J.J. Despain is an editor and cartoonist for BYU’s student newspaper The Daily Universe. Currently, he is the nation’s go-to man for campus’ reaction regarding BYU Basketball. His recent celebrity includes interviews with Pat Forde of ESPN.com, Cory Giger, of ESPN Radio 1450 AM, and Jasmine Marcus, of Jumpshots with Jasmine, and a radio show at Israel Sports Radio based out of Jerusalem. His articles have also been published at the Deseret News.
HC: How did you come to choose journalism as your chosen field?
JD: I’ve always been interested in journalism, it seems like since as long as I can remember I’ve had a desire to know about current events and the world around me. For example, I knew the names of all the states of the United States and where they are when I was in kindergarten, and it’s been natural for me ever since. Later, I prided myself in knowing names of presidents of other countries, or knowing what the president or Congress was up to lately, what the big issues were, etc.
HC: What has been your favorite part of your experience with national media?
JD: Probably my favorite part is seeing these interviewers do the same thing with me that I do when I’m writing a story. It’s cool to realize that I’m doing what a real journalist does too. I guess that makes me a real journalist.
HC: How do you prepare for an interview, perhaps specifically with your interview for Israel Sports Radio?
JD: To be honest, these past few days I didn’t really do much to prepare for the interviews. I felt like I knew enough about BYU sports and the Honor Code that I could just have a natural conversation with whatever questions were thrown my way.
Even though I didn’t do anything to prepare, I was very excited for the interviews. Really, the only one I had any time to think about beforehand was the Israel Sports Radio interview. I was especially excited about that one, because it seemed like such a cool thing to be a part of. A recent Cornell grad, with her own sports radio show, in Jerusalem? Never would I have expected to be on a show like that in a million years. It was great.
HC: Have you every regretted opinions that you have shared through your writing/interviewing?
JD: I don’t really regret anything I’ve written, because for the most part whatever I say I’m saying on purpose. But one thing does come to mind: in my very first editorial as the new Daily Universe issues & ideas editor, I wrote about Arizona’s new, strict immigration bill (http://universe.byu.edu/node/7979). It turns out that I used a quote from the bill that wasn’t actually from the bill. And when I tried to go back and look where I got my incorrect information from, it had been corrected there. It was frustrating, because I felt like I lost the very first argument I made (http://jtothe2ndpower.blogspot.com/2010/05/update-on-arizona-senate-bill-1070.html)! My opinion on the immigration bill was still the same, but now I seemed less credible. Lucky for me though, I was the opinion editor during the spring term, when not many people are paying attention anyway. :)
HC: What are your plans for the future in relation to journalism?
JD: If I could do a job at The Daily Universe forever and make enough to support me and my family, that would be perfect. But, seeing as how I’m a husband and father of a six-month-old daughter, I don’t have the freedom to just wander around the country, working on little newspapers for a couple years and then moving on to the next one. This summer, I have an internship at The Brooklyn Paper in New York City. I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t wait to be working in New York City. Working with The Brooklyn Paper might lead to something, but I don’t know.