Alexis Perno



This beat was entirely new to me. Asian American communities have not been reflected in my writing, and I am so happy to have been able to cover the diverse stories within this class. The stories I found under this beat have pushed me outside my comfort zone in ways that have been useful for both my personal and professional growth. 

Covering Mushin Self Defense was especially cathartic given the reason I connected with school in the first place — at the beginning of this semester, I was assaulted during a robbery. Learning more about the school’s evolving history brought me closer to the founders themselves, and I’ve felt more and more at home as I continue to attend my self-defense class. The school’s present-day culture is so different from the history it has left behind, and experiencing the culture firsthand helps me appreciate how far Mushin has come. Journalistically, the piece is easily one of my favorites I’ve written. I don’t get the opportunity to write extended pieces very often, so this deep dive was a wonderful writing exercise. 

I love feature writing. It’s the perfect intersection where creative and journalistic knowledge come together to allow true excellence. Every time I sit down to write a feature, I feel challenged, and this time was no different. Voices of Utah really pushed me to explore the boundaries of what my writing can look like, and I’m very proud of the product. 

As for the future, I’ve always assumed I would end up on a news desk. Now, I’m eager to stay involved with features, especially investigative news features. The stories that combine various genres of journalism and pull from techniques of creative writing are the ones that hook me the most, and I want to keep writing them. 

Both of my stories presented extreme challenges — namely, the timing and sourcing. Coincidentally, I had to completely pivot from both of my original ideas to the existing ones the week of the deadline. Sourcing remained an issue throughout. My video game industry story tested my source-sleuthing abilities in particular. However, Voices helped me think outside of the sourcing box. Instead of being disheartened by a lack of contact information readily available, Voices has helped me shift my mindset to find the lead within the roadblock. From there, I’ve been able to find contact information, even if it wasn’t for the original source I intended. Voices helped me find ways to make things work, no matter what I’m working with.

I’m very grateful to have taken this class, and especially so under Professor Mangun. She’s been an enormous help, and without her constant encouragement, guidance and support, my stories would not have come to fruition.


Alexis Perno is a Communication student, freelance journalist and professional poet. They are the community events assistant at arts nonprofit Craft Lake City and are a current contributor to SLUG Magazine. With aspirations in both the journalism and screenwriting industries, Alexis aims to maintain writing as a core part of their life. Supporting local businesses, music, food and art is a priority for them, and they hope to engage the community both professionally and personally. Alexis encourages you to read the music reviews and community features they love to write at SLUG and learn more about Craft Lake City’s mission to uplift the creative culture of Utah.

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