When initially told about our enterprise story, I was unsure of what I would write about. I thought about the project for a while. My biggest concern was choosing a subject for which sources would be difficult to locate. It was just a few days before our story pitches were due that I decided to write about my friend, Will Rhoads. I had known Rhoads since I was 13 or 14 but had never really gotten in-depth details about his ski jumping career. I wanted to use this project as an opportunity to get to know my friend even better than I had before.
Sources were relatively easy to get in touch with. Rhoads would be my primary source and getting in contact with him was as simple as sending a text message to him. I told him about the project outline and he said that he would be honored to help me out. While I was interviewing Rhoads, he mentioned several other sources for me to explore, one being his former coach and the other being his mother. Since Rhoads knew these two people very well, it was easy for me to reach out and get in touch with them for interviews.
I believe these were the best sources for my story because they were all closely involved with Rhoads and his development in the sport. My primary source, Will Rhoads, was a phenomenal source because the story revolves around him. He is the Olympian and was able to provide firsthand information about his life. My second source, Clint Jones, was another great source because he was the one who shaped Rhoads throughout his youth. Jones had known Rhoads for years and was able to provide insight not many people were privy to. My third source was Rhoads’ mother, Christine. She was able to provide a parent’s point of view in regard to Rhoads’ early developments and struggles in the sport.
I only faced one real obstacle while writing this story, which was timing. When the project was initially assigned, and we needed to begin exploring options, Rhoads was already in South Korea preparing for the Olympics. I was unable to know whether I could write my story about him until a week or so before our first significant due date for the project. Even after I was able to conduct the interview with him, I still needed pictures for the story. After the Olympics, Rhoads needed to travel to Norway to finish the regular ski jumping season. I wasn’t able to meet with him in person to get my story pictures until three days prior to our publishing date. Even though our timing was tight, Rhoads and I were able to complete everything necessary in order to complete my story.
During the interview process I was provided a lot of information. In order to write my story, I decided to write a spotlight on Rhoads and his athletic career rather than focusing on one highlight in particular. Because I was interviewing people directly associated with Rhoads, there were times I was provided with three different perspectives of the same event. It was interesting to see how Rhoads viewed a particular moment of his career as compared to his mother or former coach.
The writing process proved to be somewhat difficult for me. I had never written a journalistic article before which made the transition to AP style a challenge. The only extensive writing I had done were scholastic essays about topics that could be easily researched online. Writing an article and needing to do primary research along with interviews proved to be a new and unique experience. I learned that with practice, like most things, AP style becomes easier. I would say that I am still far from proficient, but I am learning more and more with every passing assignment.
Unfortunately for the readers of my article, there are many hilarious details that I was unable to include in my story. Because I have known Rhoads for so long, there were things he disclosed to me during interviews that needed to remain off the record. Because I was a friend of his, he was able to “be real with me” in a way that he typically couldn’t with a professional reporter. Out of respect to my friend, I am leaving these details out of my story and blog.
Not much surprised me while writing this story. The only thing that surprised me was listening to the lengths competitors are willing to go to in order to maintain their competition weight. I am a foodie and could not imagine having to restrict my diet to the bare minimum in order to maintain a certain body weight.
In conclusion I would say that this article was a good way for me to be introduced to journalistic writing. I was able to cover a story that was interesting and provided me an opportunity to learn even more about a good friend. If anyone out there ever gets the chance to meet Will Rhoads, I would suggest getting to know him as best as you can. He is a unique individual with an incredible charisma and bright sense of humor. I am happy to call him one of my good friends.
“This is your captain speaking. I want to thank you for choosing to fly with us today.”
I have dreamed of saying that sentence for as long as I can remember.
I have always wanted to be an airline pilot. Both my mother and father worked for Delta Airlines and I was fortunate enough to fly for free most of my life. Because of this, I have been able to travel the world and experience things I otherwise would have only been exposed to through BBC or Discovery Channel documentaries. It is my passion for travel and fear of remaining stagnant that fuels my desire to one day fly for a living.
Ever since I was young, I have found enjoyment at altitude. Looking out the window and seeing a sea of clouds, or city lights against an otherwise dark earth brings a sense of peace over me. I have always felt “at home” in the sky. Being able to fly for free has given me the opportunity to visit places like Rome, Paris, Kenya, South Africa and Australia just to name a few. The idea of making a career out of travel is what I find appealing. I cannot imagine spending my life working in the same office, with the same people, at the same location nearly every day until I retire. I want every day at work to have the potential of showing me something new.
Currently, I am finishing my junior year at the University of Utah. Throughout my time at the U, I have gained innumerable experiences and lifelong friendships. I am expecting to graduate in the spring of 2019 with a major in strategic communication. I have always had an interest in videography and hope to work in the field of marketing until I am able to establish myself as a commercial airline pilot.
I am eager to finish my education at the University of Utah so that I can start down the road to a career as an aviation professional.