Madeline Smith

MY STORIES:

MY BLOG:

Covering the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender beat this semester has opened my eyes to a variety of things. Through my outside story about housing, I stumbled across a unique focus of contrasting the University of Utah’s transgender housing policies with the rest of the Pac-12 schools listed in Campus Pride’s Top 25 LGBT-friendly universities. Once I finished this story, I realized how beneficial it is to be aware of all the different focuses a story can have.

This epiphany helped me choose an interesting angle for my Pride Week story on a unique group of drag queens in Salt Lake City. I initially intended to profile someone participating in the U’s Pride Week drag show, but as I got to know my source, my story blossomed into a larger picture. Not only was Tanner Crawford, also known as Klaus von Austerlitz, breaking the stereotype of a drag queen, but he was also part of a larger group of queens who shared the same non-traditional vision. The Bad Kids, as they call themselves, are breaking the stereotype that drag queens are all about glamorous makeup and high heels. I found that not only in my Pride Week story were stereotypes being broken, but most people in the gay community don’t fit into the preconceived notions people from outside of their community have imposed on them.

This supported my moral belief that the gay community is not a separate entity of our society. Instead, individuals are simply trying to live their lives day to day just as straight people try to do. The in-class interviews with Brandie Balken and Kai Medina-Martínez also reiterated the importance of acceptance because there is no difference between the gay and straight community but a minuscule detail of sexual expression and orientation.

Despite my strong beliefs, I found it relatively easy to remain objective when writing my stories. I used only the information my research and interviews gave me and was careful not to editorialize anything. This benefitted me as a journalist because I’ve practiced removing myself from the issues and only telling the story with the facts at hand. I am also familiar with how to steer clear of words or phrases that may infuse my opinions, and that will help me cover stories that may be about issues I don’t agree with. Journalism is about remaining unbiased, and I feel I have a good amount of experience to consistently uphold that value.

ABOUT ME:

I am a sophomore planning on graduating in 2014 with a bachelor of arts degree in mass communication.

I have been working at the Daily Utah Chronicle as a photographer since August 2011, specifically shooting sports photos. I have written stories for the Chronicle as well, ranging from a feature about Battle of the Bands to a profile of the Women’s Resource Center. My dream is to be a photojournalist where I can specialize in sports and band photography, and write some feature stories every now and again.

I love spending time in the mountains hiking and photographing nature and wildlife. Snowboarding, reading comic books and playing softball and guitar are some of my hobbies.