In the bustling corridors of General Conference, amidst the sea of journalists from various backgrounds, I had the pleasure of conversing with Trent Nelson, a distinguished staff photographer and videographer for the Salt Lake Tribune.

What sets Nelson apart is not just his extensive career but his connection to BYU-Idaho and Scroll, where his journey into journalism inadvertently began.

Trent Skateboarding during his college years

Nelson skateboarding during his college years. Photo credit: Trent Nelson

Nelson’s career spans over two decades, having joined the Tribune in 1995. His journey into the realm of journalism began unexpectedly during his brief tenure at Rick’s College (now BYU-I). Originally intending to become a writer, Nelson found himself drawn to photography, a medium that allowed him to explore multiple facets of campus life beyond the limitations of a single beat.

Despite only attending college for two semesters and feeling like he left no significant mark, Nelson’s experiences during this period were a stepping stone to his professional career. He shared a memory of achieving a front-page picture in Scroll, a testament to the early stages of his burgeoning passion for photography.

Transitioning from Scroll to professional journalism wasn’t straightforward. Before his long-standing tenure at the Salt Lake Tribune, Nelson’s career took him from a small newspaper in Provo to various roles in California, each step further refining his craft.

View of Rexburg and Ricks College from top of grain tower. (Circa 1987)

View of Rexburg and Ricks College from top of grain tower (circa 1987). Photo credit: Trent Nelson

His advice to aspiring journalists reflects his own path — a blend of commitment, constant learning and the importance of embracing digital platforms for distribution and engagement.

Nelson’s career is filled with diverse experiences, from covering Utah Jazz basketball games to capturing moments with political figures and even attending events like General Conference.

Trent Nelson during the 194th General Conference April 2024

Trent Nelson during the 194th General Conference April 2024 Photo credit: Chester Chan

He reminisced about a particularly memorable assignment in Africa with President Hinckley in 1998, highlighting the unpredictable and thrilling nature of journalism.

As journalism evolves, Nelson acknowledges the challenges and opportunities presented by technological advancements, including artificial intelligence (AI). He stresses the importance of authenticity and integrity in a landscape increasingly cluttered with AI-generated content.

For Nelson, the essence of journalism lies in storytelling that resonates with and impacts the audience.