Jacob Rueda



Spring 2020 has been one of the most challenging semesters yet. The outbreak of COVID-19 plus a 5.7 earthquake were among the things that made this semester a particularly difficult one.

Jacob RuedaDespite the drawbacks, there were highlights as well. Receiving recognition for work I did the previous semester was something that felt good. I worked hard to carry on the dedication and focus of the previous semester in the face of whatever challenges took place this year. Needless to say it was tough but I got through it as best I could.

One skill I developed throughout the semester is the ability to self-correct and refine my work to improve my storytelling ability. In some instances it’s easy to state the obvious or use clichés to accentuate a point in the story but it takes greater skill to do something different that might get readers not just to keep reading but to develop their thinking about something, be it a situation, a person or a condition of their environment.

When this beat was announced, I was not sure how I felt about it. I had low expectations of the area and of what I thought I would be reporting on. My perceptions ultimately stayed the same after reporting on Salt Lake City’s west side but there were a few bright spots. I was able to get more in-depth views of the area and there were some things that were interesting. In the end, exposing marginalization in all its forms from the socioeconomically and politically imposed to the self-imposed is one thing I learned working this beat. I tried to show a reality that was honest and factual but not without triumph from those who experience it. In other words, I wanted to show that despite the conditions that give way to marginalization, individuals still thrived and were helping others do so.

Covering a beat like this was a great way to learn about reporting issues of strife like drug abuse, poverty and perhaps, I would say, war and social conflict. One doesn’t learn anything about the world covering routine or commonplace things unless it’s done in a manner that evolves the perception or function of what one is covering. I also believe that reporting on strife improves how positive stories are reported which I think is important.

Professionally speaking, I believe news outlets benefit from someone with varied experience. Beat reporting has a purpose and there are individuals who sculpt such reporting to provide angles never explored. For me, that’s fine for a while but I would want to cover something else after a time. For example, the opioid crisis was something I enjoyed covering. I also enjoy covering business and how it relates to seemingly unconnected topics. Like I mentioned earlier, I think it would be interesting to cover a war zone or the impact of war on various aspects of life. As a writer and a journalist, there is much more to see and experience than a single beat and although I may approach some assignments with trepidation, it will teach me something about the world and about myself.

I like shedding light on perspectives that are not explored. I believe that is a skill I am still developing at this point. The challenge in doing it well is finding an angle that hasn’t been explored yet. Most people know the basic information about the things they’re exposed to. If they look at something for a while and move just a little in any direction, they’ll encounter it from a perspective they’ve never seen before. It’s something that a lot of people take for granted but it is a phenomenon that, if taken more seriously, would reshape how we live our lives or relate to the environment around us.


I am currently a junior at the University of Utah majoring in communication with an emphasis in journalism. I am originally from Quito, Ecuador, but I have lived in the United States the majority of my life. Aside from writing, I enjoy food, music and travel.

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