Storyteller Todd Hollingshead

When I asked Marriott Alumni Magazine contributor Todd Hollingshead when he first started writing stories, he reached into his filing cabinet for a manila folder. Tucked inside lay page after page of a child’s careful cursive, spelling out titles such as “A Girl Named Alice.”

“I don’t even know how old I was—there are no dates on these things—but probably at around seven or eight years old I started writing,” he says.Toddmug

Hollingshead, a 2004 BYU alumnus, is a media relations manager for University Communications at BYU and author of the winter 2014 article “Side Effects.”

“I just like to tell stories,” he says. “That’s what I get to do for BYU. I tell the stories of the people who study and research here.”

As a kid he submitted stories to PTA contests, later worked for school newspapers, and eventually majored in journalism. After writing for the Daily Herald and The Salt Lake Tribune, he took a position at University Communications in 2007. He says the switch from journalism to media relations was relatively simple, although it took some time to get used to being interviewed.

“I remember being a journalist and asking people things. I was so surprised sometimes at how nervous people would be to say anything to me,” he says. “Now being on the other side of it, you realize who you’re representing and how many people can see everything you say.”

Since 2007 he’s covered BYU stories that have caught the eye of publications such as the Wall Street Journal, U.S.News & World Report, and Glamour, bringing national attention to campus and the work students and professors do here. He says working with BYU marketing professor Ryan Elder on “Side Effects” was particularly enjoyable because Elder’s research is so relevant to people’s everyday lives.

“There are lots of people trying to start and operate a business, and so many areas of business have great applications,” Hollingshead says. “That’s why I love writing stories about business; there are so many people who are trying to learn more about it.”