Hayden S. Mitchell



As I began my beat I didn’t know what to expect. I had written fictional stories, news articles and essays in the past, but I had done nothing like beat reporting. So, when I started out I promised myself a couple of things to ensure I reported well. Firstly, I made sure to give a serious effort in every aspect of this class, Voices of Utah. This included researching the topics I was reporting on, developing sources and writing detailed as well as informative stories.

Since our beat was focused on the refugee crisis, specifically in Utah, I gathered as much information as possible, understanding that this would be beneficial to my reporting. I searched through news clippings, online articles and talked to people involved with refugees. No information I collected was more important than the notes I obtained when Aden Batar, the immigration and refugee resettlement director at Catholic Community Services, visited our class. After listening to him talk about his journey to Utah and the struggles he went through, I had a newfound investment in the beat. I felt like there was real reporting to be done on the topic of refugees.

After Batar spoke to us, I decided to continue my reporting by contacting Batar outside of class to find out more information relating to our beat. He helped me understand what people go when they flee from their homes and are forced to search for a new home. Batar shed light on an issue I had very little knowledge of, giving me a new perspective to look through for our beat. This new information I was learning about rarely appeared in the national news because it wouldn’t generate buzz, but this is absolutely something that should be reported on. We could see serious benefits if more people paid attention to the smaller yet important issues.

The issue or topic of refugees is typically used in political discourse, which can create positive and negative feelings on the subject. Some people think that refugees need our help while some think it is not our responsibility. While covering this beat I didn’t look at it through that lens. I looked at it like an assignment. I had no bias or ethical issues going into this beat. All I wanted was to see what was really going on and report my findings. During my reporting I did not find it difficult to remain objective. I understood that in journalism, especially in beat reporting, it is important to present only the facts without any editorializing. This helps the reader understand the real story.

As a result of my reporting this semester, I developed a real understanding of what the profession of journalism looks and feels like. Reporting takes some real effort in order to achieve success. I believe I improved as the year went on. However, I understand that there will always be room to improve my writing and my craft.


biopichsmI am currently 22 and a fifth-year senior at the University of Utah. I plan on graduating in May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in communication with an emphasis in strategic communication. When I first started my college career I had no interest in the communication department. I was going to be a business major. That goal quickly changed after I struggled my way though a couple of accounting classes. Those were brutal. I did realize a couple of things after making my way through the majority of the business school requirement. Firstly, I will not make it through life if math is involved in any aspect and second I enjoy writing.

Understanding that I like writing I decided to switch my major to communication. There was a real difference in the effort I gave and the focus I had. I was actually learning about subjects I found interesting as well as writing a lot more. Writing was the only subject I ever liked during elementary school and high school. My grades were usually always good.

This year I took classes that focused on journalism, specifically beat reporting. I realized that I do not enjoy that type of writing. I prefer writing a story or essay where I can put my personality into it. In journalism it is important to present the facts when writing. There is no room for editorializing but that is not what this style of writing calls for. I think I am much more proficient when I decide what and when I am writing.

I will  continue to work hard improving myself and my writing. Hard work will hopefully lead to success in whatever I put my mind to.




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