Tess Roundy

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Writing was never an obvious career choice for me. I remember as a child I was drawn to math and science. In school, I felt confused by grammar rules. In math there was a step-by-step guide that led me to the right answer. In writing I felt paralyzed by the endless possibilities.

It wasn’t until after graduating high school that my love for journalism sprouted. Particularly radio journalism that told stories centered around people. I loved (and still love) programs like “This American Life,” “RadioLab,” and “Reply All.”

I fell in love with the creativity, voice and production these programs brought to stories. I had never felt so magnetically drawn to a medium before.

After a lot of deliberating, I decided to pursue it academically. This wasn’t an easy choice. I still didn’t feel like a writer and was scared I’d never feel like a journalist. But upon starting this degree I loved it. It was satisfying a deep craving.

Though, that’s not to say it’s been easy for me.

I still have trouble writing. Sometimes I feel like no combination of words I conjure can give justice to the ideas in my head. Or that there’s no way I can give my topic or interviewees the reporting they deserve.

But overcoming the challenges I have and covering Black representation in Utah K-12 schools this semester in Voices of Utah has been rewarding.

Throughout this semester I’ve noticed a great improvement in my interviewing. This isn’t the first experience I’ve had finding people and conducting interviews, but this is the semester with the most obvious self-improvement.

During my first interviews this semester I acted like a nervous, giggly robot. I’d read off my list of questions without following up on anything they had said, or asking them to expand. I’d nervously laugh then feel self-conscious that I was being unprofessional.

Before my third interview of the semester, I noticed an unfamiliar calmness. I had prepared talking points, and a few questions I wanted to ask, but I left room for listening. From then on, the interviews I conducted were more conversational, and frankly better. In fact, I look forward to interviews now. I think they’re fun.

What originally drew me to journalism was hearing remarkable true stories. I realized that finding these stories and listening to people’s experiences brings me the same excitement and joy I felt listening to the podcasts I love.

I still sometimes feel writing paralysis. But giving a voice to those in Salt Lake City’s Black and minority communities has been rewarding and worth the personal struggles I’ve encountered. I look forward to my future of amplifying voices to underrepresented folks in my career. I am happy with the progress I’ve made and the experience I got reporting this semester. And I look forward to the progress I’ll make as a journalist in my career.

ABOUT ME:

I am an aspiring radio journalist who enjoys telling and hearing human interest stories. I study journalism at the University of Utah and will graduate fall 2021. I love living in Utah, I love the mountains, desert, and the people here.

In the past most of my stories revolved around education in Utah and this continued with my contributions to Voices when I covered the importance of Black teachers in Utah’s K-12 schools. After this semester, I’ll continue telling stories about underrepresented groups in this state I love.

In my free time I love finding and trying new recipes, baking and cooking (so long as I can eat and share it with my friends and family). I also love reading, playing Tetris, and, of course, listening to podcasts.