Seventeen hours and 37 minutes.
That’s how long the drive is from Norman, Oklahoma to Salt Lake City. I found out I’d be making the drive in March, when I accepted an internship with The Salt Lake Tribune — a place I’d never been, where I knew no one — right after I graduated college.
But I was ready for the adventure.
I’d spent the last four years reporting at my college newsroom, The OU Daily, which boasts alumni who now work for the NFL and The Washington Post, and a reporter I’d never met at the Tribune.
At The Daily, I evolved from a freshman who didn’t know how to work a camera to the editor-in-chief of a newsroom recognized by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.
I love OU. But I’ll be the first to say it has its issues — I reported on them extensively at The Daily, from an old office with fluorescent lights so bright they caused migraines. Sometimes, though, writing about the communities I loved and lived in was difficult.
When I talked about my work, many classmates were quick to tell me they avoided news coverage altogether because it was “always negative,” which, around the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, I started to feel, too.
But in that office, talking with our newsroom adviser one day, I realized why I was still so passionate about journalism: It was my way of helping the university I called home to do better for its students, faculty and staff.
That’s the mindset I brought with me to Utah, and it’s the mindset I’m bringing as a breaking news reporter at The Tribune.
Since I moved here, I’ve fallen in love with the Wasatch Front and its people. I’ve learned about complex residential water issues, neighborhood turkeys and even snow squalls (which, growing up in Houston, I’d never heard of).
I’m excited to keep learning, no longer as an intern but as a breaking news reporter, and to keep serving the people of Utah in the best way I know how: by holding institutions accountable, while still making time for the everyday, slice-of-life stories that connect us. I hope you’ll read along.