointment with the handling of the production team.

“I think the skills required are very much worthy of a scholarship, but if they were made paid positions with internships available for students to get experience and connections in the field, I think that would be a great alternative.” While Mulder hopes to continue casting for the U, “Casanova” is forced to supplement his income through playing in tournaments for both League of Legends and Heroes of the Storm on a weekly basis.

Mulder, a former professional esports player, feels right at home commentating for the U’s varsity League of Legends games, Saturday, April 6, 2019, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Here Mulder is seen breaking down the two teams’ picks and bans before the match starts.

Though all members of the production team feel both pride and passion in their work, the amount of time required from each member has weighed upon even the most optimistic of the group. One such example would be Archie “LegendOfSleek” Smith, who has worked within every role possible: casting, observing, and directing whenever he’s needed. Yet even he notes of constant complaints among peers, due to the difficulty of juggling classes, actual jobs, and production. Despite his glass-half-full outlook, Smith admits just how fruitless the majority of opportunities can prove. “Esports connections are about as valuable as a lottery ticket,” says Smith. “For some people they mean everything, [but for most]: nothing.”

  • Smith broadcast

Reflection Blog


Kierra Cable

My Blog:

After reading through the assignment for this class, I knew exactly the area that I wanted to study. Unfortunately, my ambition certainly outdid my experience. I have never done a project that involved using AP style. This made it increasingly difficult to write my article without having to correct multiple errors.

When I thought about what I wanted to do, I decided to talk about a very difficult topic. I currently work for the VOA at the youth resource center. This homeless shelter houses teens ages 16-22. Nearly half of these teens are part of the LGBT community. I was interested by the amount of teens that came from a religious home and then became homeless. I wanted to see if there was a specific correlation between teenagers in the LGBT community and religious homes leading to homelessness.

Finding sources for this was fairly easy, however, extremely controversial. I had access to data supplied by the VOA and point people to talk to. It was difficult to find a religious leader from the LDS church to candidly talk with me. Luckily, a good friend of mine who serves as a Bishop agreed to participate in my interview. Although I had sources to talk with, I had a hard time getting information from the religious perspective.

Overall, this project was very sensitive. I wanted to give perspective to both sides of the controversy. I learned that to do investigative journalism, you often need to intrude into dark spaces. I’ve learned that there are stories that are worth researching and boundaries that should be pushed to get that information. I am grateful for those who were willing to participate in my search.

About Me:

Kierra Cable is a senior at the University of Utah studying Strategic Communication. She will be graduating in Summer 2019. She has already begun a career with the Volunteers of America working with homeless youth in Salt Lake.

Kierra has worked in the nonprofit/ministry area for the last five years. She hopes to continue to pursue a position working with youth for the rest of her career.

Story Gallery.


Saige Hawkins


Millennials are complaining about low pay but favor perks over high compensation


After I read the syllabus for this news writing class, I was super intimidated. I had never written in a news format before, and the task of pitching, writing, and publishing a story of my own seemed very daunting. I attended Park City High School where the only format you are permitted to use throughout those four years is strictly MLA for all of your assignments. Learning AP style with all the abbreviations, dashes, and short sentences was all new to me and was definitely a challenge

When I began to think of ideas for my story I was right in the middle of my internship with Backcountry, which also happened to be my first time in a human resources role. I was loving it and immersed myself in all things HR. As someone who’s about to enter the adult world and get a 9-to-5 compensation, perks and benefits packages are fresh in my mind and my peers’. It only made sense to take my professional day-to-day and merge it with the perspective of an emerging young professional.

Finding sources for this was relatively easy since I was reporting directly to the manager of perks and benefits for Backcountry at my internship. This did end up making things more intimidating because I had to ask my boss in a formal interview how she felt about compensating for lower pay with flashy perks and how that was affecting my generation. She was very cool about it and it ended up being my best interview for this project.

Overall, this project has really helped me grow as a professional hoping to enter this sometimes complicated field known as human resources, and I’m excited to apply what I’ve learned from it to my own life as my job search begins. Incorporating multiple perspectives into one article is no easy task and I have a lot of respect for those who make it look easy every single day on the job.


Saige Hawkins is a senior at the University of Utah studying communication. She will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Summer 2019. She hopes to begin a career in human resources preferably with an entertainment or hospitality company.

Saige was a participant in the Disney College Program for the Spring advantage 2018 term (January-August) as a cashier for the busiest and most profitable restaurant at the Disneyland Resort. Once she graduates she plans to return to California as an HR professional for The Walt Disney Company.

Salt Lake City: Home to Mormons and gays alike

Story and gallery by BENNY CARDULLO

Salt Lake City is known for stunning mountain scenery, the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, and the 2002 Winter Olympics. But on Jan. 10, 2019, it was also named the Gayest City in America by The Advocate magazine.

This is not the first time Salt Lake City has earned this title from The Advocate. In 2012, Salt Lake City was given the top spot on the list of the gayest cities in America, and in 2016 it made the magazine’s top-10 list.

Jimmy Kimmel quipped in 2012, “I wonder how they (The Advocate) measure this — do they walk into the local Abercrombie & Fitch and see how full it is?”

Although this is not the magazine’s procedure, the ranking process is admittedly based on non-scientific criteria. The magazine looks at the number of gay and lesbian bookstores, elected officials who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, and some edgier qualifiers such as the number of International Mr. Leather competition semifinalists and the presence of nude yoga classes.

Of course these qualifiers are more abundant in larger cities such as San Francisco, Miami, Boston, and New York. But The Advocate wanted to focus on smaller cities for this year’s list.

To explain its unconventional forms of ranking, The Advocate said, “There’s the official census with information on same-sex couples as a percentage of the population, then there’s our accounting of the gayest places in the USA — and we know the twain shan’t meet. But do we really need another article telling us that the homos gather in West Hollywood and Hell’s Kitchen?”

Utah’s LGBTQ+ advocates were pleasantly surprised by the rankings.

“Well, you know, we’re all very proud of our community here, and we’ve done a lot of growing and empowering of each other and our allies in the community,” said Utah Pride Center Executive Director Valerie Larabee in a 2012 press release after Salt Lake City was named America’s gayest city.

The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of law found that the LGBTQ+ presence in Salt Lake City is substantially growing and becoming more open and visible at a pace quicker than the rest of the United States.

Walker Boyes, a local artist who moved with his family to Utah from California, said, “Salt Lake City is an up-and-coming place. I’d rather set roots here and build connections than live in a city where no one cares about me.” Walker continued, “I also love how you walk down the street and people wave to you, I don’t get that in LA or New York.”

While many rejoice in the progress Utah has made in their relation to the LGBTQ+ community, many still feel there is a long way to go.

Sean Edwards, who moved to Utah from Princeton, New Jersey, 12 years ago, said, “While I have felt very well-received in the LDS and Utah community, I feel like there’s still work to be done.” However, Edwards and his husband, Matt Doane, are still members of the predominant religion of Utah, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and plan to raise their future children in the faith.

“I feel like by having my family here, or our family here, we can continue to embrace diversity as a community, and I think that’s important,” Edwards said, “I think successful societies and successful communities and successful people are people who really know how to work with and get along with and collaborate with other people who are different than them. If I’m going to be an advocate for our community here I need to be willing to raise my family here.”

According to a 2013 study by Gary J. Gates, a distinguished scholar for the Williams Institute, Salt Lake City is “the gay parenting capital of the United States.” Gates’ data reveals that among couples of the same sex in the Salt Lake City area, more than one in four are rearing children.

Nicole Dicou, a former employee at Equality Utah, is getting ready to raise her baby girl in Salt Lake City with her wife Natalie. Dicou said, “My wife and I want to raise our child in Utah because we grew up here and call it home. We are close to our family here, love the mountains, and enjoy all that the state has to offer.”

Dicou added, “We can’t wait to welcome our little girl to this beautiful place.”

New marketing strategies help a local business grow

Story and photos by PAMELA SMITH

 Salt Lake City is made up of many local businesses that are run by friends, neighbors, and others in the community. These businesses help the local economy prosper. But it can be daunting competing against large corporations.

Highlighted is one local business in the Salt Lake area that has made a name for itself with little marketing — until now, when it recently changed its marketing strategies in order to grow and stay competitive.

Sacred Energy is a crystal, meditation and energy shop, located on 261 E. 4500 South in Murray. Owner Janet Wall started the company in 2016 and it has only prospered since then. She has taken the store from one location to three in just a few short years.

Being a spiritual person, Wall was constantly traveling to Phoenix to take classes and learn about the various types of energy work and uses for various crystals. Wanting to create a classroom closer to home, she thought up the idea of Sacred Energy. But, working a 9-5 job made it nearly impossible to start a business.

Three years ago, she asked the spirits to lay her off of her administrative assistant job so that she could open up Sacred Energy and help others learn this spiritual practice. Over the past three years, the store has flourished with the help of her husband, customers, and energy workers, the people who do tarot reading and run the classes. Wall says opening this business has impacted her life and “changed her world completely.”

The shop’s main location sells crystals, jewelry and healing books, and offers a variety of energy work such as sound baths, crystal healing chamber, Reiki, card readings, and aura pictures. The other two locations are energy healing retreats for people to rent and hold weekend getaways and more intimate customized classes.

Being a small business, Wall has only used Facebook and word of mouth to market the shop. Although these marketing strategies have brought her lots of customers, more crystal shops are popping up and she has had to hire a woman to work on the media presence and make her stand out.

Wall says that Google, Instagram and Twitter are a few of the media platforms she plans on having her media person use for the shop.

Sacred Energy’s website will give you full details for all the events, activities, and items you can purchase, as well as bios for the energy workers.

The moment you walk into Sacred Energy you are overtaken with a positive and calm atmosphere. The staff welcomes everyone with smiles and a helping hand to find what you need. Wall wants to know that everyone who enters into Sacred Energy has a purpose or reason for walking in. She is truly there to help people and isn’t in it for the money.

Customers who walk in bring a different kind of energy. She says that she loves to watch people grow spiritually and enjoys building relationships with them.

Erica Blewett has been going to Sacred Energy for almost three years. She heard about it through a friend and now also continues to inform her friends of the relaxed environment it provides. She has gone to other crystal stores, but none have quite the same atmosphere as Sacred Energy.

Wall says Sacred Energy is set apart from other stores such as Dancing Crane, Lotus, and Turyeas because of the “good energy you feel when you walk in and our high-quality crystals.” Although she doesn’t believe in competition, she says “there is a purpose for each business.”

Sacred Energy’s motto will surely draw in all who want to find self-awareness and feel like they are a part of a community: “To provide high rejuvenation products and services to our community; that offers spiritual awareness, growth, and transformation. Within the peaceful retreat and home away from home, clients enjoy a variety of alternative, holistic, and spiritual interpretations and modalities, all within an unbiased and loving environment.”

Crystal healer and Reiki master Michael Eakett is one of 11 energy workers who teach at Sacred Energy. He teaches mediation and he says, “It has changed my life for the better.”

Eakett was not on a “good path.” Sacred Energy gave him a place to go and be a part of a community. He promotes himself by business cards, word of mouth, and Facebook. With his way of marketing, he brings in many customers for the shop who want to grow in their spirituality.

“I want to help people be the best they can be.” he says. “I know that if I don’t meditate daily I get lost. Hopefully I can just teach people the power of mediation.”

With all the large corporations taking over, Sacred Energy seems to be keeping up by revamping the way it markets itself. Watch for posts on Twitter and Instagram.

Reflections on the film industry in Utah

by Ryan Michaud

While developing this story, I had to think about what it was that I truly wanted to write about.  A few different things came to mind. The one I settled on is a feature story about the film industry in Utah. Now that I had developed the idea, it was time to get some information. I was fortunate enough to know someone who works in Park City T.V. He allowed me to interview him about Sundance Film Festival. After this interview I got in contact with another individual who works in building movie sets in Utah. This gave me another view on the film industry some of the down sides to it. Once I had a decent bit of information, I realized how little I actually understood about this topic.  Having one person tell me one thing and another with a completely different view on the same topic. Having multiple sources helps eliminate the bias. I have learned a lot about news writing while working in this piece. Before this I have never done writing in this form, with a background in creative writing it has been a drastic change in writing styles. It was hard to adapt, constantly checking the AP style guide to double check all if the rules, and even now I still find myself struggling. Something that surprised me while working on this was how big the film industry in Utah really was, from movie stars at Sundance, to hiring students as extras in movies. The amount of money that goes into the making theses films is incredible, they pay their employees handsomely but it comes with a cost. Long shifts and living in hotels for weeks at a time during final days of production. The film industry is incredible, its amazing the extent we go to for the enjoyment we receive while watching screens at home.