Cecelia Fennell



I admit, the journey this semester has been difficult. Never having done beat writing in my past, I was instructed to compose four news stories dealing with the west side of Salt Lake City and nonprofits in that area. While I sat flustered at my computer, trying to squeeze more information into my first story, I never imagined I would grow to like this beat.

It was a struggle, because I didn’t know a lot about the west-side community. I live in South Jordan, which is in Salt Lake County, but not in Salt Lake City. Finding stories, sources and scheduling interviews was difficult while trying to balance my other classes and new job located in Utah County.

The struggle was more frustrating when sources were trite with me and didn’t call back as promised. This forced me to have to chase them down, and by their deep sighs and constant shrug-offs to other sources, I could tell I was becoming a nuisance.

Not all my sources were hard to work with. Many were polite, helpful and appreciated the work I was doing surrounding the organization. I was happy when they would ask me where they could find the story once it was published. Their expression of interest in my hard work made me feel it wasn’t in vain.

I noticed improvement in my writing with each story. Through constant editing I learned essential AP style rules and grammatical errors. There are always mistakes to be corrected, but because of my experience this semester I know there are certain mistakes that I won’t make anymore.

When the class first began, I thought the curriculum we were learning about headlines, writing online and social media were valuable, but mostly for journalistic careers. A few weeks into the semester I got a new job as a human resource assistant. I have been a valuable asset to the company through my creativity in writing job posts for recruiting and by implementing company social media.

I was surprised to find that the company didn’t have any social media accounts. Because I have studied new media and social networking, I was able to set up accounts and make the company more aware of the importance of utilizing social networking.

Throughout this course I had the opportunity to speak with people I might never have known, I learned to prioritize my time better in order to complete tasks and I realized that hard work really does pay off. I am grateful for the difficulties faced this semester because they have made me a better student, employee and person.


Cecelia Fennell is a student journalist at the University of Utah who will graduate in December 2011 with a B.A. in Mass Communication. She enjoyed working as a news intern for ABC4 during the summer of 2011 and continues to develop her writing and reporting skills. Cecelia loves working with people and enjoys the service opportunities that come with being a journalist.

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