Hard times can make the most beautiful people
Making a diamond is a complicated process. Scientists believe that the planet’s diamonds were made when carbon was buried below the surface, heated, and put under a lot of pressure; 725,000 pounds per square inch to be exact. It’s a long and often damaging process, but the end result is something beautiful.
Kate Beaudoin, the former Operations Manager of the University Journal, is at a vital point in her career. She worked as a music journalist in New York before coming to Cedar City, and she is planning for bigger things in the upcoming years.
Throughout her life, pressure has been a constant. After graduating with a Bachelor of Art in English Literature, Beaudoin worked for the Montana magazine “Outside Bozeman.” After assisting online, working as an assistant editor and finally the Senior Editor, she moved to New York City to pursue a Master’s degree in magazine journalism from NYU, where she wrote for Rolling Stone, Salon and New York Magazine.
The pressure continued when Beaudoin worked for Mic News in New York City. As a music reporter, she worked between 60 and 80 hours weekly.
Upon arriving each morning, she had to pitch five original story ideas and write three full articles.
“It became extremely overwhelming and it drove me into the ground,” Beaudoin said. “It destroyed my soul, it burned me out so hard.”
As it turns out, in order for carbon to become a diamond, it must first be buried 100 miles below the surface and heated to 2,200 degrees.
Beaudoin slipped into a rough patch because of the job, and unsettled feelings about her first major breakup led her to become forgetful. She then fell into a negative spiral.
One day, Beaudoin realized she couldn’t write anymore.
“It feels helpless, and it’s sad and it’s scary,” she said. “That afternoon, I had some whiskey, because I thought it would help. It didn’t help, so I went for an hour-long walk. It didn’t help. I tried everything to try to get my brain to work again, but it just didn’t take and it was so frustrating.”
Regan Wilson, Beaudoin’s sister, came to New York City to help her find a new place to live, but she quickly realized that staying was not an option.
During Wilson’s time in the city, Beaudoin said she kept seeing signs that she shouldn’t stay.
“When (Regan) was helping me find an apartment, taxis wouldn’t come, the train was late, people would swoop in and buy an apartment from under me,” she said. “So many random things happened that made it feel like New York was actually trying to kick me out. I was like ‘Fine, I give into the universe.’ I packed my bags and I left.”
So after years doing what she thought was her dream job, New York turned Kate Beaudoin, a journalist with a specialty in music, into a diamond. It buried her, burned her and pressured her, but it created a humble and dedicated teacher.
Beaudoin came to Cedar City with her sister. She was looking for a new start, which she got when a position opened up in the SUU Communication Department.
Teaching runs in her family, and Beaudoin fell in love with the job like so many before her.
“I called my mom at the end of the first day and said ‘Mom, I can’t believe this,’” she said. “‘This is what I want to do with the rest of my life.’”
Similar to how she joined the university, Beaudoin jumped at the opportunity to serve as the Operations Manager of the University Journal, SUU’s student-produced news publication, after serving as an adjunct professor for a year.
In this role, Beaudoin was in charge of overseeing the day-to-day operations of the program, coordinating content and deadlines and working with employees on their writing.
“Every five to 10 minutes, there was a pretty big fire that needed to be put out,” she said. “It was everything from I didn’t put in a requisition correctly to the dean was upset with the content to the staplers need staples. It just totally ranged.”
With new management came a new vision, and Beaudoin did things differently than the previous Operations Manager.
Billy Clouse, a sophomore graphic design major and former Journal Editor-in-Chief from Henderson, Nev., attributed much of last year’s success to Beaudoin.
“Kate was all about innovation,” he said. “Because of her, we got a brand-new website, we created The Wingspan, an affiliate magazine and we grew a much larger following than we had at the beginning of the year.”
In addition to implementing new ideas to improve the publication, Beaudoin wanted to improve the environment surrounding it.
“(The previous Operations Manager) was more aggressive while I was more flexible,” she said. “He didn’t trust his students like I trusted them. There also wasn’t an atmosphere of fun.”
Diana Pressey, the former Journal Opinion Editor from Pittsboro, N.C., said Beaudoin made the office a comfortable place to work.
“Personally, [Beaudoin] made me feel really comfortable while always encouraging me to push myself,” Pressey said. “She challenged everyone to do better and made the Journal a learning environment, which really helped me feel like I was gaining the type of experience that I need to excel after college.”
Because Beaudoin’s position was considered an emergency hire, her job was open for rehiring, and the University chose a different candidate to take on the role next year. Although she won’t continue with the Journal, she said she hopes the staff remembers the lessons she has tried to teach them, and that they can share them with others.
“I want my legacy to be that people appreciate the media, that people have a reverence toward it, that they respect it,” she said. “(I want the staff to) feel like I did during my first journalism job, which was that I love doing this because I love being around the people. I want my legacy to be that journalism is serious and it’s important and it’s vital right now. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun in the meantime.”
Going forward, Beaudoin is planning to freelance with some contacts in New York, and will start her Ph.D. in communication in the fall of 2018.
“Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to get my Ph.D. because I want to have job security and because I like to be the best at things,” she said, laughing. “I like the world of academia and having a Ph.D. in communication gives me tons of opportunities to either stay in communications or even go into politics which I’m interested in. I can basically do anything I want with a Ph.D. in communication.”
Beaudoin has started to dip her toes into politics by serving as the Communication Director of the R. Scott Phillips campaign for Cedar City Council.
As the sun sets, the city lights come on. Fewer of them twinkle in Cedar City than in New York, but she still has a sense of home.
This is where she fell in love with teaching. This is where she inspired future journalists. This is where she found herself.
This is where a rough diamond became polished.