Carlene Coombs



Coming into this beat, I was very unsure of what to expect. Admittedly, I knew very little about “the” Asian American community and I was initially apprehensive about my ability to cover the beat accurately. Gradually though researching the Asian American community in Utah, putting together my pitches, and interviewing for my stories, I gained confidence in my reporting ability. This semester has shown me the importance of covering diverse stories. Journalists must strive to tell all stories, especially those from marginalized communities. As a journalist myself, I have the platform to tell diverse stories and I hope to continue to do so in my future endeavors. 

For my reporting this semester, I focused on the Japanese American community and the internment of people of Japanese descent during World War II, which has historical significance in Utah. As I continued my work, I quickly realized how little I knew about the civil rights violations experienced by Japanese Americans during that time. This topic was so quickly brushed over during my high school education that I never fully understood the Japanese American experience during World War II. Learning the story of Chiura Obata and how he used art to cope and help others cope with their tragic circumstances truly opened my eyes. It showed me the importance of telling history from all historical perspectives, even if it challenges your current worldview. 

This beat has helped me embrace being an “outsider” and use that as an opportunity to listen, learn, and be open-minded. Being an outsider to this community forced me to do more research and be a better listener, which will improve my reporting in the future. 


Carlene Coombs is a senior at the University of Utah and anticipates graduating Spring 2023. 

She began studying at the University of Utah in 2021 after transferring from Brigham Young University–Hawaii. While at BYU–Hawaii, she spent over a year contributing to and editing The Ke Alaka’i, a student-produced feature magazine at BYU–Hawaii. Shortly after coming to the U, she joined the staff of The Daily Utah Chronicle as a news writer and will be the news editor for The Chronicle for the 2022-2023 academic year. 

To her, journalism is about telling the stories of everyday people. As she’s continued her education, she’s become passionate about using journalism to tell stories that otherwise might go unheard. 

In her free time, Coombs enjoys traveling, hiking, thrift shopping, and making Spotify playlists.

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