Rachel Jackson




I decided on my final story for this class almost immediately. I found I was most interested in homeless LGBT youth, and I discovered it with our first in-class interview with Brandie Balken, the executive director of Equality Utah. The reason it intrigued me so much, is because I am a journalism major and I didn’t even know anything about it. I thought to myself, “how could this be happening to so many youth?”

This is why I decided to write about it, and thought it was such an important topic that needs to be covered. These kids are being kicked out for being gay, and ultimately I thought it was extremely wrong. I ended up writing two stories about it for this class, and my final enterprise story was about what needs to be done for this problem to get better.

This also became a topic I wrote about in my opinion column at the Daily Utah Chronicle. This led me to write several columns, not just about homeless LGBT youth, but about equal rights in general and some of the things that really bother me. I find these articles are always more fun to write when they are both something I am passionate about and something controversial. And in Utah, LGBT topics are very much up for debate.

It was very difficult for me to remain objective, because I love this topic so much and have very strong beliefs on equal rights for all. The first day of class when I heard this was to be our beat we would cover, I let out a big, “yesssss” (in my head). While I am sure several people were probably not very thrilled about the topic we were going to cover, I was ecstatic. So, this made it hard while covering the topic. I had to rewrite several times, because I kept trying to slip my opinion in there. This was also extra difficult, because I have been writing opinion for over a year now.

Overall, I feel like I learned a lot and I have been inspired to volunteer at the homeless youth center, which I hope to do when I get a break from my busy schedule. I also discovered many of the health issues that LGBT and specifically transgender individuals face, and this is another topic that has sparked my interest. I hope to keep writing about these important issues if for no other reason than to inform the public about what is really going on.


I am a senior at the University of Utah working toward a bachelor’s degree in mass communication with a minor in integrative human biology. I write opinion columns for the Daily Utah Chronicle mostly for fun, because I like talking politics and expressing ideas about other topics I am interested in.

I have a passion for writing and for health sciences. I have covered science and medical news for the Daily Utah Chronicle in the past and for the Leonardo Museum blog. I also have a passion for human-interest topics, which I have reported on at the Tooele Transcript Bulletin and for various journalism classes.

I plan to apply for graduate school in the summer of 2013 at a few different universities, specifically UC Berkeley. I hope to start a master’s degree in public health in the fall of 2014, and I aspire to a career in international health writing and administration.

I have a 3-year-old son, with whom I enjoy spending all of my days off. I am a killer barista at a local coffee shop, where I make extra money to pay for my yoga and snowboarding passes. I enjoy photography and other means of expressing myself through chalk art and drawing tattoos.

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