- A journey of faith: overcoming racial restrictions in the Mormon Church
- Growing up biracial in Utah
- The rewarding challenges of transracial adoption
Focusing on the African-American community in Utah this semester has shown me just how desperately this state is in need of more exposure to diversity and diversity education in schools. During our first in-class interview with James Jackson III, executive director of ACCEL, an interesting question came up. The question was whether or not Jackson felt Utah was a prejudiced place. He responded by saying that he didn’t feel people in Utah were necessarily prejudiced, but he did feel ignorance was an issue. Overall, he felt Utah is friendly, but the lack of diversity causes ignorance. As I worked through interviews and stories in the African-American beat I often found myself thinking the same thing. It’s something I had not considered until I started working this beat. I have personally never witnessed any racism in Utah, although I do hear about it in the news occasionally. Hearing first-hand accounts of racist or ignorant remarks was disheartening. In two out of the three stories I have written, I discovered that high school seems to be a big part of the problem. Since it is difficult to expose people to diversity in a state that serious lacks it, education on diversity is desperately needed. I recall a comment the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. made while we were live tweeting his speech from the University of Utah. He said, “We hate what we should love.” I didn’t think much of it at the time, but the more the semester went on the more that quote sunk in. The more I worked this beat I came to realize that it’s not necessarily hate that people feel, but fear. We fear what we don’t understand. The more we can expose people to differences, the more tolerant I believe we’ll become as a community.
I am a University of Utah graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication with an emphasis on journalism and new media. The joke in my family over the years has been you either go into medicine or broadcast news. Medicine was definitely not in my blood, but I’ve been passionate about news as long as I can remember. I love meeting new people and hearing about their lives. I often find myself getting into deep discussions about life with complete strangers. I was recently watching Jane Fonda on Oprah’s “Next Chapter” and she talked about never feeling comfortable in sameness. I have never been able to articulate my feelings completely, but that was exactly what I have always felt. I had my first Oprah “aha” moment. I am the most at ease in difference. I like being exposed to new experiences, new cultures and new people. Journalism is the perfect fit for someone like me. Interviewing people is probably my favorite part of the process. While interning in the social media news division at KSL 5 TV, I found my place in news. I loved being able to interact with viewers and answer questions for them that a story didn’t. New media provides valuable interaction between media outlets and their audiences. I want to be a part of the process that is changing the way journalists report news.