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I am grateful to have won nine national and regional awards over the past few years from the Society of Professional Journalists and Religion Newswriters Association. I have gained experience with the Standard-Examiner, Deseret News, a student magazine I co-founded, a community newspaper and several publications for which I have contributed, including Thought Catalog and The Good Men Project. My work has been seen in USA Today, ESPN and the Pew Forum. Many of the stories that were award-winning or prominently published are featured below.

ENTERPRISING
“UTA skips fuel hedging, may cost agency $3.6 million” (click here) I co-authored this investigative report about the rider’s cost of the Utah Transit Authority foregoing a basic business strategy. Featured on KSL television, Utah’s most-watched news channel for years until 2011. (Deseret News)

“Out of obscurity and out of darkness” (click here) This in-depth published in January 2012 was recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists as among the best in-depth pieces in the U.S. Region 9. Much was made in the media last year about the “Mormon Moment,” and even if others were not buying it, at least Mormonism gained more public and media attention than ever before. One aspect I didn’t find often covered, however, was the academic branch of the faith: how is the growth and notoriety of the LDS Church manifest in higher education? (Meridian Magazine)

“What do town halls in the wake of the last election say about Utah politicians?” (click here): A trend started forming among all of Utah’s six federal delegation members: they weren’t speaking with their constituents after the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump. (The Good Men Project)

“Population shifts threaten city sales tax revenues” (click here) Utah’s business outlook in the five fastest-growing and most-shrinking cities in the state. Highlighted by the Deseret News president in a weekly email. (Deseret News)

“The people or the polls: Who do you believe when it comes to Mike Lee?” (click here) BYU Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy Director Quin Monson was candid in his thoughts and in defending the poll. Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser also gave an insight, previously unreported, as to why Lee would be fine despite a reform to Utah’s caucus-convention system. (That is widely considered to be an effort to help moderates win.) The Utah Democratic Party also offered some interesting nuggets into its role in the rally (or lack thereof). (Utah Policy)

FEATURES                                                                                                                    

“Everything you need to know about Utah’s largest Trump resistance group” (click here) The first story singularly about Utah Indivisible. The piece saw a second national pickup, by The Good Men Project. (Thought Catalog)

“Liz Emery: the polarizing Statesman columnist discusses her life’s course” (click here) A woman roiled a conservative community with opinion pieces in a newspaper that provided quite different perspectives on the dominant religion of the area. This story got second place for Online Feature Reporting for the Society of Professional Journalists, Region 9. (Aggie BluePrint)

“Why the hottest spot in town may be next door” (click here) It was challenging to write about a house, but this feature was an editor’s pick. (City Journals)

“Alan Cumming” (click here) A feature of former James Bond henchman and Spy Kids baddie Alan Cumming. Look at the piece titled “Alan Cumming.” (City Weekly)

“Utah Recycling Alliance aims to score zero” (click here) This recycling organization is going for absolutely nothing to be trashed, but used again — even if it will require more than the blue bins. (City Weekly)

Witness to 9/11″ (click here) USU professor John Carman had a meeting at the World Trade Center get re-scheduled just before the building collapsed. (Utah State University College of Agriculture)

“U.S. Virtual Herbarium Online” (click here) The first national online database of plant collections, located at USU. (Utah State University Agricultural Experiment Station)

NEWS & POLITICS

LDS Church absent from Medicaid expansion effort” (click here) Many religious groups were found to support the state of Utah using taxes being paid due to the Affordable Care Act to expand the government-sponsored insurance program. The most influential institution in the state, also a religion, was not. This story was an RNA award-winner. (Utah Policy)

“As bribe allegations fly, claims heat up in South Jordan city council race” (click here) Bribery was the theme, unfortunately, of a municipal race in Utah in 2015. (City Journals)

“Comments from Fox News about Romney not being Christian spark debate” (click here) This article came through spontaneity. As a Deseret News intern, I decided to take initiative to write a story gathering commentary about former presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s faith after Fox News commentator Ainsley Earhardt said that it wasn’t Christian. The Pew Forum of Religion and Public Life in Washington, D.C., was impressed enough with this piece to feature it on their website. (Deseret News)

“Local TV station urges county council to broadcast meetings…” (click here) The station was voluntarily broadcasting Cache County council meetings and asked it to use Government Access Programming. As station manager Jeremy Threlfall said, “Kathy Robinson summed it all up when she said, ‘How did you start out deciding that you wanted to provide this service? I don’t remember us asking for you to provide it.'” (Hard News Cafe)

“Star Wars co-screenwriter talks about the journey to the galaxy far, far away” (click here): The script scribe of Rogue One talked about telling one of the Star Wars tales and more, including why “working for Lucasfilm is like working for the CIA.” (The Good Men Project)

“Abortion letter, mayor’s Facebook posts spark firestorms” (click here) A city council decided to get involved in federal affairs and the fallout was relatively lively and passionate. (City Journals)

“Love, Matheson trade barbs ahead of 2014″ (click here) The story is believed to be the first in any medium to feature debate between the two camps seeking to win a rematch. Love would have needed votes from both conservatives and moderates to have replaced Jim Matheson in Washington, D.C., had Matheson not decided to retire. I found this appearance to be a great reason to reach out to both her and the Matheson camps for reasons. Matheson was not reserved in his opinions. Love campaign manager Dave Hansen, a famous Utah political consultant, opted to blast one of Matheson’s approaches to constituent interfacing along with his response. Matheson edged Love in the 2012 election. (Utah Policy)

“At journalism conference, fundamentalist Mormon experts, survivors speak out” (click here): This included the revelation that folks, led by the first person to press charges against jailed Fundamentalist Latter-day Saint prophet Warren Jeffs, were establishing a democratic election process and teaching residents how to vote, with the charger, who wrote a book about leaving the community, moving back. (The Good Men Project)

“Utah GOP adds same-day ballots to caucus system” (click here): Utah was pulsating with developments to a change in how a state or federal elected official gets on the ballot, so I wanted to make sure that the minor changes were still covered, as they normally would have been news. (Utah Policy Daily)

“‘Disney World or democracy?’ Rep. Mia Love is facing that question from Trump resistance advocates” (click here) The congresswoman was fundraising at a Disney World resort during congressional recess, when advocates were saying that she needed to talk with constituents especially in light of the behavior of the Trump administration. (Utah Stories)

Medium profile (each story has been picked up by at least one publication)

SPORTS

“Across the pond, Aggie legends together again” (click here) Two USU basketball legends who played on the same team for a year, only to find themselves on the same team in Europe. This story was named Best Sports Feature for the Society of Professional Journalists, Region 9. (Utah Statesman)

“On night of reports of his departure, Andersen told players he hadn’t yet been offered Wisconsin job” (click here) A source unique to me let me know details none in the Utah media had learned concerning the departure of former Utah State University football coach Gary Andersen for the University of Wisconsin. This story won first place for online sports reporting, Region 9 Society of Professional Journalists. (Aggie BluePrint)

“The Holy War cometh” (click here) Assessments of the implications of the latest Utah-BYU football rivalry. Sources included a nationally recognized sports historian I found via crowdsourcing who lived in the region of the conference BYU wanted to join, but who attended the U. (City Weekly)

“Aggies generate Heisman buzz for QB Keeton” (click here) It’s not every day that you find a quarterback from a non-BCS program and a land-grant university on the official Heisman Trophy Watch List. When you do, it’s worth finding out how they got there. That was my pursuit with Chuckie Keeton’s success at Utah State University. Not only was Keeton’s accomplishment a rarity; his road to that destination was less-traveled, with some unusual vehicles along the way. Published by MuckRack. (Standard-Examiner)

“Aggies fight for respect even when they contend” (click here) A peering-into the lack of attention a Football Bowl Subdivision championship contender struggled to gain, primarily through a look at attendance figures. (Standard-Examiner)

“Aggies find success breeds great expectations” (click here) A preview of the first season of Utah State football following the best in school history deserved a great lede narrative. (Standard-Examiner)

COMMENTARIES

“Gov. Herbert has created his own rock and hard place” (click here) On Utah’s governor’s policy and communications approach to the state’s land grab. Published in USA Today. (USA Today)

“Utah’s problem: finding a governor who will discourage theocracy but stay home” (click here) I wrote this op-ed in light of Utah’s governor signing a bill that made the blood alcohol content level for a DUI in Utah the lowest of any state in America — a level shared by socialist countries — and after his predecessor had left the job early. (Utah Stories)

“Utah Jazz G.M. Dennis Lindsey’s moves reflect Jack Sparrow’s mantra” (click here) Just months earlier, Kevin O’Connor, 13-year veteran as the Utah Jazz’s general manager, was replaced by Dennis Lindsey. In just a week-plus, Lindsey made several personnel moves that dramatically changed the face of the Jazz franchise, affirmatively calling for a new era after many successful seasons with all-stars Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer—let alone the legacy left by John Stockton and Karl Malone. The severe changes begged commentary—and a comparison of Lindsey to a certain notorious Disney character. The piece was published on ESPN.com. (Deseret News)

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