Devon Alexander Brown

MY STORIES:

MY BLOG: 

I was 14 when I knew I wanted to be a journalist. It’s a moment I remember vividly.

I was watching “Almost Famous,” a film that chronicles a teenage music journalist who gets the Rolling Stones assignment of his dreams: observing and interviewing his favorite rock band, Stillwater, as they tour the nation. Headshot

I was blown away.

It confronted me with my own interest in writing and helped me recall all of the encouragement I had received from teachers over the years. The film wasn’t my first introduction to journalism, by any means, but it was certainly the most impressionable. I think seeing someone my age, accomplish something I had never even imagined, helped me realize the viability of writing as a career. And I haven’t looked back.

I can say that covering the refugee and immigrant beat has also been a seminal experience for me. It’s taught me the value of building trust with a source. It’s taught me the importance of time management. It’s taught me the importance of building rapport with a network. It’s taught me how to navigate potentially sensitive subject matter. And most importantly it’s given me the confidence that I need to hold my own in this industry. These lessons are invaluable for any emerging communicator.

When I started this semester I was an anxious mess. Although I had fundamental skills, I’d never really put them into practice in a professional setting. Now, nearly four months later, I feel that I’ve gained an internship worth of experience. And I’m grateful for being challenged with a beat that forced me to get out of my comfort zone.

I’ve always considered myself a writer. Now I know what I stand for. I know what my goals are. And because of my experience reporting for Voices of Utah, I have the confidence to actually claim the title.

And as a writer I choose to be accurate and accountable. I choose to be objective. I choose to write the stories that are important, not only to me and my ideology, but to the people at large. I strive for excellence. And without Voices of Utah, I’m not sure I would know what excellence is.

ABOUT ME:  

I was born and spent most of my life in Crestview. It’s a small, country town in Florida just shy of the Alabama border. I’m also an only child. So I spent a lot of my free time alone. If I wasn’t outside pretending to be a samurai, I was indoors reading and creating fantasies that I could escape to.

I’ve never read a novel by the late author David Foster Wallace, but I’ve always identified with a quote attributed to him: “The purpose of fiction is to combat loneliness.” I think a good book does just that. But as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that it isn’t necessarily fiction that’s my passion. I just like stories.  And a story doesn’t have to be fictional to be enthralling. It simply needs to be written well.

I’ve moved on from my hometown, but my affinity hasn’t changed. I’m still a logophile. And I’ve carried that love of words throughout my academic career. I’m now a fourth-year communication student at the University of Utah, majoring in journalism, and I hope to eventually become a staff writer for a publication like The Atlantic.

I believe the world needs more writers who are dedicated to their craft, ethics and the process of distributing information. Although the journalism industry seems bleak and many citizens are distrustful of our work, I trust that can change. I trust the people want to be informed by an objective voice and I believe their desires simply aren’t being represented.

There’s hope in the media. I want to play a role in restoring that hope.