- Staying active into your senior years
- College isn’t just for the young
- Seniors can take a chance on gambling
- Tackling football injuries is a lifelong challenge
I wasn’t sure how I felt about covering the aging beat when the class first started. Having grandparents who are in their late 70s and early 80s has made me appreciate the fact that aging is a serious issue in our society. Not only has the class become better writers overall, but we have also learned a great deal on the aging process in general.
When I first came into this class, I knew my writing was decent, but my interview skills needed work. Having done only a handful of interviews, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this semester. With having a class focused on aging, the majority of the interviews I did were with elderly people. Being able to adjust my interviewing technique was an important part. Not only was I not experienced in interviewing, I wasn’t experienced in interviewing senior citizens. I have to admit I was worried the people I was interviewing would be less inclined to talk to a young reporter. I soon found out how wrong I was. Everyone I talked to was helpful. Not only were they talkative with plenty of information, I also had a difficult time trying to end the interview on occasion.
Getting lucky is sometimes part of the game. My next door neighbor, John Pease, happens to be the assistant head football coach at the University of Utah. Coach Pease played at Utah during the 60s, which made the decision of writing about football players in their elder years an easy choice. Lately, the debate on keeping professional football players healthy after their playing days has gotten more publicity. I wasn’t sure exactly who I would talk to about this topic, but I knew John Pease would be a good place to start. The coach is one of the nicest guys I have talked to. Being one of my first face-to-face interviews made me a little nervous. After fumbling over my questions the first couple minutes, I suddenly felt comfortable about what I was asking. I asked coach Pease after the interview if he knew any former players I could talk to. I didn’t expect coach Pease to recommend me to his former teammate and Super Bowl champion. Roy Jefferson wasn’t anything like I expected. When I first called the former wide receiver, I only expected to talk for a couple minutes, maybe ten if I was lucky. The interview went close to 30 minutes, and I hardly said a word. I never had an interview like it before. It felt as if we were having a genuine conversation about how injuries have affected him over the years. The conversation didn’t feel forced. It just felt natural.
Another article I worked on focused on elderly gamblers. This was a difficult subject to talk to others about. I believe I called dozens of programs on addictive gamblers. At first I was worried no one would return my calls. A few days went by before I finally heard from a person who gambled a good amount. I guess I am lucky with all the people I talked to this semester. This was another interview that went by smoothly. With the deadline approaching, I still hadn’t spoken to an expert on gambling addiction. The day before the article was due, Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling returned my message. He was another example of someone who was willing to talk to a college journalist.
Coming into the class, I was more concerned about becoming a better writer. I didn’t realize the class would be about so much more. I believe my interview techniques have improved, along with my confidence as a journalist. Gaining confidence as I go along in this career is crucial. Taking this class helped me improve and become more aware of what it takes to succeed as a professional journalist.
Writing has always been my first love. When I began college, I wasn’t sure what my major would be, until I took a journalism class. There’s not a better feeling than having someone compliment a story I wrote.
This is my last semester in college. A regret I have is not joining The Daily Utah Chronicle sooner. Most of my articles are on film events occurring on campus. One of my favorite things to do is write film reviews. Watching films has always been a favorite activity of mine, so expressing how I feel about it came natural to me. Becoming a better writer is always a goal I keep in mind. Listening to the professors criticism, along with what my classmates have to say, has been an important factor in my development as a writer.