Collin McLachlan

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This semester has been really different from semesters I’ve had in the past. I took the Introduction to News Writing

Collin McLachlan

course in the spring. In that course, I developed a better understanding about writing for print. I started to consider learning more about the craft of writing to have it as a career option.

After a few weeks in this course, I may have changed my mind. My original intent when becoming a mass communication major was to study broadcast journalism. After doing internships for both KUTV and KSL, I learned that it is important to understand the basics of journalistic writing, even in broadcast. There are a lot of scripts to write, questions to jot down and — especially now with web content — a lot of writing to accompany video stories published on a website.

I took this class to increase my skills in writing, and it has done so. I really do feel much better prepared for the challenges that my career might produce. However, I had an epiphany. For me, working in a print news studio, doing the same work day-in and day-out that we have been doing in class would feel like taking a drill to my brain.

I have enjoyed this class. I’m grateful for what I have learned. I just don’t know if I could take this as my daily job, at least not for very long.

As for this class as a whole, I have learned quite a bit from the beat we were assigned. The story that personally impacted me the most was when I covered the Utah Dream Center, which is an organization that is helping under rivileged refugees from all over the world. Traveling down into a west-side neighborhood for that story really opened my eyes to the poverty that exists, even here in Utah.

But, as far as the social justice topic, I felt I needed to exam it a bit closer. When I was leaving the Dream Center neighborhood, I noticed a man on the side of the road who had just blown his tire while driving. The tire was on the opposite side of the car from the spare tire he was already using, so he had no spare. I pulled over and tried talking to him. Even though he could barely understand me, I tried to tell him about Pick-n-Pull and how it sells cheap tires. I then gave him a ride to his apartment just a few blocks away.

From what I could gather from him: he came from Somalia alone, was living in his apartment alone, and was working as a bagger at a nearby grocery store. The apartment complex he lived in was one set aside for refugees. Judging by the façade, these apartments looked fairly new.

This is where my social justice confusion came in. Many people living down in these areas have histories that I am so glad I don’t have, and their neighborhood really is less then ideal. However, It seems to me that a lot of people who are proponents of social justice cry out, “The rich white man is suppressing the lower class.” The general argument is that those of us who are “white” and “have so much” are putting down those who don’t.

I was confused. I drove this really nice man home to his apartment because his car had broken down. Right after that, I drove to the apartment I live in, in Bountiful. I noticed that, judging by the façade, his apartment and my apartment were roughly the same size. We both had vehicles to drive, although his was temporarily unusable. I too had worked as a bagger at a grocery store; however, I recently quit when I obtained a paid internship in the field I am going to school for.

So after this experience I wondered, “Where is the injustice in this example?” His basic needs are covered as much as mine, and to the extent that mine are.

Now please do not misunderstand me. I am grateful for a better understanding of  people and their circumstances. Not all refugees are in this same circumstance, and I have not gone through anything close to what I imagine they have. I am not saying that they don’t deserve more. I understand that injustice could lie in their lack of opportunity to better their employment or further their education. I can’t argue that.

I just noticed that he and I are living in very similar circumstances, despite stereotypes some may hold about refugees being underprivileged.

ABOUT ME:

Collin McLachlan was born and raised in Utah. He attended Woods Cross High School, where he enrolled in band, choir and theater classes. Upon graduation he attended what was then called Utah Valley State College. After completing a two-year LDS mission to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, he attended Salt Lake Community College before transferring to the University of Utah.

Collin always wanted to do something in television, and realized that the most stable career in this field was reporter/anchor. After completing his general education requirements at SLCC, he enrolled in mass communication – new media at the U, before changing his major to mass communication – journalism.

He has completed internships with KUTV and KSL, and is currently a paid intern with the Davis School District Communication and Partnerships Department.

Collin’s dream job would be a morning personality reporter. As a hobby, he follows the automotive industry closely and is building an ‘89 Jeep Cherokee to four-wheel in Moab in his spare time.

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