My desire to write about urban beekeeping came from the many conversations regarding my own experiences with honey bees. My hope was to communicate how safe they are and how easy they are to keep for those who are interested.
Prior to writing this story, I knew Albert Chubak – the designer of the hive that my family uses. He has been a great resource as we have grown into beekeeping. Albert provided additional resources for the story, advising that I reach out to Beth Conrey as an additional expert and advocate for pollinators and Marlene Jacobsen Schnabel for her experiences with novice beekeeping.
Albert and Beth are extremely involved in the bee community in the United States. They both own businesses working with bees, regularly attend honey bee conferences as speakers and create material around beekeeping. Marlene has extensive experience bee keeping on a personal, non-business level, and can speak to her growth in the hobby.
Initially, I wanted the article to be more educational and less fun. However, preparing for the interviews and then consolidating my notes from the interviews redirected me toward highlighting particular opinions and experiences. The interesting pieces of what I had gathered were stories, not lists of facts.
My writing process truly began with preparing for the interviews and brainstorming the direction of those interviews. Once the interviews were complete, I condensed all of my notes into bullet points and sifted through what would be interested to someone with no experience with bees. I then wrote my first draft with only two additional major editing drafts. Through the editing process, I moved pieces of the story around and rewrote the lead. Through this process, I learned how important it is to have another person take a look at your work. Collaboration with multiple voices really helped strengthen the article and moved it in a more interesting direction. It also really keep me in line with what information I needed to explain to the reader that I had originally assumed they would understand.
The biggest surprise that came out of the interview and writing process for me was learning about why honey is so beneficial (antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiseptic, etc.) I was also surprised that Marlene was so successful in beekeeping and learning that she had started multiple hives on her own and helped get hives going for family and friends.
Kelsey Rathke is a Utah native and University of Utah Utes enthusiast. She is a senior associate in Digital Servicing for Discover Financial Services, and a junior at The University of Utah studying strategic communication. Rathke has extensive experience in corporate writing and is currently enrolled in a news-writing course. She is an honors student at The U and will be the Marketing Officer for the Crimson Transfer Honor Society for the 2018-2019 academic year.