Lee Horton



While I worked on my latest story about violent crimes committed against older adults, I learned something: persistence can be kind of fun.

My plan was to talk to people in law enforcement, obtain statistics pertaining to the subject and interview some older adults to find if they feared being a victim of violence.  Finding the older adults was a breeze.  But finding someone in law enforcement ended up being almost impossible.

I called many police departments and left message after message.  On a few occasions I would seem to get lucky and get a police detective on the phone.  My luck turned sour, though, as they were never the detectives who dealt with crimes against senior citizens.

The messages I left did not get returned.  With a deadline looming, I got a little worried.  After complaining to a few people who didn’t quite care about my problems as much as I hoped they would, I decided to call those same people with whom I had earlier left messages, as well as find some additional people to contact.

I once again was forced to only leave messages.  With one exception, these messages were not returned until after the first draft of the story had been written.

In the end, my story didn’t quite turn out how I planned it would.  In a way, the rejection was painful.  I have never really been a no-means-yes type of fellow.  However, a lot of satisfaction came from altering my strategy to attempt to improve my situation with hopes of making my story better.  Even when the new plans also fell short, I felt pride for digging in and trying to make the story work out.

The hard work and resilience paid off, in a way.  The story had been something I focused so much attention on and put so much effort into, that I asked better questions when interviewing the people I did get a hold of.  These better questions led to better answers, leading to a better story.


I am a senior majoring in mass communication at the University of Utah.  I took pride in paying for my own education in my early years of college.  For almost four years, I worked two jobs to have the funds to pay tuition.  This didn’t give me enough time to take more than one or two classes per semester.  Completing school was taking way too long, so I eventually started taking just as much pride in borrowing money from the government.

I enjoy writing and discussing different writing processes.  I believe in always using capital letters at the appropriate times, even in text messages and e-mails.  I might one day be the greatest ever at putting words and phrases together.

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