A Reflection

While the skills that I have gained through my introduction to journalism were gained with the expectation that I would become a better journalist, the skills that I have gained are also applicable to daily life. It seems odd that specific skills like giving interviews, conducting a long project, or writing to specific audiences would be applicable to life outside of journalism but they really are. Giving interviews to lots of different people and using different writing styles help form better communication skills and long term projects really enforce time management. 

Perhaps the most versatile tool in a journalists’ toolbox is the ability to give an interview and get all of the necessary information for the story that has to be written. After the first few interviews that I conducted, I was generally not happy with them. They felt too forced with a predetermined course. I did not listen to the person that I was interviewing so much as I was trying to ask all of my prepared questions. With each interview I conducted, I felt more and more comfortable and let the flow of the conversation be the guide instead of my list of questions. These interviews were much more genuine and I was actually able to get more information than I did before when I was attempting to follow a rigid format. Entering the interview with a more relaxed tone set up the interview for success. When the person that is being interviewed can feel that relaxed tone, they are more likely to open up and provide more details than they normally would. This skill of being able to talk to people is extremely applicable in daily life. It is important to be able to talk to people in a meaningful way and the interview process is something that taught me how to have meaningful conversations with people. 

As a journalist, you are going to have stories that take weeks to work on and eventually publish while sometimes you only get a few days. Either way, time management is a crucial skill that can set up stories for success. Long projects are best planned out when you first learn about them. Drafting lists of possible sources to interview and setting up those interviews is extremely important. It causes too much stress and affects the quality of the story when interviews are put off too late and too close to the due date of the story. Time management and long term planning is a great skill for outside the realm of journalism. It really is a skill that can be applied to most things you do, be it long term investing for retirement or even planning out what you will wear to work the next day in order to save a few minutes in the morning.

Reading the room is always important, especially in journalism. While most stories can be classified as general news, they each fall into a sub category that is more specific. Some stories will be very specific in who the intended reader is. Being able to write to certain audiences was an easy skill to pick up because you just have to make the story fit the needs of that audience. In order to do this, you have to know who your audience is. It can take time to get to know your audience and what they want to read. It is useful to make sure that you are writing to the audience, but not too much to the point that someone who is not necessarily part of that audience cannot understand what you have written. 

Preventing bias from entering stories is not too difficult as long as you are proactive about it. As someone who is politically active it can be hard to write news stories and not inject my views into the story. If I were to, it would be a serious violation of my duty as a journalist. Proactive management is the best way to keep bias out of writing. I think it is also important to understand that it can be hard to not put your personal opinion in writing. Whether it is a big thing or a small thing, everyone is going to have an opinion on it and it is best if yours as the writer does not enter it. It is okay to have bias when it comes to certain things. It is just a part of the writing process to keep that bias out of the story. 

Networking is a great tool for a journalist to really take advantage of. Networking is honestly just part of the job and the more that I focused on it the easier it became to find people to interview and to find ideas for stories. The hard part about networking is finding someone to start with. Once you know someone who knows someone, then it has a rolling effect and the list of people becomes endless. Networking well is also important outside of journalism. The more people that you meet and can connect with will connect you with more and more people. You never really know where life will take you or what you will need. Having a network of people that you can rely on if you need something is really important. I have done my best to network not just as a journalist but also just as a person. It feels good to be there for others when they need you and it feels good knowing that they will be there for you when you need them. That is the special thing about networking and it is something that I want to improve on. 

Rafael Gamboa: Businessman, student and rancher.

A modern-day renaissance man, Rafael Gamboa can do it all. Through a tough balancing act, Rafael is a full-time college student at Colorado State University, works for his dad’s concrete company, and also does ranch work on school breaks.  

Rafael’s story, while it is still being written, has been one of hard work and perseverance, both values that he was taught at an early age by his family. To understand Rafael and where he wants to go in life, you have to start with what matters most to him. His family, both immediate and extended.  

“I think family is the most important thing in this world.” Rafael said.  

 Rafael, who was born in Denver, Colorado, would spend school breaks doing ranch work with his extended family in Mexico. His family there owns a large ranch with a sizable amount of cattle. Rafael owns his own cattle on the ranch as well.  

“Every single time we had a vacation we were sent over there,” Rafael said. “I remember riding a horse at six years old.” 

 These trips to Mexico to work on the family’s ranch taught Rafael the work ethic that he has carried with him throughout his life. When Rafael goes back to Mexico, which is frequently, he almost always does ranch work while there.  

“I don’t even think of it as a job.” Rafael said.” I just associate it with our culture and fun.”  

These trips to Mexico encapsulates what family is to Rafael . They are always there for each other when they need them.

“Whenever things are needed, we are there,” Rafael said. “When we go to Mexico, we don’t see it as a vacation, we see it as helping our family out.” 

When Rafael and his siblings would be sent to Mexico on school breaks, it was not only to help his extended family but also his parents.  

“It would also be a thing we would cause a little relief to my parents economically,” Rafael said.  “It was a lot cheaper to have us over there.”  

Rafael’s family has a concrete laying company that he works for, doing footings, the part of the building where the foundation sits. This ambitious young entrepreneur has big plans for the future of the family business that he hopes his education will help with.  

Rafael is attending Colorado State University through a patchwork of scholarships that amount to a full ride. He is majoring in business administration with a concentration in organization and innovation. He hopes to use his education as a tool to help him write a thesis paper on an environmentally friendly concrete. He eventually wants to get a patent on his own type of concrete. 

“If you want to change the industry or become big in the industry, you either have to have the experience to compete with the competition or you have to have something unique that makes you different from others, which is why I want to innovate concrete.” Rafael said.  

Rafael admits that it is not easy to balance both work and school. Rafael described rarely having time to socialize with friends during the school year because he was always busy with school or work. Rafael’s roommate from Colorado State University, Brodie Sparrow, can attest to Rafael’s hard driving work ethic and busy schedule.  

“He was always doing work no matter what.” Brodie said. 

Living in a community style double dorm room brought the two close together and made them good friends. It also gave Brodie a firsthand perspective into Rafael’s work ethic.  

“He was always doing school, all the time.” Brodie said. “He would work all day [at the job sites] and then come back and do school all night.”  

It is not easy being a full-time college student while also working, Rafael admits. It is often the little things that keep him up at night like sending an email to a teacher or making sure all his work is finished.  

“It does get overwhelming.” Rafael said. 

With summer fast approaching Rafael will go to work full time for the family’s concrete company and then when school starts up again, he will go back to balancing school and work.  

Rafael Gamboa talks with Michael Stella, April 27, 2021.

Some aspects of skiing during COVID-19 may be here to stay

After a long week of school, Brodie Sparrow packs up his ski equipment on a Friday night in preparation for a weekend of skiing. 

“With COVID-19 and everything going on, there is not much to do around campus,” Sparrow, a college student at Colorado State University said. “Skiing has been a real highlight of the semester for me.”

Ski resorts were forced to shut down operations at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring. The continuing COVID-19 pandemic loomed uncertainty over the start of the 2020/2021 ski season but ski resorts have been able to operate, just under different conditions than usual. 

After months of spending time indoors because of lockdowns to slow the spread of COVID-19, people are eager to get outdoors. The boost in the number of people skiing this year closely follows the trend of people escaping to the outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Nationally, ski resorts have had to implement safety restrictions to keep visitors safe and to stay open. After having to close early last season, ski resorts and their guests have been eager to keep the season safe. 

“The safety protocols have been easy to follow and as a result all of the mountains have been staying open,” Sparrow said. 

Following the same basic guidelines, resorts have adopted their own safety protocols that best suit their mountain. Colorado ski resorts like Eldora and Copper Mountain have implemented parking reservations to limit the amount of people who go to the mountain. Arapahoe Basin and Winter Park require guests to reserve a ski spot in order to come to the mountain while Utah ski Resort Alta, does not require any type of reservation, though parking is limited on a first come first serve basis.

While some of the safety protocols will go away when the COVID-19 pandemic ends, ski resorts have found a silver lining through some of the protocols — higher guest satisfaction. 

Lee Canyon Ski and Snowboard Resort, a ski resort located in Southern Nevada just outside of Las Vegas, expects at least one of their changes from this season to carry on to other seasons. Lee Canyon implemented an online process for visitors to rent gear and pick it up once they arrive at the resort to cut down on lines and crowding. Improvements like this have led to higher guest satisfaction according to a survey Lee Canyon sent out to guests, compared with recent years, according to their Marketing Director, Jim Seely. 

“We have actually seen an increase in guest satisfaction,” Seely said. “Overall, everyone did feel safe coming up here. Overall everyone was happy that we did stay open during the pandemic so people did have a place to escape and still get outdoors and enjoy outdoor recreation.” 

One Colorado ski resort, Arapahoe Basin, made an announcement on March 12th that they will be limiting the number of unrestricted season passes and the number of daily lift tickets that they sell. The announcement, which is a first in the ski industry, came from a blog run by Alan Henceroth, the Chief Operating Officer at Arapahoe Basin. 

“COVID forced us to learn in a few months what probably would have taken us five years to learn otherwise,” Henceroth said in the blog post. “Next season we are going to continue to restrict our pass and ticket visits.” 

Arapahoe Basin, which boasts the longest ski season in Colorado, has focused on improving the guest experience the past few years with expanded terrain in the Beavers and the Steep Gullies territory of their resort.

Arapahoe Basin has also left the Epic Pass and joined the Ikon pass on a restricted basis.

“We don’t have an unlimited capacity,” Henceroth said. “We have been really focused on creating a great experience for our guests the last few years.” 

Announcements like the one from Arapahoe Basin that they will limit lift ticket sales for future seasons could be the first of many announcements of ski resorts keeping changes from the COVID-19 era.

Map of the Western portion of the United States of America. The states highlighted in red from left to right- Nevada, Utah, and Colorado.
Brodie Sparrow skies at Steamboat Saturday, February 27th. This picture was taken by Michael Stella.
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Colorado State University Alumni Center hosts tax event for young alumni

This past Tuesday, Feb. 16th the Colorado State University Alumni center hosted its second of six financial zoom sessions as part of their Young Alumni series. This event was focused on taxes.  

The tax focused event was part of an informational series the Alumni center is producing called The Young Alumni Series. This series consists of six workshops with about one workshop a month. The Young Alumni series workshops are all about financial topics.  

“We do topics like home buying, investing, car buying,” said Alexandra Schweigart, a Young Alumni and Student Engagement Specialist.  

The presentation, a 30 slide powerpoint, covered tax topics such as tax brackets, calculating taxes and saving for retirement. It was presented by CSU Professor Jim Stekeleeberg. Stekeleeberg is a professor in the College of Business at CSU.  

Stekeleeberg , who teaches about taxes at CSU knows how his audiences usually feel about taxes. 

“Believe it or not my students have other places they’d rather be than in tax class, so it is great that people are voluntarily here.” Stekeleeberg said.  

Stekeleeberg’s presentation was a crash course in taxes with the goal of demystifying the tax code. Participants’ cameras were disabled as were their microphones, but they were able to submit questions via the chat function on Zoom. Questions were received by Schweigart. Who would then ask the question to Stekeleeberg. 

 
The hour-and-a-half event drew 75 reservations while the total number of attendees was not shared. One attendee, Matthew Stewart, plans on attending all of the Young Alumni financial informational sessions. 

“As a young adult in a financially unstable time like COVID-19, help like this is necessary and appreciated.” Stewart said.  

While the Alumni Center prefers to keep these events for young alumni, the info sessions are geared toward anyone under the age of thirty. 

 “We focus specifically on young alumni because we know that transition from college to postgrad is difficult.” Schweigart said.  

The next installation of the Young Alumni series will be held on April 14, 2021. The topic of that event will be credit scores. 

Alexandra Schweigart (top right) and Jim Stekeleeberg (bottom right) host the Young Alumni series tax event. The event was the second of six in the series.