Jessica Dunn

I lived in Honolulu, Hawaii, and spent the summer surfing, hiking and relaxing.

I lived in Honolulu, Hawaii, and spent the summer surfing, hiking and relaxing.

MY STORIES:

 

MY BLOG: Intimidation

I’ll admit, I was a little intimidated at the beginning of the semester. I was going to be responsible for covering a Native American beat in Utah. I’m not naïve about what our country has done to Natives. A small part of my heritage is Creek Indian from the South. I remember going to powwows as a child and my great-grandma buying us beaded headbands and necklaces. I still have many of those now.

But covering stories about Native Americans seemed overwhelming at first. I didn’t even know where to start and I don’t personally know anyone with a Native heritage in Utah. I’m used to covering beats like the outdoors and skiing/snowboarding. All things I am very comfortable and opinionated about.

I eased into the beat with the in-class interviews and eventually came out with some ideas and sources for other stories. I began to notice the Ute and Navajo influences around me. I discovered a place to eat, a radio station, an art exhibit and I learned about the reservations and boarding schools.

I think this stepping out of my comfort zone has helped me become a better writer. I’m not afraid to learn about something new. And trust me, writing an article that you know nothing about beforehand is extremely intimidating. It is up to me to tell those who don’t know and already know about a topic that I may only partially understand. It is my job to learn as much as I can and to convey that back in writing.

While, my career path (aka dream) involves my semi-comfort zone of outdoor and extreme sports, I know that at times I will be challenged to write about something I’ve never done or heard of before. Because of my Native American beat experience in this class, I feel that I will be ready to charge on and learn new things to share with my audiences regardless of my previous knowledge on the subject.

Navajo Tacos, Yum

I love food, and lots of it. I could blog all my life about what I eat, what I like, recipes, cooking disasters and favorite restaurants. So maybe you can imagine my happiness when I realized I could use my beat to try a new food.

While brainstorming about story ideas at a very random moment, I vaguely remembered driving by a sign that said Navajo on it. I knew it had been a restaurant. You could call it a sixth sense for me, I love so-called hole-in-the-wall places and I’m really good at finding them. And while I could picture the sign in my head, I wasn’t sure on its location. However, I knew it was near State Street and not too far from my house. My guesses were 27th, 33rd or 39th. so I decided to take a little drive and found it again with little effort, thankfully. I was starving (a common occurrence which can probably be blamed for a high metabolism).

I made my way in, noting the plain outside and simple sign, always a good indicator for delicious food. Inside wasn’t much fancier, with a few items hung on the walls and some old tables and chairs. Excellent, I thought, while my taste buds tingled. I had heard of Navajo tacos before but had never had the pleasure of enjoying one. I decided on the original taco. I talked with and interviewed the owner, Bill Espinoza, while I was there. He told me about the memorabilia and paintings inside and showed me some old magazine and newspaper articles about his restaurant.

I ate my taco in a state of pure bliss. The soft fry bread mixed with the beans and cheese and fresh vegetables, along with the spicy hint of salsa was perfection. It was like a hybrid taco salad in a soft shell, in other words, amazing. I would rank it in my top-10 foods and I’ve been craving it ever since. Mmmmmm.

 

ABOUT ME:

I’m a senior at the University of Utah in mass communication. I love writing but I enjoy all aspects of journalism and media. I love photography and editing photos and video. I have experience in web design, page layout and visual editing/design, as well.

I’ve written for The Daily Utah Chronicle’s outdoor section. Snowboarding and surfing are my passions, and I dream of working for an outdoor related magazine or publication. I would love to work in any aspect of the outdoor magazine.

Somewhere down the road I want to create a women’s magazine of my own that will cover either a specific or all extreme sports. Most magazines are more male dominated, but females are progressing in all levels of the sports. They need more publications of their own, and I would love to make that a reality.