His first passion was news photography. But Steve Fidel took computer in hand to write because he "didn't want to rely on someone else to do half the work" of telling his stories.
Today, the Brigham Young University communications graduate is a one-man news gathering team. Whether at the scene of a fire, an accident, a plane wreck, a water board meeting or even a West Jordan City Council meeting - Fidel is apt to be snapping photographs and jotting down quotes.
As the "calamity" reporter since 1984, he's the only writer at the Deseret News with a staff car, complete with radio and cameras so he can "jump and run" for a breaking story. If it breaks somewhere else and there's only one seat left on the plane, Fidel's usually the one to go because he can switch hats from photographer to reporter at will.
Steve and his wife Melia have a relationship made in Taiwan. They met when both were doing internships in the Orient, studying language. "We studied acupuncture together from an old mainland Chinese doctor," he said with a laugh. They also hiked through bamboo jungles in search of photographs. But they didn't really start dating until they got back to the United States. They married six years ago.
"My wife was majoring in English at BYU while I was majoring in journalism," Fidel said. "I would proofread her papers and hack half of the words and she would proof my stories and add words to everything. We finally agreed we had basic style differences and stopped rewriting each other."
The Fidels have two daughters, Taylor, 3, and Katherine, 4 months. Taylor has already learned, by imitating her father, how to take pictures. "It was a little out of focus, but really not bad," he boasted of her first attempt at portraiture. By a "fluke of babysitting - or lack of a babysitter" Taylor's gone along to watch her dad cover a City Council meeting, too.
Fidel restored old cars to help pay for college. Now he's putting his spare time into restoring a '65 Mustang - the first old car he's ever owned. (Actually, for years he drove a 1948 Chevy pickup truck he bought for $800. Fidel said a neighbor was glad when he sold it because it was drawing attention away from his BMW.)
He expects to be in Utah for a while.
"I get to spend a lot of time out of the newsroom. I came here (from Albuquerque, N.M.) for the outdoors. And I've done stories on all the things I came here for: stories about skiing, fishing, forests, dams, rivers, water. The things I love. Yet I'm really a concrete person. I couldn't stand to live in small town. But we have everything here, including a lot of family. It's home."