Palak Jayswal

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When I first learned that our beat would be the “west side,” I was immediately excited. In my career as a journalist so far, I’ve learned that the best way to learn about a community is to immerse yourself in it entirely and find the stories that reflect the heart of the areas. The west side, unfortunately, is one of those communities in Salt Lake City that is often forgotten about. I’m happy to reflect and say that through my reporting for Voices of Utah, I’ve not only learned about this community, but have also had the opportunity to share what I learned with others through my writing. This is my favorite part of being a journalist.

My biggest takeaway from this experience is an epiphany of going back to the basics of journalism. The outlining, the process of getting to know someone, the ability to get hands-on with a community or person. Journalism, and more so writing in general, is my passion. Through this passion, I’m able to help highlight and share the passions others have. This was my favorite part of this experience. I love seeing the light in people’s eyes, the way they talk proudly about their passions and art. My second piece with Ballet Folklórico de las Américas reminded me to focus on the basics of journalism — how interviewing someone in person is so different from a phone or email interview. I learned to fall in love with my passion again, or at least remember the curiosity that made me fall in love with it originally. 

Working so closely with the members of the dance group was eye-opening for me. The story wrote itself just from the interactions I had with these kind people. Even if I was only able to be with them for one practice session, I felt like I was a part of the group. The passion I have for writing is the same they have for dancing, for sharing the cultures and traditions of Latin America. It resulted not only in a wonderful piece, one of my favorites throughout my career, but a newfound respect for the interviewing process. 

I’m not sure where life will take me after this class, after my time at the University of Utah. But I do know I will always be writing and I do know I hope to continue my focus on arts journalism. It’s not necessary for me to point out how drastically our world has changed this spring, but as always, the one thing that has kept me grounded is my writing. No matter where the stories take me, I will remember this beat, what it did for me, and how it reminded me of what is most important. 

Utah will always be home for me and when I’m here, I will do my best to support the arts across the state. I’ll continue to seek and share the stories of passionate artists like me. Voices of Utah reminded me of why I decided to pursue journalism.

ABOUT ME:

Palak Jayswal was the arts editor at The Daily Utah Chronicle from 2019-20. She has been a writer for the desk for three years. She’ll graduate with a B.A. in Communication and a minor in creative writing in May 2020. Palak is a big fan of the arts, but especially music and all things One Direction. She aspires to be a music journalist and to one day write for a publication like The New York Times, Rolling Stone, or Billboard.