Jonathan Wistrcill



My initial expectations for my beat were that it would not be to challenging because I planned on doing stories that revolved around the sports world. I have a lot of experience writing stories on athletes and thought I would stick to what I knew for my beat. However, I quickly discovered that I would be forced to choose a topic outside of my comfort zone.

I decided to write about a musician named Bri Ray for my first story. At first, I did not feel fully confident in my ability to write a strong story about Ray since I had never done a story about a musician before. While preparing for the interview I became nervous because I had never interviewed anyone about anything other than sports and did not want to make a fool out of myself when I spoke to Ray. I was worried I would not be able to ask the same type of in-depth questions I do for football because I lacked the same type of knowledge of music that I had for sports. But once I started to research my questions, I began to regain my confidence and felt like I was up to the task. I realized that my story at its core was a feature story, of which I have done several. By using the same tactics, I used to craft my questions for athletes, I was able to create a strong list of questions that I felt confident in.

Once it came time for the interview, I was also impressed by my ability to go off script with my questions and not rely on my notes so heavily. This was something in the past I had really struggled with and it felt good to know I was improving as an interviewer. When I began writing my first story and putting all the pieces together, something I found challenging was which quotes to include and not to include. I felt like I had lots of good material from my interviews, and I found the process of shrinking that list down to be difficult. This is the biggest thing that I improved on when it came time for my second story. I did a much better job of narrowing down the most effective quotes by going back over them and figuring out which ones would add to my story in the best way.

The second story I did was about an artist by the name of Harry Lee. He was also a musician but one with almost nothing written about him for me to base my questions off of. Fielding a list of questions was difficult and reflecting back I did ask one poor question. But overall, I was proud of myself for compiling a list of questions out of almost no background information. I also think I did a good job of listening to critiques on my first story and made sure I did not repeat myself and make the same mistakes in my second piece. What I learned from this beat is that I can write stories about topics that do not revolve solely around sports and it can be a good thing to get out of your comfort zone as a writer.


JT Wistrcill is an aspiring journalist with a passion for sports at the high school, college, and professional level. Wistrcill studies journalism at the University of Utah. As a contributor to Voices of Utah to focus on local musicians in Salt Lake and their unique journeys that got them to where they are today. His desire to tell these stories came from a goal to branch out of the sports world and tell stories of individuals who strive to be great at what they do. As Wistrcill progresses in his career, he hopes to not only work in sports but also tell other stories and give people the spotlight they deserve.

%d bloggers like this: