Keating: The Chronicle Made Me Curious


David Chenoweth

A Star is Born. Hannah Keating in front of the Pioneer Theatre at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, on Tuesday, March 22, 2022. (Photo by David Chenoweth | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Hannah Keating, Arts Editor


The more new things you are a part of, the more you are truly alive.

— Jenny Slate, Little Weirds

I applied to the Arts and Entertainment Desk immediately after first-year orientation on a whim. I had no prior experience in journalism, but enjoyed writing and felt confident in my ability to talk about art. What I discovered was that The Daily Utah Chronicle provided experiences I needed to spark my curiosity. Each assignment challenged me to see work I love in a new light and connected me with people I wouldn’t have otherwise met. 

For the first few years on the desk, I felt disconnected from the Chronicle. I didn’t know anyone in Student Media and my busy theatre schedule meant I couldn’t even attend desk meetings. I struggled to find my footing as a contributor, so much so that every semester, I told myself I would quit. I even set publishing goals to hold myself accountable. “At 30 stories, I’ll leave. Well, I guess at 50, I’ll do something else?”

After eight semesters, I’ve written over 100 articles. I stayed because I found out how exhilarating it is to have a platform to communicate with artists I admire and, à la “The Little Mermaid,” “ask ‘em my questions and get some answers.” This year alone, I’ve shared wonderful conversations with Sundance documentary film directors, Broadway actors and the Huntsman Cancer Institute’s artists-in-residence. 

While my degree is focused on performance, the Chronicle surprisingly rounded out my studies, especially when I started writing these interview-centric pieces. There is so much information to be gleaned from talking to artists about their work — you get to uncover details you couldn’t find on your own. Some conversations were so impactful I started scribbling quotes in the margins of my notebook. When I felt frustrated or wanted to quit, the pieces I was working on reminded me why I started writing in the first place.

I was wrong about something from the start of my time at the Chronicle: I thought I’d be bored. Eventually, I’d see every impressive exhibition there was to see, review every interesting performance there was to review and then I’d call it quits. In reality, I’m way too curious to just “get bored,” but I didn’t realize how much the Chronicle would allow me to create.

As creative fields shut down during the pandemic, the Chronicle was my link to the rapidly changing art world. I couldn’t have imagined the innovative and creative pieces that would emerge and, when isolation made connection nearly impossible, writing was my opportunity to commune with artists and tell their stories. 

I laugh to myself sometimes when my colleagues in leadership share some hard-hitting investigative piece they are publishing because it almost feels trivial to say that we reviewed a performance or exhibition, but it’s not. Art is a collective experience, and journalism plays a key role in connecting people. 

In that sense, theatre and arts journalism are similar. Objectively, they’re both platforms to elicit emotion and relay information, but more importantly, they are how we share stories. I’ve referred to myself as a storyteller in regards to theatre, but, thanks to the Chronicle, I now feel confident enough to say that about writing. 

It has been a joy to work as Arts Editor this year. I’ve been entrusted with the words of incredibly talented people, and nothing has been more satisfying than following an article from a creative pitch to the finished product. Daily, I am introduced to new topics, genres and ideas, and that’s exciting.

My time at the Chronicle wouldn’t have been the same without the three editorial teams before me. Madge and Josh, Palak and Chris, and Oakley and Parker, thank you for your guidance and for pushing me to keep at it. Also, I couldn’t have taken this on without the talented folks on the leadership team. Sheely, Parker and Sydney, I’m especially grateful for all you do to keep this machine running. 

A million thank you’s are due to my Assistant Editor, Paige. You are such a smart writer, editor and artist. I don’t know what I would have done without your collaboration and friendship. Most importantly, the patience and support from the writers on the desk have been invaluable. Luke, Whit, Avery, Tervela, Megan, Drew, Nicoline, Heather, India, Makena, Lee, Sara, Evan, Lucas and Alfonso, it has been so much fun getting to be a part of your work. To people who read what I write and respond with kind words, it means more than you know. 

I started this journey out of sheer curiosity, and I’ve been surprised by the countless opportunities that have presented themselves along the way. I’m happy I took this chance and became a part of the Chronicle — it has shaped my college experience and my artistic journey.


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