When senior Ali Klima began working at the “Sooner Yearbook” her freshman year at OU, she wanted to get involved in something that would make a difference on campus. She was already involved in the Student Government Association, where she now holds an executive position, but wanted to use her love for writing in a more meaningful way.

When a friend suggested that she join the yearbook, she did not realize a yearbook was in existence at OU. However, after a 30 minute interview with the editor, she was hired as a writer-on-staff. She now feels like the yearbook is different than other publications on campus, like the “OU Daily,” because it covers important, more in depth stories that investigate larger campus issues.

Now, after working at the Sooner Yearbook for three years, she says her favorite thing about writing stories based on student issues is that she gets to meet students from different backgrounds on campus.

She was assigned to do a story about sexual assault on campus for the 2016-2017 publication. She thinks her editor assigned her the story because the topic went well with her writing style, as well as her concern with social justice through student congress. She did a lot of pre-reporting, including reading articles concerning sexual assault in the “OU Daily” and other local publications. She then usually tries to use her contacts in student government to talk to people who are directly involved in such issues.

This was a timely topic because David Boren made comments about the report the Gender and Equality Center released about sexual assault cases at OU, which caused concern among many students regarding resources for sexual assault victims.  

In her story, “Breaking the Silence,” Ali sheds light on the issue of sexual misconduct in general while also showing its impact on OU’s campus and why it is a relevant topic. She uses quotes to supplement her reporting well, and the ending quote of Kathy Faul, the director of the Gender and Equality Center, shows that there are solutions to the problem which make the reader want to stay informed about the issue.

When writing this particular story, Ali found that many students did not know there was a sexual misconduct policy. She realized that informing people through her interviews and through the publication of her story about Title IX was very significant.

All of the victims Ali spoke to were students at OU, and she made sure to be more sensitive and careful in her interview process. Most of the victims she interviewed wanted their stories to be told because they wanted to help inform and educate others about the issue and the resources that OU offers. She felt like she was able to empathize with everyone she interviewed, which she said made them more comfortable talking to her about difficult things.

Ali said only about 10% of sexual misconduct cases are reported, so she felt that those who did openly talk about their experiences made her writing feel even more meaningful.

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