Rose Shimberg



I am grateful that I had the opportunity to be a member of Voices of Utah this semester! This class has been an incredible experience and has helped me to learn more about the important issues facing Asian Americans in Salt Lake City. It has allowed me to connect with both people and place and equipped me to do more work like this in the future.

I had some hesitancy when it came to reporting on communities that I do not belong to because I wanted to make sure that I did them justice and represented them accurately. I went into the project mindful of my privilege and intending to be a listener, remain open-minded, and give my sources a space to speak freely. I am grateful to everyone who was willing to talk to me and trust me to write these stories.

This semester was tumultuous for both my reporting and my personal life. I broke my arm shortly before the first story was due and my initial recovery set me a couple of weeks behind schedule. On top of that setback, I had difficulty locating a third source for my first story and hearing back from anyone for my initial idea for story two. Last semester, when I first put together a three-source enterprise story, I heard back from everyone quickly and didn’t encounter any difficulties. But because I had to pivot so many times and think outside the box, I learned a lot more this time around about the need to be flexible and adaptable as a journalist.

My first story ended up being pretty difficult to write and I was disappointed that I had so much trouble finding a third source to speak to. But the sources I did find were excited and passionate, which encouraged me to stick with the idea despite my difficulties. I consulted a wide range of scholarly materials to back their personal experiences with relevant data, which allowed me to make up for the lack of a third interviewee.

My biggest success, in my opinion, was my second story. After my initial idea fell through, I came up with an idea, sourced and conducted all three interviews, and wrote the story in just one week. I cared a lot about my new topic, the Japanese Peace Garden and the recent vandalism that occurred there, and I thought it was a story that needed to be told. It was encouraging to see that even with a busy schedule, I was capable of turning around a story so quickly and creating something I was proud of.

I was aware of some of the issues facing the Asian American community and the rise of anti-Asian attacks in recent years, but speaking about these issues with my sources gave me new insight and perspective. Although it wasn’t directly relevant to my story, one of my sources told me a lot about the history of internment and division within the Japanese-American community, which inspired me to do more research into a topic that I hardly knew anything about.

I also realized that I don’t know nearly as much as I would like to about local politics here in Salt Lake City. Speaking with councilmember Darin Mano was my first real experience talking to a member of local government and hearing about the issues we face on that scale. Through my research, hearing about other classmates’ stories, and speaking with my sources, I have become much more familiar with the local actors here in Salt Lake City. This project has encouraged me to stay more up-to-date on local news and policy as well as big, national issues. 

Everything that’s happening on the national or global level ripples into local politics and local stories. So in addition to raising my cultural and political awareness, this class has also given me a good insight into what life working for a local newsroom would be like. I found it gratifying to tell personal, intimate stories that connect to broader issues, which I think is what local journalism is all about.


My name is Rose Shimberg and my path to Voices of Utah has been a bit unconventional. I grew up in rural New Hampshire and then attended the University of Vermont, where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Geography and a minor in Community and International Development.

Geography gave me an understanding of the intersectional nature of the issues facing the world today and a drive to do something about them. But as graduation approached, I came to the realization that I couldn’t envision myself going into that field in the future. Although I cared about the topics I studied, I realized that my true passion, which I’d nurtured since childhood, was writing.

Graduating into a world that had been upended by the pandemic allowed me the time to reflect on this revelation and ultimately decide to do something about it. Since starting journalism courses at the U this fall, I’ve become more certain than ever that I’m on the right path. Although I’m working full-time and am only a non-matriculated student, I hope that the experience and samples I gain through my coursework will help me to follow my passion, go to graduate school for journalism and one day land a career in the field. Recently, I accepted a communications internship at the International Rescue Committee, which I believe will be the perfect synthesis of my undergraduate degree and my recent studies in journalism.

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