Jim Dalrymple II‘s career all began because he was in the right place at the right time.
A week after he had started his first full-time job as a reporter, a big historic building in his city burned down. Not only was this a big deal to the city, but also it became the jumpstart to Dalrymple’s career. Since this building was close to his apartment, he was the first one to arrive on the scene at 3:30 a.m., and he was the only reporter there for a few hours. He graduated as an English major from Brigham Young University with no formal journalism training, and had only been working as a reporter for a few days. He was nervous that this had the potential to end poorly.
“I kind of didn’t know what I was doing at that point. So I could have easily ended up failing in that position,” Dalrymple said.
But, he did not fail.
“The editor in chief at the local paper loved how I covered that fire, and from then on out he always liked me and tried to give me attention, opportunities and eventually a promotion,” said Dalrymple.
After he wrote the story on this fire, his career in journalism began.
He has held jobs at different publications, such as, Rhombus Online Magazine, The Daily Herald, The Salt Lake Tribune, and most currently, Buzzfeed, where he has worked for almost two years. He has had a full time staff reporter position at one of these publications over the course of five years.
He started as a freelancer when he was pursuing his master’s degree in English and rhetoric, and then began writing for Rhombus Online Magazine, an online magazine in his college town. Dalrymple also wrote for other similar publications during this time as well, until he realized he wanted to work at a newspaper.
“I pleaded with the local paper to let me do something for them. They gave me an internship, and then hired me as a stringer,” said Dalrymple.
This internship led to a full time job covering courts and crime at The Daily Herald in Utah.
Genelle Pugmire, a reporter for The Daily Herald said, “Jim has always been an inspiring journalist to me. I have been in the business for about 32 years, and as an old lady he wrote and ran circles around me. Jim has tenacity and always looked deeper and wider at his stories than most of the journalists I have worked with over three decades.”
At The Salt Lake Tribune, he covered courts, disasters, crime, and polygamy.
Nate Carlisle, reporter for The Salt Lake Tribune, worked with Jim for a year. He said, “Jim is very inquisitive and intellectual. Jim took the time to ponder the means of the answers of the question.”
Dalrymple’s biggest moment of his career was “probably covering the unrest in Ferguson, at least in terms of how much reach my work had. That was the first really big national story I covered on the ground, and I was there early enough that there was still a ton of interest,” he said.
He ended up returning to Ferguson multiple times.
“But, the first visit in August 2014 was really in a league of it’s own,” said Dalrymple.
“Jim works very hard. His work reflects how he is intellectual and a very good writer as well. He has a master’s in English and that is shown in his writing. I was always impressed with his work,” Carlisle said.
About a month ago, he covered the climate talks in Paris. This is important for his career because it was his first time covering a United Nations event on the ground.
Pugmire said, “He cares about people, places and things. He is a wordsmith and knows how to educate without slanting his opinion, which is the sign of a great journalist. He gives you information and lets the readers decide their own opinion. He loves a good discussion on everything from same sex marriage to how a city should be planned.”
Jim Dalrymple’s career began years ago because a building caught on fire near his home, but it has flourished since because “he is truly a unique individual with a great future in journalism and in contributing to what is truth in the world,” Pugmire said.