Mckenzie Ycmat



I’m a writer by instinct but not a journalist. In the past, I naturally would be attracted to writing about communities I’m already familiar with like the LGBT community or fashion community. Reaching out to a new group of people like Pacific Islanders terrified me at first. It meant that I actually had to reach out to people I had no connection to, which made me feel vulnerable.

Even though I was petrified by the idea of reaching out to people I didn’t already have a connection with, I knew I had to do it — not just for the class, but also for myself as a journalist. In the end, I’m so incredibly grateful I took that leap of faith and stepped out of my comfort zone. I got to reconnect with old friends from my past and even learn more about strangers and a community I wasn’t a part of.

Because of this beat and reaching out to people outside of my comfort zone, I realized that I can be a journalist. I realized how easy it is to put myself in a journalistic persona to accomplish what I need to do and to ask the appropriate questions. I learned how to prepare each interview effectively and efficiently to get the answers I’m looking for.

During my interviews, I never felt like an outsider with the community. People always treated me as one of their own and were open to most of my questions. This affected my reporting by making me more comfortable with interviewing and helping the stories naturally fall into place. I didn’t ever feel like I needed to do too much research to fill in the blanks, the answers came naturally and created a conversation through my stories.

Although I hit a few hiccups, specifically with my second story when I had a few key interviews fall through due to timing or about the questions, I was able to quickly gather everything together and find replacements. Covering the local Pacific Islander community taught me not only how to be a better journalist but also the beauty of family and community that I’ve never experienced before. I was honored to be a part of it and share a few of the hidden voices within their community.



Mckenzie graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in communication and a focus on journalism in Spring 2018. 

Mckenzie created her own magazine company called Salt Roads in 2012 and interviewed multiple musicians, artists, business owners and more for six years. Later in 2016 she started working for Broadway Media, a local radio station, as the content manager and was in charge of managing blogs, social media accounts, and promotions for seven different radio stations.

Mckenzie is from North Salt Lake, Utah, and graduated from Woods Cross High School in 2011. She received her associate degree from LDS Business College in 2015, with an emphasis in business management. She enjoys photography, music, traveling to New York City at least three times a year, and film. Mckenzie hopes to continue her passion for writing in New York City and pursue a career in writing for film.

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