Kenzie Waldon



At the beginning of this semester, I didn’t know what else I could learn about writing. After all, (insert sarcasm here) I was already an established music writer at a local magazine; what more could I learn about the craft of writing a story? I am pleased to say that I couldn’t have been more wrong. The information and advice I’ve obtained in this course has boosted my writing skills more than I could have ever thought. 

One thing in particular that I realized came from our designated textbook for this class, “Writing as Craft and Magic.” One of the first assigned readings made the distinction between the definitions of a writer and a reporter. The epiphany I had with this new token of information is that I lean more toward a writer mentality that borders on journalism more than I do with reporting. While I love to tell stories about the community around me, I know my passion does not lie in churning out news on a daily basis. I like to take my time with pieces to fully indulge myself in the content while also staying as creative as I can with it. A daily news reporter has more restrictions than my creative writer brain could ever handle for a long period of time. 

Our focus on beat reporting this semester has helped my professional career by teaching me how to balance writing four feature stories at a time. Right before the semester started, I was offered the opportunity to write my first feature stories for SLUG Magazine on two different bands for the Virtualized Showcase. I was progressively writing these features while also developing my two enterprise stories for this class. The overlap made my workload immense but ultimately taught me how to manage my time for possibly similar future scenarios. One of the most difficult parts about it, though, was the worry that I wouldn’t be able to give my full attention to each piece to make sure that each article was getting the proper attention and representation that it deserved. I’ve found that a lot of panic and hope goes into being a professional storyteller. But the satisfaction of seeing your hard work published for the world to see is an unmeasurable and addictive feeling.

I plan to continue with my involvement in reporting on the African American and other marginalized communities after my academic career is over. It’s important for a community to be properly represented and given a platform to spotlight the positivity that supports our diverse public. At the moment, I am a music writer for SLUG Magazine, and I will make sure in all future endeavors where I’m reporting on a community that I’m not casting out any minority groups that may have been overshadowed by my own blinded ignorance. It’s important to dive deep in the smaller communities of Utah so our cultural diversity can grow and Utah can be seen for the developing diverse state it is becoming.


My name is Kenzie Waldon and I am a junior at the University of Utah on the Journalism track in the Communication department with a minor in Creative Writing. I am a music writer for SLUG Magazine, a local publication dedicated to spotlighting the underground community of Utah. I’m also the recipient of the Robert K. Avery Scholarship for the 2021-2022 academic year. If I’m not working on school or writing, I’m singing and playing guitar in the glam rock band Slick Velveteens or at home cuddling my two dogs.

Brianna Pearson


Out of state student-athletes of color at the University of Utah speak out

University of Utah athletic team use their platforms to promote social justice


When I was told we were going to be writing our stories on a specific beat this semester I soon asked myself, what is a beat? I had no idea what that meant. But thankfully, Voices of Utah taught me exactly what a beat is, and for that, I am grateful I had the opportunity to be in this class. 

I quickly came to learn that we were going to specifically be writing about the African American community within the state of Utah. At first, I thought this would be more difficult just because of the Utah demographics. But then, I realized this beat is not focused on very much in Utah, so I was excited to take on this opportunity of focusing on this beat.

My expectations for this beat changed quickly as the semester went on. I was so eager to learn more about this community and really understand others from a whole different perspective. This beat taught me to have conversations that might be out of my comfort zone, and this has already helped me become a better interviewer for my future. 

I wanted my stories to be focused on the African American community within Utah athletics. As I had the chance to interview many student-athletes, it really opened my eyes by hearing some of their stories and experiences at the University of Utah. It made me feel a way that is unexplainable, and taught me new things such as how undiverse some of the Utah athletic teams really are. As a journalist, I found a sense of respect toward these individuals because of their willingness to open up to me. They shared some parts of their life that were very hard conversations to have. 

I hope to continue my involvement within this community because it really needs to be focused on more. Hearing more stories about this community is something the state of Utah should incorporate more into their news reporting. I enjoyed learning things I had not known before as well as hearing about some experiences that have really affected the individual. I hope wherever I go with journalism, I have the opportunity to meet new people within this community and build relationships with individuals that can help me become more educated. I am eager to learn more and listen within this community and am excited to see where journalism next leads me.  


Brianna Pearson is a junior at the University of Utah and is majoring in communication with an emphasis in journalism. She has a huge passion for sports as she is a part of the Utah women’s soccer team, competing at one of the highest levels in college soccer. 

Her ultimate dream is to be a sports broadcaster for ESPN. But if that does not work out, she would love to work in the sports industry. Her passion for soccer has driven her in wanting to have a career within the sports world. 

Being a student-athlete, she has learned many things, but the most important thing she has learned is time management. Brianna has had to balance being a Division I Pac-12 player while also maintaining good grades in order to compete. Long days of practices, lifts, film sessions, treatments and rehab, has only made her appreciate the ability to be a 3.86 GPA student.  

As athletics have taken up a ton of her time throughout her life, she hopes to find an internship as a social media marketer, or as a journalist within the sports industry during the summer of 2021. Voices of Utah has been the only experience she has had with journalism so far.

Emali Mackinnon


More than a Black female athlete

Black Faculty and Staff Awards honored University of Utah employees for social justice


Before joining this class I had no idea what a “beat” was or meant. I thought this course called Voices of Utah was going to be about something completely different. I never knew how much it would impact me in such great ways before joining this course. 

Having the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone not only talking to/interviewing new people but talking about social injustice with affected communities has been extremely eye-opening. I have learned so much about social injustice and listened to personal stories that touched my heart. I knew this class would force me to have those hard but important conversations that needed to be talked about and heard. I feel so grateful to have met such amazing people, who felt comfortable enough to share those personal stories with me. They educated me and I could not be more thankful. 

My expectations for this beat initially were low, only because I was stressed and nervous to be interviewing people, let alone addressing topics that can be difficult at times. But my perspective changed quickly and I became excited and eager to come up with questions to ask to educate myself and get the most out of this unique experience. This beat has helped me develop professional skills when interviewing. It has taught me to be confident when I speak and that no question is a dumb question. It has also allowed me to make connections with people on a deeper level quickly. I was happy about that mostly because I haven’t had a lot of human contact since COVID-19 hit. 

After this course, I will continue with my community involvement because I want to be a part of the change. I know more information and have gained knowledge on the social Injustice around us and I want to help as much as I can to make our community better. 


I am currently 21 and a junior at the University of Utah. I will graduate in Spring 2022 with a degree in Communication with an emphasis in journalism. My goal is to become a sports broadcaster for ESPN and be a field reporter.

I am passionate about my career choice because I have been involved with sports all my life. From the age of 4 until 20 I played competitive soccer and even played at the collegiate level for three years. I used to play for the University of Utah women’s soccer team from 2018 to 2020. Sports has shaped me into the woman I am today and taught me very important life skills. Being a student-athlete at a Division I school is no easy task. From having weight lifting practice at 6 a.m. to having another practice at 2 p.m. and doing school in between is something that takes time management, organization and perseverance to accomplish.

Besides being involved with sports, I also really enjoy time with my friends and family. I love to hang out and be outside with the people I love because it refreshes me when I’m overwhelmed and makes me happy. I am extremely excited for my future and  hopeful that one day I’ll be on TV reporting on the U.S. women’s national teams games. 

Eric Jensen



This class has really helped me become more aware of the civic duties of journalists. I felt a tremendous responsibility while writing my two stories. I was an ambassador between the message of the terrific businesses I interviewed and the public.

I found a pressure to making sure I got the right messages across. Luckily for me I found two standup businesspeople and was able to portray them in a positive light, which helped amplify their stories, which is really what I was hoping to do.

I think what I have learned about myself is that I can be flexible. Things didn’t always work out on the beat. I had one of my stories just not work out entirely. I never heard back from my sources and had to put something else together on the fly. I worked with one of my other classmates though, to figure out a new story. I was given a nice lead that I followed up on and eventually was able to find a great story with my discovery of the Versatile Image story.

I also worked on deadlines well. I really forced myself to stay within a timeline for my interviews and drafts of my article. I also wanted to give myself enough time to meet with my editors, and understand why they made the edits they did so I could try my best to adjust to them in the future.

It wasn’t always easy, but I really did try to push myself to improve from story to story and cut down on my mistakes. I didn’t necessarily always succeed but I made a real effort to improve and I think I did as the semester went on.

I do think that finding a way to continue to do community reporting might be fun. I have my own blog, I see no reason why I couldn’t find things within my community that interest me and report on them. I have learned this semester that journalism, in large part, is just asking the right questions.

I think I can find things that interest me in my community and pursue them. I really enjoyed writing business profiles, but I think I might also like to try my hand at more food journalism. I love restaurants, I love going to restaurants and I love writing about them. I see no reason I couldn’t do more pieces on them.

Overall, I had a really good semester. I came in wanting to stay away from sports and learn how to write something different.

I also wanted to learn how to become a better interviewer, how to become a better self editor and I believe I have accomplished most of those goals. I think I have learned that I am an effective writer who can get my point across. I need to work on becoming more concise, using commas more, and reading pieces out loud. If I keep working on those things though, I do think I can continue to grow as a writer.


Eric Jensen is a radio producer at 1280 The Zone Sports Network in Salt Lake City. He also writes for The Daily Utah Chronicle website as a sports writer, covering University of Utah women’s basketball.

He is the host of the Endzone podcast, a football podcast over 350 episodes old. Eric will be graduating from the University of Utah in 2022. He has been doing writing and journalism since the eighth grade.

Eric has a passion for writing and telling stories. Though his first love is sports, he is interested in a variety of things including global events, poetry and literature, music, and culinary arts.

He recently found the desire to write profiles on local businesses in his community, including restaurants. He is also open to the opportunity to do journalism abroad.

Mason Hardy



At the start of this semester, I will admit that this beat brought me a lot of anxiety. I didn’t feel like it was my place to discuss the topic of minority groups in the community. I expected to struggle with my anxiety throughout the semester. Luckily, that turned out to only be half the case. My anxiety has curbed, but I will admit I did, at first, have some trouble with this beat. It took a lot of time, but I was able to nail my first topic down rather quickly. The second took more time to come up with, but it ended up being such a good learning experience.

My first topic covered the Friday Forum I attended, which included topics such as Black Lives Matter and philanthropy in the community. This piece turned out to be more of a summation story than I would have liked, as I could not seem to land any more personal interviews. I did the best I could with the information I gathered.

My second topic covered the Black Student Union and the organization’s efforts to include students on campus, what political activity is like within the BSU. I was able to speak to Maryan Shale, the president of the organization. She was more than happy to speak with me, and answered all sorts of questions. I struggle with making calls to interview people, as I don’t want to be too intrusive. She made the interview process so easy and so enjoyable. I learned to get over myself and remember who this information will be for, the reader.

Even if I didn’t feel like it was my place to cover this topic, I will say that the topics have brought more awareness of social justice issues. The Friday Forum I attended was completely about addressing social inequity and social justice issues. It was great to be able to focus my attention on such important topics.  Through this beat I realized that if not me, then who? I’m in a position to cover this community, so why not use my position to shine a light on a group that may otherwise be overlooked?

Shale told me about the BSU’s efforts to create a more equitable environment for Black students and faculty. BSU members wrote a bill that the student government organization helped sponsor. I had no idea that this kind of work was going on at the university, and it made me feel much more confident in our school.

My biggest disappointment this semester was that I was unable to get better sources for my first story. Perhaps it was that I was out of practice, or just could not seem to get in contact with anyone relevant to the situation. My biggest success was a bit more personal than it was academic. I was able to push my anxiety to the side to get the work done. Getting out of my own head was the biggest help to this beat. This semester has been a wonderful learning experience, and I look forward to implementing the skills I learned in future endeavors.


Mason Hardy, originally from Las Vegas, is a senior Journalism student graduating with his bachelors degree in communication in May 2021. He currently serves as a writer for The Geekwave. Mason received his associate degree from Dixie State University, where he acted as a news anchor for Dixie Sun News. He loves to spend time with his wonderful husband and dog Lucy, and take road trips with them whenever possible!

Zoe Gottlieb



Initially I believed that my beat would be easy to cover because I could imagine that given the nationwide George Floyd protests and ensuing riots, Black police officers were more likely to feel at odds with their career. As I got to talking with more sources, such as the community resource officer of the Ogden City Police Department and a member of the Commission on Racial Equity on Policing, I learned that entities qualified to speak on the subject of community policing were more at liberty to tell me what was going on with Black officers in the police department than the police departments themselves. My beat taught me that as a reporter, you cannot create problems for the sake of creating problems. If Black police officers find that their time on the force was not at all conflicting with their identity, you have to respect the source.

An epiphany I recently experienced in regards to my career is that in some ways, journalism is the more creative medium that what I initially wanted to do: creative writing. Journalists are able to depict scenes faithful to the sources who witnessed them while adding their own flair. I discovered just how much I enjoy writing creative ledes and how I could potentially make a career out of writing feature pieces with the kinds of melodic ledes I enjoy writing.

I would like to continue with this beat because I learned from my sources that the way to draw the Black community here is to show that Black culture is alive and thriving in Utah. I believe that the Black experience is especially unique here because the culture shock of being in a predominantly white state can lend to some really amazing stories of surmounting obstacles and hedging out supportive communities.


Zoe Gottlieb grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and moved to Salt Lake City four years ago to attend school at the University of Utah. As a member of the National Society of High School Scholars, the Mortar Board and Pi Eta Sigma Honors Society, and a consistent Dean’s List student, Zoe is a high academic achiever.

Zoe has been a media producer for K-UTE radio since January 2020 and has produced her own podcast, “Ute Tell All” with Blog Team Leader and co-host Joseph Moss. She is currently the Podcast Team Leader on scholarship for the radio station and worked for the Daily Utah Chronicle as an Arts writer during her final Fall term at the U. In her free time, Zoe enjoys writing short stories and sharing them with the Young Writers Society. She is self-taught on the ukulele and has been playing guitar for six years.

Taesha Goode



I remember sitting on a metrobus in Incheon, South Korea, mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, when I came across the body-cam footage of the death of Rayshard Brooks. It was early summer and the air outside was muggy. The sun had already set, leaving a warm, deep, blue sky only offset by twinkling city lights. The bus rocked back and forth; harsh overhead lights flickered. Through an open window, the sounds of a buzzing city commanded attention. Still, I was glued to my phone screen. I watched the video three times, listening to his pleas, cringing at the gunshots that took his life.

Being biracial, I’ve struggled for the majority of my life to accept and love my Black side. As the Black Lives Matter movement in Summer 2020 began to gain momentum nationally, and later globally, I made the decision that self-love was no longer something I would await but seek out. Although I’d always been aware of lingering scars in Black communities, and empathized greatly with them, I didn’t allow myself the same compassion. It took being confronted with injustice for me to learn my own worth and, in turn, join in creating meaningful change. Thus far, writing has been the only way I know how to do that.

Investigating and reporting on the African American beat has been eye-opening. I’ve been given the opportunity to sit down with activists, businesswomen, families, and community pillars, all of whom have provided me with new pieces to the puzzle. I felt that the most firmly when a 9-year-old girl explained to me the importance of loving your Blackness. The sensitivity of this beat, amid waves of racial tension in the U.S., is not lost on me, and has only made how I share people’s stories that much more significant to me.

From the point of view of a writer, I’ve learned the difficulty in being raw with your writing. During the pandemic, it’s been much harder to get inspired. Sitting down in front of my computer, I’ve found that many times, stories don’t flow from my fingertips the way they did before. Though writing has been romanticized as this beautiful process where you just allow your thoughts to spill over onto a blank page, when you’re low on thoughts, it feels near impossible to create. When covering such a heavy beat, the way we write our stories is the difference between educating someone and allowing that chance to slip away. Though I’ve had trouble with gathering inspiration from the world around me, my interviewees’ activism and work in the community has been a source of little sparks of passion, and that passion has left me longing to produce.

For me, there’s no option in ending my involvement with this beat. Though, in the past, I’ve allowed my Blackness to take a backseat, I’ve had many harsh reminders of the state of the world. Being Black is a part of my identity, and one I will continue to nurture. I want to stay active and spread love in my community. I want to teach those who want to learn, and I want to support those who need it most. In the future, I hope to write more stories on Black activism, what it looks like, and where it can take us.

As the bus rolled to a stop, and I took my first few steps into the glowing night, I felt lost. But clarity has never been easy to find. Even now, I still feel as if I’m miles away. What’s become clear to me, however, is that there is peace in the journey.


Taesha Goode is a mixed-race, Turkish-American immigrant to the United States. Having lived in Germany, the U.S., and South Korea during her university years, Taesha has always been passionate about understanding the experiences of those different from her. It has been her goal for the past three years to document and write about these experiences in a refreshing and engaging way.

Her favorite author and inspiration in writing is Haruki Murakami. In 2018, Taesha began attending the University of Utah Asia Campus as a psychology major. In 2019, after reading Murakami’s “Kafka on the Shore,” she switched her major to communication with an emphasis in journalism.

Since 2020, Taesha has been writing mainly about the African American beat, with the majority of her work published on the Songdo Chronicle. In the future, she hopes to maintain her work in this community, as well as attend a graduate school in the Washington, D.C., area for journalism or creative writing.

Taesha will graduate from the University of Utah in December 2021, with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.

Justin Galletly



Going into my beat, I knew I was tackling some touchy subject matter, but I didn’t fully wrap my head around the extent of how big an issue my particular beat topic was. I’ve been aware of the issue of systemic racism for a while, but much of my knowledge was very surface level and not well educated in the grand scheme of things. Taking on this beat to cover how the issue affects Black’s regarding health care coverage was a big eye-opener for me, as I never fully realized how big a deal the problem was until now. It really touched me to speak to educators on the subject and fully understand how bad the problem has been for long, as it gave me a sense of perspective I never had previously.

Covering this beat has really made me realize how much broader my options are for journalism and reporting than I had previously considered. Going into this field, I was much more interested in covering media, such as working to become a video game or movie critic, something more fun and escapist rather than real world events. While I would still love to work for a publication like the Hollywood Reporter, covering a serious topic like systemic racism helped me realize that I probably would be fine covering serious events as well. It’s still not my ideal journalism angle, but I think I’m more up for it than I was previously, as covering social justice issue is an important matter, and there’s a sense of satisfaction coming off of it.

While doing this beat, I wouldn’t say I’ve become more aware of social justice issues, more than I’m better educated on them. I was very politically active in the immediate years out of high school, and for several years after as I was getting further into my college career. I’ve been a little less active in the political space since several professors warned me about taking a side as they’ve pushed this idea of “objective reporting”, and that taking a stance in politics put you at risk of getting blacklisted.

Taking part in this beat has helped remind me why being politically aware is important and to always take consideration for those less fortunate and have all the facts on the table. While I will never fully understand what its like to deal with systemic racism given my privilege as a straight white male, I think that privilege makes it all the more important that I’m aware of these problems. I have the ability to take a stand against it and help those in need, and even if I can’t officially take a side in some reporting circles, having all the facts and reporting them accurately can make a huge difference. I hope I can continue to make an impact and help those less informed who are willing to listen know the whole truth so they can hopefully make the right decisions regarding standing up to systemic racism.


I’m a college student attending the University of Utah currently working toward my Bachelor’s degree of science in Journalism. I hope to move to Los Angeles after college and get a job writing for the Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Deadline, or any other entertainment-based journalist organizations.

Harrison Fauth


Message of hate empowers Black students to demand more from Salt Lake Community College administration

Stigma of mental health creates challenges for Black community


I am not a journalism major. This class and subsequent assignments pushed me out of my comfort zone. Interviewing strangers was work for me. I had to face my anxiety, and try to conquer it. Multiple times my instinct was to drop the class and every time I felt this I did not act. In the end my anxiety kept me from doing something that could have harmed me, and even kept me from graduating this Spring. 

Our beat was something that did keep me engaged. I am aware at some level of the social justice issues this community faces. As a student, completing a minor in environmental science and sustainability, I have taken classes that focus on disenfranchised communities. These communities suffer more from environmental injustice, food insecurity, financial insecurity, and blatant discrimination. In Utah being Black clearly makes you stand out, and not always in desired ways. You can attract good and attract those who hate. 

My first story, and the subject of my second, exposed a real issue that I have not heard discussed. That issue is access to Black therapists for the Black community. It never occurred to me prior to hearing this from a Black student, that this is another way the Black community is underrepresented. 

Another eye opening fact is the stigma of mental health in the Black community. One survey found that  63% feel it is a weakness to discuss mental health issues. It is a stigma to ask for help, and at the same time it may be viewed by some as a stigma to enter this field of work. This helps explain some of the reasons there are so few Black professionals in this field. It is a complex issue.

I realized that I was an outsider for both of my stories. I felt more like an outsider when I was speaking to mental health professionals than students. I wanted to make sure I did not insult or imply anything in my questions. How I  asked or responded to a question was important. 

When communicating a story, I realized how important it was to tell it through their lens. To be respectful of their experience. I cannot share the experience of being Black, but I can respect the story they tell about their experience. I need to remove any bias if it is present. I am here to listen to their story, to share their story, but once heard it changes your perspective about your own story.  


My name is Harrison Fauth and I am a Spring 2021 graduate of the University of Utah. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Communication and a Minor in Environmental Science and Sustainability.

I was born in St. Louis and have lived in the Midwest and the East Coast, but have spent all of my school years in Utah. I enjoy the proximity and access to nature that living in Utah provides.

I am passionate about the environment and very concerned about the future of our planet. I plan to focus my future work on areas that help improve sustainable practices both in government and corporate America. I hope that new government legislation will allow for more people working around green solutions for the long-term health of our planet. I am also interested in helping disenfranchised communities that suffer more from environmental injustice.

Hannah Carlson



When I first heard of our semester’s beat, I was very excited. With the recent events of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the growing Black Lives Matter Movement, I felt that this beat was very timely and applicable to today’s racial climate.

Since the deaths of Taylor and Floyd, I have found myself striving to become better aware of social justice issues through education and avocation. I thought I knew a lot before this semester, however, I learned so much more through my beat reporting.

I took two topics that are important to me, hair and skiing. Before this semester, I was rarely able to draw connections between my own interests and the social justice movement. Before this semester, I was never on the slopes thinking about the harsh racial disparity that exists there. I’m happy to be thinking of these things now throughout all of my day-to-day activities.

I also cherished beat reporting because it took one topic and I became especially conversant with it. I believe that it also made it easier to brainstorm story ideas since I already had a broad topic at hand. It led me to look for story ideas everywhere and ultimately, seek out any aspect of the Black community here in Utah. Before, I think I would have avoided the beat. I would have felt like I wouldn’t be able to do it justice enough. Or, that I may be too naive to report on such an important issue.


Hannah Carlson (she/her) is a recent graduate from the University of Utah.

Carlson began her studies at the University of Utah in 2017 as a business marketing major, later switching her degree to strategic communication. The switch began after Carlson stumbled upon her newfound interest in writing after taking a media writing course.

Other than writing, Carlson loves to ski, hot tub, spend time with the people she loves, and spoil her dog, Annie.

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