Renee Estrada

MY STORIES:

IMG_0371MY BLOG:

At the start of the semester I was excited to learn that my class would be beat writing for African Americans in Utah. Being a part of a fellow minority group, I was eager to cover stories about African Americans. It is my personal belief that some of the most interesting stories come from minority communities, and all they need is a reporter willing to cover them.

Once class got rolling, I realized what a challenge this beat would be! African Americans make up a very small percentage of the Utah population, 1.3 percent according to the U.S. Census Bureau, so naturally stories would be more difficult to come by.

Since finding stories about African Americans proved difficult, I found my stories by taking national issues and localizing them. I gathered the opinions of other Utahns to get a feel for popular sentiment.

I covered President Barack Obama’s inauguration, but focused on the reflections of African Americans. I  wanted to know they felt about his first four years and the four years ahead of him.

The other national issues I covered proved quite controversial. I covered the movie “Django Unchained,” which dealt with slavery in the South. Additionally, I wrote about the marriage equality movement and its similarities to the civil rights movement.

Covering this beat has shown me just how diverse Utah is. At first glance Utah may seem fully of cookie-cutter families and lacking diversity. Now I realize Utah has many small, different, ethnic communities. And because these communities are smaller, they need coverage to make their voices heard.

My experiences in this class helped me realize  even though you may not see a story right away, a true writer can find a story in any subject.

ABOUT ME:

I’ve been interested in writing my entire life. Growing up, I always said, “When I grow up I want to be a journalist.” There are a variety of factors that led to this. First, my passion for reading, and second my father.

Throughout elementary school, middle school and high school, I was always reading. Reading for school or reading for fun, I always had my nose in a book. I would finish entire series in a week or less and the bookstore was essentially my candy store.

So after reading and reading, I began to think, I could try this. I could try to write something. Eventually that desire went away, suppressed  by homework and other activities. But at the end of the day I still really wanted to write something.

The second factor that developed my interest in writing was my father. He was always submitting letters to the editor for our local paper, the Orange County Register. He was published quite often. Our home phone number was listed in the phonebook and readers would call our house, praising my dad’s letters and agreeing with his opinions.

As a kid I was amazed that my dad was published in a newspaper.

“How cool, I want to do that,” I thought to myself.

So finally when I was off at college, I realized writing was what I wanted to do. In 2011, I declared myself a communication major, with an emphasis in journalism.

In addition to that major, I also declared myself a political science major.

I’ve always had an interest in politics. Growing up, my family regularly engaged in debates over the dinner table, and I  often watched the news with my dad. Once I began college I became more and more interested in politics, and taking political science classes because I was genuinely fascinated. I’m expecting to graduate winter of 2013.

In the fall of 2012, I moved to Washington, D.C., to intern with News Generation. Living and interning there was one of the most exciting opportunities I’ve had throughout my college career. I gained independence and a better sense of what the professional world is really like.

In the meantime, I’ve been honing my writing skills at the Daily Utah Chronicle. There, I report on a variety of topics and campus events.

Currently, I live in Salt Lake City, and I’m your average “poor college student.” I hope that won’t be for long, though.