Nathan Astill



To be perfectly honest, at the beginning of the semester I was terrified of contacting people for my beat. I’m not sure exactly what I was worried about. Would they yell at me on the phone and hang up? Would it be impossible for me to find someone open to being interviewed? Would I show up to the interview and my subject would be rude and awkward to me? Well, not a single one of my worries happened.

One of the major things that I learned was that even though many people will not pick up the phone, most people will respond to a well written email. I think this is because people don’t like to pick up the phone if they don’t know who is on the other end. There is a bit of risk associated with that. But if they see an email explaining the situation, and the situation is comfortable, they are much more willing to respond since the risk is much less.

At points it was hard for me to remain objective simply because the people I chose to interview I really enjoyed talking to. As such, I wanted to write good stories about them.

As I was writing I challenged myself to remain as unbiased as possible. My first line of defense has always been to read my story to someone I trust. If they believe I’m being too biased, then we discuss what needs to be changed and I fix it.

Another good line of defense was having an editor, Professor Mangun, who helped me out to spot the places where I was being too generous. This has also helped me to be more critical of stories I read to see if there is a bias from the author. I believe that when most people partake of news, especially written news, they take it at its face value, they believe it without questioning. I know I have been guilty of this, but now I have become more aware that even though journalists are held to a higher standard, they are still humans whom are prone to bias.

And because I am aware of this bias, I am even harder on myself to remain as fair as I possibly can. I want my readers to know that I am a source they can trust to get the most unbiased story I can tell.

Lastly, the thing I have learned about my career in writing is that I love stories with strong human elements to them. I’m not concerned about covering breaking news stories. I would much rather write about peoples’ personal stories, what makes them tick. Why do they think the way they do? What actions have they made in their lives and how do they feel about them now? How did they get to where they are now? And most importantly, what can my readers learn from my subjects experiences?

Yes life happens fast, but I like to slow it down. See what I can learn. What can I enjoy? What awesome stories can I share with others? Other writers can speed down life’s highways chasing the big leads. But I prefer to find the unheard voices in the alleys and side roads.

ABOUT ME:Profile

A 23-year-old guy who has always fought, nay, despised, the conventional path, I feel like maybe I’ve finally stumbled into my own. From stand-up comedy to actor to filmmaker I’ve tried my hand at a lot of different things, but none of them stuck. The constant throughout all of my endeavors has been storytelling. I love a good story. In life I really only have two career goals, to be a successful hip-hop artist and also to become a successful author. Here is my story.

Finishing up my journalism degree at the University of Utah has become part of the path that I feel is going to get me to where I want to be.

But school has never been an easy thing for me to come to terms with. I graduated from high school a year early simply because I couldn’t stand the idea of being there another year. I had issues, with myself more than school, that I needed to work through. It would still be a few more years before I finally came to terms with them.

So onto college I went. Weber State University, one of the only schools who allowed early high school graduates at the time, became my next institution to wish to escape from.

But don’t get me wrong, I definitely had good times. Life happened. Love happened. Great mistakes happened. Even though it wasn’t perfect, life was good.

I simply felt caged up at school, I was aimless. Going to class simply to say and feel like I was doing something with my life. Every few semesters I would take one off to pursue some passion or another. But they never quite panned out. I eventually got my associate degree in, you guessed it, general studies.

After graduating I went on to self-publish my first novel, “Behind Mirrored Eyes.” Writing that book was a great way for me to work through a lot of my personal issues. Things were good for the moment.

But life has a funny way of turning a person on their head just when they feel like they have it all figured out. My book wasn’t the success I had dreamed it up to be. Nobody wanted to read a self-published novel from an author no one knew about. And then through my own stupidity, and more than a little bad luck, my relationship failed. I came back to the question that had plagued my last few years. “What was I doing with my life?”

Then for some reason I still don’t really understand, I applied, got accepted and began going to the University of Utah. I loved the atmosphere, this school was amazing. But still, I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing. It would take me switching majors three more times before I finally stumbled onto journalism as a last-ditch resort.

It finally clicked then. Is this what school was supposed to feel like? Like there was a purpose to going to class? Doing things that I not only felt I was actually good at but was also happy to learn more about?

So here I am. A nontraditional journalism student at the U who is getting ready to drop his first EP while continuing to work on my next novel that I hope to traditionally publish this time around. So why am I sticking with journalism? It’s not simply because I love writing, or that I enjoy a good story and feel like I can tell the stories that other people are missing, or even that I believe this can degree can help support me while I pursue my other passions in life. It’s because I made a promise to myself that I apply to all aspects of my life. I finish what I start.

~Nathan Astill


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