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Introducing the Class of 2020: Kortni (Wells) Gardner

The National Press Club Journalism Institute is spotlighting the next generation of journalists, students who graduated from college or Master’s programs this spring into a challenging job market. We hope they’ll meet future bosses and colleagues here, who will reach out and support them in building journalism’s future together. 

Name: Kortni (Wells) Gardner 

School: Utah State University

Location: Logan, Utah

Student media: The Utah Statesman

Best journalism moment: Meeting Col. Gail Halvorsen

What have you learned from your involvement with student media on your campus?

Gardner: Student media was a huge blessing for me as a student and writer. I loved being able to connect with others on campus in a way I wouldn’t have been able to without student media. Student media gave me a family and a place where I felt comfortable and safe.

What have you learned from your internship experience(s)?

Gardner: I did not complete any internships while in college, but I loved being able to share my student media moments in my journalism and agricultural communications classes. Being a writer for the Statesman gave me the push to succeed in my classes, and helped me become more well-rounded.

What’s been your best moment in journalism?

Gardner: I can think of several “best moments” for me in journalism, but I think one of the top moments for me had to be meeting Col. Gail Halvorsen, who is known as the Candy Bomber from the “Meet the Mormons.” I love the connections I’ve been able to make and the people I’ve been able to meet, that I otherwise would not be privileged enough to meet. Those moments happened most of the time because I was willing to branch out and take the plunge to ask for the interviews.

What’s the wackiest story you’ve worked on?

Gardner: I’ve worked on some pretty interesting stories in my college days, but one of the most interesting is probably an article I did about a natural healing and massage place in Logan. Our whole Statesman team was invited to write an article on our experience, and the owner actually did some energy work on me, so I was able to write about my experience. 

What do you want to accomplish in your journalism career?

Gardner: I have many different goals and things that I would like to accomplish in my journalism career, but I think one of the main things is to write often and from the heart as much as I can. I also want to be as truthful and committed as I can to the field, and tell stories that really matter. This might include going after the less-sought-after sources or diving deeper into subjects that aren’t talked about that much.

If you could meet any journalist and ask for her/his advice, who would it be and why?

Gardner: Carolyn Holly (Boise, Idaho). I grew up watching Carolyn and Dee Sarton and absolutely loved their friendly personalities and calm demeanors. I loved how happy and positive they are in sharing news. Although I’m not particularly going into broadcast media, it would be cool to talk to her and get her perspective on things as they are in the media now, and to hear how she blossomed into her career and passions for journalism and the media.

What do you want potential employers to know about you?

Gardner:  I want potential employers to know that I am driven and a well-rounded individual with a passion for writing and agriculture. As a small-town girl, I want to share my knowledge and passions with the world and make connections with people willing to tell their stories. I want to share those stories and be an advocate for the agriculture industry in whatever way I can.

When you aren’t practicing journalism, how do you spend your time?

Gardner: When I’m not busy writing (who am I kidding, I’ve always got some kind of writing or idea in my head), I’m usually snuggling my cute baby girl, Hazel, or dreaming of my next get-away with my husband.

To support journalism students, contribute here to scholarships.


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