David Servatius

MY STORIES:david-servatius



March 18, 2008: The Community

I was excited when I heard the beat we would be covering as a class this semester was the various Hispanic communities along the Wasatch Front. These communities are familiar to me from my many years living in Los Angeles. Many of my best friends are Hispanic –- Cuban, Brazilian, Puerto Rican, Colombian and Spanish. My partner of eight years was a Texan with Mexican heritage.

It was interesting to be covering these local communities at the same time that the Utah Legislature was in session. Immigration issues were probably the dominant topic on Capitol Hill this year, and these issues were raised in some form in just about every interview I conducted.

March 21, 2008: The Recorder

I decided to try using a recorder for the first time in this class as part of my note taking process. I had heard conflicting opinions on their use, but decided to try it anyway. I’m glad I did. The first thing I noticed was that it relaxed me a lot. I was able to pay more attention to what was being said and think ahead a few beats instead of stressing that I wasn’t getting every last word down correctly for a good quote.

I also learned a lot about myself. For example, I noticed that when I am not really prepared for what I’m going to say or ask, I start to talk really fast in a very high-pitched voice and clip the end of most of my sentences. It made me laugh the first time I listened to it. The lesson? Be extra prepared.

March 26, 2008: Getting the Interview as a Student Journalist

One thing that frustrated me while working on stories throughout the semester was how hard it was to get people to take me seriously when I requested interviews and then disclosed that I was doing a story for a class –- even when I mentioned that the story would be in a real, live, published online magazine produced by the class.

The change in tone was discernable, and predictable. I would leave a message indicating I was doing a story and get a call back from someone eager to help. In the course of the conversation the fact that I was doing the story for a class would come out, and then I would hear it. “Oh.” And suddenly a live interview might not be doable … but whoever it was would be happy to take some email questions.

March 29, 2008: Opposite Experiences

Two stories during the semester provided me with experience at both ends of the spectrum of difficulty regarding sources and interviews. For one story, I would ask a question and get two pages of notes in reply. It was an interviewer’s dream. The other story made me feel as though I was hunting someone down. I was ignored, avoided, and then offered time with my subject only minutes in advance. Somehow, though, I was able to get good stories out of both experiences.

April 3, 2008: Goals

Coming into the class this semester I knew that my main area of weakness as I prepared for my new career as a journalist was the reporting part –- the live-source, news gathering part. I knew my writing skills were pretty good, I knew I was good at researching, organizing and presenting information, but I had never interviewed people to get facts and quotes. The newness of it caused me more anxiety than I had anticipated. I found myself very nervous during a couple of my initial interviews.



I am a senior majoring in Mass Communication with plans to graduate in spring 2009. I am an older, non-traditional student at the university, returning to make a career change after almost two decades working as an advertising and marketing copywriter and project manager in Los Angeles. After I earn my B.S. with a news editorial emphasis, I intend to begin working as a political journalist.

I currently write a weekly opinion column for The Daily Utah Chronicle and work full-time for the University of Utah College of Pharmacy research center.

I was born on an Air Force base in Germany at the height of the Cold War, and raised in several different cities, including Salt Lake City. After graduating from Alta High School, I spent three years at Utah State University and the University of Utah in the 1980s, bouncing around as an English, theater and political science major before leaving school for California.

I have had a strong interest in politics and the political process since I was very young. To this day my parents joke about the time, when I was just 11 years old, I wanted to throw a party to celebrate Richard Nixon’s resignation.

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