Alison Tanner



Beat reporting has helped my professional development in a number of ways. In order to successfully write about a beat, you have to be continuously engaged with your interactions. It was important for me to learn and re-learn not only how to communicate during interviews but also to be aware of my communication via email and over the phone. I feel like beat reporting has made me an overall better communicator and it’s become really satisfying to feel connected to those I interview, even if I’m different or may not fully understand the depth of what they are trying to explain to me. I found it somewhat difficult to express some of the strong messages shared from those I came in contact with. This allowed me to explore showing my readers more than just simply telling the audience.

Of course, this semester had its disappointments. COVID-19 put a strain on connecting and communicating with contacts that I had. It’s been hard for me to have more meaningful experiences. Some phone interviews have been great, but I know that had I met with these people in person, I would be able to show and express feelings a little more. It’s also been difficult because while I know that amplifying voices that are often unheard is important, my major concern is that the people around me are safe and healthy from this powerful virus.

In contrast, a major success for me was my first story. I felt so connected to the students and supervisors of the Mestizo Arts & Activism Collective. I was able to write a succinct piece about how the collective originated and one of the founders just happened to be visiting from New York City. It felt like the stars aligned and I was supposed to focus on these wonderful people for the piece.

In other courses, I’ve dabbled into a little bit of investigative journalism and hard news, but it never felt like that was where I needed to focus my skills. I definitely feel like this semester solidified my love for soft news and amplifying voices to create incredible stories. I don’t know what my future holds, especially with the uncertainty of the job market with COVID-19, but I do know that no matter what field of communications I am a part of, I’ll always love to write.


Alison Tanner headshotAlison Tanner graduated from the University of Utah in Spring 2020, with a degree in communication and an emphasis in journalism. Throughout her undergraduate career, she completed several communications-focused internships with the Natural History Museum of Utah, JDRF International, SelectHealth, Virtualities/Facebook and Universal Media. She also volunteered as a Refugee Programs photographer for Utah Department of Workforce Services in Fall 2019. During her time at the U, she served on the Student Media Council, participated in Her Campus Utah chapter and the Crimson Transfer Honor Society. In her free time, she loves listening/dancing to music, trying new foods, and traveling to new places — preferably, all at once.

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