Inside “Wild Disturbances”

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Reporter’s word

It started small, as all adventures do. After approaching several professors I admire, I decided the best way to spend the first half of my senior year would involve something I was very passionate about in the form of an independent study. I enjoy writing long-form journalism. I like environmental journalism. So, I molded these two together and began my search for an intriguing topic.

I started discovering just how underreported predator control is in today’s news. There are several quick articles explaining a minor portion of the whole controversy, but I could not find a piece that really dug into this quiet storm. That is what attracted me to this topic. I wanted to uncover something important. Something meaningful.

After I had the go-ahead to start working on this independent study, I hit the books. Hours in the library led to hours on the phone talking to people from all over the United States. I started asking the hard questions and discovered there was more going on under the surface. As any journalist would understand, my curiosity pushed me deeper into the issue.

Little did I know that between early October and late January, I would talk to more than 40 people from numerous regions of the United States. I visited New York, Pennsylvania and Georgia for interviews. I was fortunate enough to receive travel funding from my university to fly to Arizona, where I conducted many interviews and gathered most of my video and photography. While out west, I wandered through remote desert, searched for wild coyotes every sunrise and talked to Arizona residents with fascinating stories. It was a surreal experience and I hope to do something similar after my graduation in May 2014.

Two and a half weeks after my return to Elon University, the article was complete. I could not be more excited to share this story you.

Big thanks to my family and friends for their patience, understanding and incessant support. I don’t think I could have accomplished nearly as much as I did in Arizona if it wasn’t for my wonderful uncle and aunt in Cave Creek. Thank you to all the Elon professors – Glenn Scott, Paul Parsons, Janna Anderson, Michael Skube, Anthony Hatcher – for taking hours of their time to edit and fine-tune this piece. And lastly, a huge thank you to Colin Donohue for mentoring me from start to finish. This article wouldn’t have been possible without his support and guidance.

About the reporter

I am a senior multimedia journalist at Elon University. My minor is creative writing. I enjoy intertwining these two studies. 

I discovered my passion for environmental journalism while interning at the Conservators’ Center. This internship has shown me how to fine-tune my skills in filming, video editing, writing, reporting, photography and multimedia packaging. It has also taught me to be aware of sneaky lions and tigers.
My favorite part of journalism is its power to evoke emotion. There is nothing I love more than learning more about our natural world and the remarkable people who inhabit it. I believe it is incredibly important to tell the stories of the underreported and bring them to life.
When I’m not writing, you can usually find me running outside, photographing at wildlife facilities and watching hilarious YouTube videos with my friends.

Contact information

404-307-0020

sbutzer@elon.edu

@StephanieButzer

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