Matt Ellis

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When I first learned that we would be covering the LGBT beat for this class, I expected it to be relatively easy for me. I have quite a few family members and close friends who are gay or identify with the LGBT community in some way, so I thought I was more familiar with the issues than the average Joe Schmoe.

I was terribly mistaken.

Yes, I had known of people who deal with things in their daily lives that most don’t have to deal with. Yes, I had heard stories of being beaten up or otherwise discriminated against.

But I didn’t really get the depth of it. For instance, I had always sympathized with those who wanted the legalization of same-sex marriage and I felt that Utah should allow some sort of domestic partnership. What didn’t occur to me were the underlying issues such as the ability to adopt children together (with both partners having full parental rights), and the implications on hospital-related care and health benefits.

Writing for an LGBT-related beat helped me take a real interest in what is really going on. Though I pretended to be aware of it before this class, I can definitely say that now I know, and have talked to people who have experienced these issues firsthand. Whereas I previously viewed the LGBT community as a sort of invisible minority, my work this semester has forced me to recognize how sizeable the population really is.

I can also say that the experience has forced me to become a more well-rounded journalist. I was under the impression that all types of journalism are nearly the same, and I thought that my previous experience in sports writing would give me a leg up.

Once again I was proven wrong. The type of writing needed for formulating a story on the real-world experiences of the LGBT community differs greatly from what I might do in a game recap or a sports feature, especially in terms of being sensitive to words or phrases that can be viewed as offensive. When it comes to crafting a story, I think this experience has increased my overall conscientiousness related to story construction and phraseology.

ABOUT ME:me_profile pic

I’m a single, 24-year-old male who loves sports. Unique, aren’t I?

I’ve always had a gift for writing which I thought only came in handy when I had to “B.S.” a school paper at the last minute.

It took me a few years of schooling at the University of Utah before I realized that I wanted to be a journalist. I had dabbled in things like economics and psychology and found them interesting, but I just couldn’t see myself working in those fields long-term.

So I eventually decided to take advantage of my writing ability and be a journalist, specifically, a sports journalist. I started writing for the Daily Utah Chronicle this past summer and though the work was more time consuming than I anticipated, I absolutely loved it.

My editor assigned me to a beat right away, and I was off to cover the women’s soccer team. I was writing about four stories a week, writing anything from game recaps to profiles, some longer some shorter. I quickly discovered that sports writing comes naturally to me, and I rarely have to fiddle with the construction or the flow of my stories.

I am now set to graduate in spring 2013 with a degree in mass communication, and feel content now that I have settled on a career path that I will enjoy.

After graduation I may move to Michigan, where my family lives, if I can find a job with a newspaper out there. I like seeing new places though, and would be happy going wherever the job hunt takes me.