Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


School of Journalism and Broadcasting

Document Type



On the close of my career at Western I wanted to cover a story, utilizing my learned photojournalism skills, which reflected by upbringing. I grew up in a small coalmining county in western Kentucky where my interest in photojournalism began. At this time I would look for stories I could relate to and noticed that the majority of coal stories covered were centered on the environment, politics or accidents in mines. Few stories exist that give voice to the miners and their families. So, for my thesis and capstone project I wanted to tell the other side of the coal story, that of the miner.

The journey to that story was very rewarding. A combination of interviews, travel and networking led me to River View coalmine in my hometown of Waverly in Union County, Kentucky. More searching led me to Mark Wilson, a young coalminer with a growing family. Wilson, like many men from Union County, joined the military out of high school and returned home after his service to join his family legacy of coalmining.

Wilson’s story is universal; he is a father working hard at a job he is proud of to provide a comfortable life for his family. His job, however, is a little less common. Each workday he wakes up and prepares to work 400 feet below the surface, drawing out the earth’s wealth to sustain his family.

Finding the heart of this story has taught me a lot about patience, people and my chosen career. I have used all of my skills learned here at Western to tell the coalminers story. The result is a short documentary that sits in a custom webpage with info graphics.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Professor Tim Broekema


Other Arts and Humanities