Reynaldo Leal may be considered a jack of all journalism trades, but his first love is photography.
Rey, as he's known, joined the Standard-Examiner last week. His primary duties are as a photojournalist, but you can expect to see his work in all forms of journalism across our print and online platforms.
He is a recent graduate of the University of Texas-Pan American in his native Edinburg, Texas, with degrees in environmental science and print communication.
Rey is a little older than your normal recent college graduate. He joined the Marines just after the start of the Iraq war and served four years as an infantryman, including two tours in Iraq. He went back to school when his military obligation ended.
He bought his first camera when he was 13 and always carries one with him, including during his tours in Iraq.
"I always considered myself a photographer; that transitioned into a 'journalist,' " Rey said.
That love of photography was sparked by youthful visits to the public library on hot summer days in his south Texas hometown. There, Rey discovered Time-Life books, as well as books specifically about photography.
"That's where I got the bug."
He did his fair share of reporting while in college, including work for an online sports site. He provided the complete package -- words, still photos and video -- in his coverage.
"I always felt I could tell a story better through a camera. (But) doing everything is part of it. it was ingrained into me in school to become well-rounded."
Rey's 5-year-old son is especially excited about the family's move to Utah.
"He can't stop talking about the snow," Rey says.
South Texas isn't where you go to look for regular snowstorms. Rey says he can recall only once in his lifetime when it snowed in his hometown.
"Kids prayed for snow. In 2004, it snowed and it stuck. (But) I was in Iraq, half a world away."
Rey spent Christmas in Texas with his family and next week is off on an overseas project that he accepted before coming to work for the Standard-Examiner.
He and a friend are flying to Turkey, to an area near the borders of Syria and Lebanon.
They plan to spend a month, working to document the struggle of refugees flooding across the border to escape the fighting still raging in Syria.
"The conflict there is all encompassing," Rey said.
He will be on the lookout for local ties among the refugees, and already has several leads to pursue that he developed in the short time he spent in Utah.
Rey is a talented young journalist who brings a fresh eye to life in the Top of Utah. I think you'll enjoy his work, no matter the form, and we're excited to have him on our staff.
Dave Greiling is managing editor of the Standard-Examiner. He may be reached at 801-625-4224 or via email at email@example.com.