Month: March 2018

Entertainment Beat Report – March 9, 2018

Entertainment Beat Report – March 9, 2018

I’ve had a bit of a hectic week and not a lot of time to pay attention to the gaming scene, but I didn’t want to miss out on one of these beat reports after I already did last week thanks to the convention I attended.

So this is going to be a little more short and to the point, just to show that I’ve been paying some attention to my entertainment beat for class. Hope you all enjoy or learn something either way!


March 8, 2018 Nintendo Direct

Gaming’s biggest name (arguably, but I’d stand by that) made waves across the internet on Thursday when they put on a Nintendo Direct showcasing all of the new stuff coming to stores and e-shops in the near future.

As of me writing this at 5:15 p.m. or so on Friday, the video is still the #3 trending video on YouTube.

I could talk for hours dissecting each and every little announcement that was made… But frankly I still have not watched the whole thing. As I said, time has not exactly been on my side recently.

Despite this, Nintendo includes a summary of everything they announced in the description of the archived stream, so even if I would usually dedicate a whole expansive post to this topic I can run through my thoughts on everything in short form.

I’ll try to be quick and painless with it.

  • The 3DS will have a number of new titles in the near future: WarioWare Gold, Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers as a sequel to Dillon’s Rolling Western and a remake of Mario & Luigi Bowser’s Inside Story.
    • As a side note, I’m still confused as to why Bowser’s Inside Story is next on the docket here. Superstar Saga had a remake not too long ago, but theoretically the next game on the list should be Partners in Time if they’re going in order on the Mario RPG kick. Perhaps that’s a discussion for another day…
  • Detective Pikachu will be coming out soon, and Nintendo announced a remake of the GameCube classic Luigi’s Mansion on 3DS. Coming… Sometime soon. Definitely looking forward to that one.
  • Kirby Star Allies, coming out later this month, will allow players to travel with old Kirby staple characters and companions – most notably including the animal buddies from Kirby’s Dream Land 2 and Marx, the (Spoilers? I guess?) arch-villain in Kirby Super Star.
  • Okami HD will be coming to the Nintendo Switch, as will a game called Sushi Striker (a puzzle fighting game based on Sushi I believe?), Captain Toad Treasure Tracker, Undertale, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, the Crash N. Sane Trilogy and so, so much more. Seriously, so many games here that are worth your time it’s crazy.
  • Dark Souls Remastered will have its own special Amiibo based on Solaria of Astora and his famously meme-worthy “praise the sun” pose when launched. Still looking forward to trying this one.
  • Splatoon 2 will receive an expansion with Version 3.0 and $20 paid DLC that’s going to add a whole hell of a lot. More stages, outfits, competitive rankings and even new single player experiences. Who knows, maybe this is the kind of thing that could get me back into that game… If I’d be willing to pay the money, I suppose.
  • Finally, the one that truly broke the internet: Super Smash Brothers is coming to Nintendo Switch. Whether it will be a port of Smash 4 or a new game entirely is not yet known, but it appears like the Inklings from Splatoon are new fighters and Link has been updated to fit his appearance in Breath of the Wild. Though I’m still a huge fan of the Twilight Princess Link, it’ll be interesting to see how that change plays out.
    • Also if you haven’t watched the video yet, go see the Smash teaser where the Inkling has the fiery Smash logo in her eyes. It’s one of my favorite hilarious visuals in a long time.

Mario is coming to Google Maps

Focusing more specifically on Nintendo’s most famous mascot, Mario and Google Maps are apparently combining forces to celebrate March 10. Or, as the joke goes, “Mar10 day.” See what they did there?

Seriously how nice must it be when details like that line up? It’s almost serendipity that years after this character was created we can appreciate unintentionally meta humor like this.

Once Google Maps have been updated, anyone can hit the question block in the corner of the screen to have a 3D model of the plumber replace their car as it travels along the blue line toward a destination. It’s a small, kind of silly idea… But a cool one all the same.

Besides, considering the Pokémon April Fools joke from a couple of years ago helped lead to Pokémon GO, maybe this is just test driving a new Mario Kart mobile platform.

Pun only slightly intended.


Mario Kart-style go-kart track will open this Spring

Nintendo sure has been busy recently, haven’t they?

The Niagara Speedway will soon host a go-kart track inspired by one of our favorite red mustachioed spin-off games, Mario Kart.

Apparently this isn’t the first time, as another similarly inspired set of racetracks also exists in Missouri of all places.

It has been a long time since I’ve gone go karting, so I can’t exactly say I’m excited by the prospects of going again now that I’m way too big to do so probably, but it is pretty cool to imagine playing Mario Kart in real life.

Plus, you can totally have Mario guide your way to the Mario Kart tracks if you choose to drive there this week. Who can argue with that?


Overwatch League host harassed for comments made on International Women’s Day

On finally not Nintendo news, here’s something back with our local Orange County favorite Blizzard.

Unfortunately, this might not be as good a publicity pull as the company might want in the midst of their League’s second stage.

One of the League’s host and analyst, Soe Gschwind-Penski, has apparently been receiving death threats and hateful messages over Twitter after she thanked men for treating women as equals on International Women’s Day.

Really from what I’ve been able to find, that’s about as deep as this story gets. There’s a little more back-and-forth about what she did afterward in the story I have linked above, but I don’t have much to contribute to the conversation.

I just think it’s interesting that there was a vitriolic response to what seems like such a simple, encouraging message. Guess that’s just the nature of the world we live in today.


President Trump held meeting about violence in video games following Parkland shooting

The Parkland shooting in Florida on Feb. 14, 2018 left 17 people dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

In the wake of that tragedy, U.S. President Donald Trump decided to gather together higher-ups in the video game industry to discuss the violence they showcase.

According to the Verge, his meeting started with a series of clips putting various games’ violence on display, a video which has since been uploaded to the White House YouTube page.

Personally I’m not sure that kind of thing needs to be there necessarily… But I guess it is.

That same article says the meeting was “unproductive and bizarre,” with little discussion on potentially being able to restrict companies in what they can produce. More of the discussion was focused on voluntary measures and more robust age restrictions.

Another point worth noting about this story is different groups pointing to it as a “distraction tactic” in leu of talking about gun control, which says a lot with the March for our Lives march planned by students to talk about guns and mass shootings later this month.


Like I said before, things have been busy for me so I haven’t exactly gotten the chance to appreciate a wider scope of news — as I’m sure is obvious by the amount of Nintendo dominating the charts here.

If there is any news I missed that you were interested in, please let me know about it in the comments below! I know I can’t hit everything, so it’d be great to know exactly what I wasn’t paying attention to.

March 5, 2018 Article Published

March 5, 2018 Article Published

After a couple of days of hardcore convention-ing, it feels nice to settle in for a week of school with your name adorning the paper once again.

As I teased in my ACP post from yesterday, I’ve had an opinion piece worked up over the last week or so that made it to print in today’s weeklong. Only one paper this week — alongside our special Health Issue — because half our staff is going out to New York.

Honestly that’s a double whammy bonus for me. More time for my story to be out on the stands and more time for me to get some homework out-of-the-way that I’ve been desperate to catch up on. Guess I can count that as one more benefit to not making the cross-country trip.

Enough pussy-footing around though. You’re probably all here to see some of my behind-the-scenes looks at what goes into writing an article. Though if you aren’t and you really do prefer me to just ramble on… Just let me know. I’d love to hear why.

Though my second opinion piece for the Titan isn’t exactly as noteworthy as the first one I wrote last semester, I think I honestly had a little more fun putting this one together. It centers around California Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, my hometown representative actually and a pretty nice guy at that, having put through a bill to the table that would make surfing the official state sport if passed.

Now, I’m not personally super into surfing. I love the beach and I used to surf a bit, but I got pretty traumatized after an incident where I got crushed between a couple of boards during a surfing lesson way back in the day and haven’t really done it since.

Even with that stipulation, I’m not looking to suggest that surfing would be an inherently bad choice for this position. If anything I agree that surfing would make the most sense as a singular sport associated with the state of California. However… I just don’t think it’s right to necessarily boil down an entire facet of a state’s culture into one legislative representative.

There’s a distinction I’m imagining between something like a sport and something like a tree or a flower. Obviously every state has its signature flower or tree, and in a lot of regards that makes sense. Either that flora is common in the area or has some significance for another reason, but it’s easy enough to just say “California has redwood trees. They’re cool. Let’s make that the state tree.”

For human-driven cultural pursuits, I think it’s a little more tricky to pick just one. While surfing is strongly associated with the Golden State, it’s not the only one that holds distinction amongst the people living there. That can go for any state or country really, but it’s especially true for California where (as I note in the story) Big Bear snowboarding and Hermosa Beach surfing are just three or so hours apart.

Essentially my article goes through a number of examples building on the original premise that surfing along doesn’t represent all of California. I talk about beach volleyball. I talk about snowboarding. I talk about basketball. I make a Beach Boys joke.

Because really how could you not with this premise?

Then, once I’ve made a case for why all of those sports could also represent facets of California, I came to the ultimate conclusion that maybe there should not be just ONE single state sport. You discount too much history and culture if you go that route.

After my article was finished, I also decided to get some pictures to accompany it. I live down by the beach after all, so that was an easy thing to get access to. Plus, I get extra points for having photo credits in print. So why not?

Well… If you’ve paid attention to my adventures these past couple of days, you’ll know why not.

That damn bipolar weather.

Really though, outside of the rain this was a pretty fun and easy assignment. I enjoyed the topic and I talked with a source for some background on potential flaws with surfing as a concept who was quite nice.

She even gave me an arts and crafts project… For some reason.

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Still not sure why, but it’s sweet all the same.

If you want to read my article in its entirety, you can check it out here. Or you can see my whole archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!

Or, you can always come down to Fullerton to pick it up in person. It’s going to be on racks all week, after all!

My ACP Midwinter 2018 Convention Experiences – Day Three

My ACP Midwinter 2018 Convention Experiences – Day Three

The last day of the Associated Collegiate Press 2018 Midwinter Convention was a long one. Not only did I do a bunch of stuff before heading to Long Beach, but I was there extra late for the California College Media Association awards that followed the closing keynote of the event.

That late awards ceremony was also the reason I didn’t manage to get this out the night of like with my first two posts, by the way. If you even noticed that weird discrepancy and were curious about it.

But if you did not notice that and don’t want to see my keep rambling on, I’ll just jump right in.

For those of you who are just tuning in now for some reason, you can read my reflections on the first two days here [ Day One ] and here [ Day Two ].


Even though there were a few early sessions I was potentially interested in attending during the last day of the convention, ultimately I decided not to go over there yesterday morning. Other pressing matters presented themselves that needed to be addressed from Redondo.

First and foremost, I needed to take some photos regarding a story I’ve been working on for the Titan. The article is an opinion piece about surfing being considered to become the official state sport of California through a bill introduced by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi.

It’s getting published tomorrow, so if you want to know exactly what I’m thinking about regarding that issue, you’ll just have to wait and see. #Cliffhanger

In my desire to earn extra points for Comm 471, I decided to go take my own photos to accompany the surfing article. After all, I live literally five minutes away from the beach. So why not take my own photos?

Turns out, nature gave me a perfect reason why to not take my own photos.

Seriously, what were the odds that I went out to take photos on one of the rainiest, lousy days I’ve seen in this part of the world in months.

At least there was a nice pier to hide under so I didn’t completely ruin the camera I have rented from Bonnie.

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Also, shout out to my Mom for taking this dope picture of me. Even if I look silly wearing a leather jacket out on the beach in hindsight.

On the bright side, we went and had a lovely breakfast together after escaping the torrential downpour.

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We both look pretty lousy and waterlogged in this photo, but I think that adds to the charm. It was a fun adventure.

After our beach trip, I stayed home for a while longer to work on some homework. That’s the unfortunate thing about going to a dope conference: Having to keep up with your regular life responsibilities at the same time.

Especially when those real life responsibilities include a Psychology Research Methods paper to write in perfect American Psychological Association document style. That’s the funnest kind of assignment.

I did make some substantial progress on that during my morning time — though I didn’t finish it, and I theoretically could probably be working on it instead of this… But those are semantics we don’t need to get into right now.

Eventually, time dictated my necessity to go to Long Beach. I may not have gone to any other sessions, but there was one I absolutely had to go to.

My session.


Covering Milo Yiannopoulos

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I think it’s probably no surprise at this point that our biggest story on the Daily Titan in 2017 (for the second half of it at least) was the Halloween visit of conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

There’s no need for me to go into detail about every single story we wrote on the subject, so just check out the Daily Titan tag to get the gist of it if you’re behind.

For our purposes here, know that I was essentially the project lead on our Milo coverage since I broke the news that he would be appearing initially. That’s the magic of having connections with the club that was inviting him.

Because of the extensive work behind our Milo coverage, Bonnie got us a slot on the ACP convention schedule to talk about everything that went into it. Not only was that an awesome opportunity, but I had the honor of essentially leading the talk because I led most of our efforts!

That included everything, from the creation of a PowerPoint:

To running through everything going on for our attendees:

Of course I wasn’t the only one talking, if the pictures above didn’t make it obvious enough. I was joined by current Sports assistant Kathryne Padilla (left), Opinion editor Sophia Acevedo (middle) and News assistant Breanna Belken (right).

Our talk was pretty popular too, I’d say:

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… I know it sort of looks like a half-empty room in this picture, but I took it toward the end of the session. There were more people there early on and a few trickled out throughout.

But there’s no need to try and overcompensate or whatever, as just the fact that we got to speak to anybody like an expert in the subject was an absolute joy!

Probably my favorite part of it was the fact that people stuck around after the talk ended to ask extra questions. Specifically from me! Seriously, they staked out the room and hit my up after I left to find out a bit more about how I was able to stay objective with my reporting on the guy.

It’s a pretty significant confidence booster to see people want your advice on how to handle something.

I may be wrong about this, but I believe it was UC Santa Barbara students that stayed around to talk with me after the talk. So shout out to them.

But if I’m wrong and you just so happen to be those guys and you’re reading this, just let me know and I’ll correct it. I feel bad about not being 100 percent sure, there was just a lot that happened after we talked.

Speaking of…


The Ending Keynote: Dirty John

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The Los Angeles Times took a chance in late 2017 by publishing one of their larger investigative stories in tandem with a series of podcast episodes. That podcast, called Dirty John, has been downloaded 10 million times since it was put out in October.

Christopher Goffard was the reporter and narrator for the print story and the podcast respectively. He was also the keynote speaker for the last day of the convention.

I was already pretty hyped up for his talk after Steve Padilla, an LA Times editor, advocated for the keynote and encouraged me to go see what he had to say. Luckily, I was not disappointed.

Goffard ran through the ten lessons he learned from working on a podcast:

  1. The story always comes first.
  2. You will eventually grapple with some kind of ethical issues.In his case, deciding whether or not to include certain sound clips to enhance the emotional connection of the story.
  3. In a hyper competitive podcasting space, experience with prior reporting will offer an advantage.
  4. Having the right equipment is important.
  5. You will never know what words you have been mispronouncing your entire life until you have to say it in a professional space.
  6. Even if your podcast can reach more people, use it to draw attention to print.
  7. Always think about the cat (or whatever other noise obstructions there might be).
  8. Your work shouldn’t be about you, as interesting as you may be.
  9. Stop saying ‘uh huh’ during your interviews on tape. Learn to nod your head.
  10. You will not be murdered if you fail. Only staying in your comfort zone will kill you.

After getting through his points in speed running fashion, he spent a long time just answering questions from anyone and everyone in the audience who wanted his advice. It was super cool and useful, and after it ended I was excited to start listening to the podcast on my daily drives to-and-from Fullerton.

In fact, I’ve already downloaded it.

Pardon my dumb late-night repetition of ‘excited’ too many times.


Awards Galore

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The Daily Titan squad, present and past.

The rest of my time at the conference was spent at two different awards functions.

The first bled right into Goffard’s talk. A part of the ACP convention is a ‘Best of Show’ competition, where schools in attendance had the opportunity to enter what they considered to be their greatest work in various categories.

The Daily Titan entered one of the Homeless in OC-centric papers for ‘Best Daily Newspaper,’ the special Milo Yiannopoulos coverage reprint for ‘Best Special Issue’ and the Milo multimedia accompaniment for ‘Best Multimedia.’

We won first place, third place and fourth place respectively.

Shout out to Tusk Magazine as well, which won sixth place in the feature magazine category.

Double shout out to the ACP organization, which gave us a first place trophy with the handle broken that they promised they would send a replacement for.

Triple shout out to everyone who was there with us, which in the picture above boils down to (from left to right) our advisor Bonnie, prior Tusk advisor and my old Comm 201 professor Frank Russell, assistant journalism professor Chelsea Reynolds, Spring 2017 Daily Titan EIC Hayley M. Slye and CSUF College of Communications department chair Jason Shepard.

That’s a mouthful.

Once those awards were over, there was really no rest.

Just across the foyer from that main pavilion of the convention was a ballroom where the California College Media Association 2018 awards banquet was held.

The banquet was pretty great for a number of reasons.

First and foremost: The food.

It was all as delicious as it looks.

Dinner was almost comically on-point by offering us the opportunity to have both the meat AND the fish course, alongside some salad, mashed potatoes and cauliflower.

Then there were a number of desserts served throughout the night, and I was able to get my hands on a tiny tiramisu and a small thing of custard with gold-colored chocolate shavings and a coffee-ground base.

Though the food was delicious, putting it as my ‘first and foremost’ choice is honestly a bit of a joke.

Really, the coolest thing about the banquet was getting to see a bunch of old friends from the Titan who swung around to get awards!

Namely, my ex-co-editors Sarah Wolstoncroft (Twitter not included) and Megan Maxey, Ashlyn Ramirez and Kaleb Stewart came back into the fold to pick up various accolades. Bryant Freese was also supposed to be there to pick up his first place award for the sports story that got a coach at CSUF fired, but unfortunately he blew a tire on the way over (poor guy…)

Our ads department also won a couple of awards alongside the writers who were in attendance, with the most striking award featuring an amazing typo.

I don’t think anyone got a picture of it, but essentially they gave the Daily Titan Ads Department staff an award for their advertising package, which was a “The Daily Californian” production from 2016.

So we technically got credit for something that UC Berkeley did I guess? I don’t know, either way it was pretty hilarious.

What’s most important for my purposes, however, is the award I received.

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Megan, Ashlyn, Sarah, Bryant (who as I mentioned was not there) and I won third place in the News Series category for our work on the “Homeless in OC” stories that were produced as a part of Bonnie’s Investigative Journalism class last year. It’s a super huge honor, and I’m so proud that we were able to get that important work recognized!

Other Daily Titan stories that were awarded included Kaleb’s “IT” movie review, the initial Canin striking a student story from Sarah and Brandon Pho and a group award for Hannah Miller, Tracy Hoang, Brandon, Megan, Gabe Gandara and Bailey Carpenter for the multimedia package around Brandon’s Milo night-of story.

Gotta give credit where it’s due, to all my hardworking peeps on the Daily Titan staff, past and present.

After the awards ended, we all stood around and took photos together, then made our way home.

After three days of fun and learning in Long Beach, the convention was over. By 11:00 p.m. when I got back to Redondo, I was ready to pass out.

And I did.

That’s why this is coming out so late into Sunday instead of Saturday night. Because I fell asleep, then had to get up early to take beach photos again (this time more successfully) and have been doing my Daily Titan shift for our weeklong issue before half of our staff goes to New York for yet another conference.

Still kinda wish I had the opportunity to go to New York with them, but after my experiences in Long Beach I suppose I really can’t complain. I had an amazing time with some of my friends, got to share my expertise with a national audience, learn from a number of professionals and won some awards.

Really, who can complain about that?

My ACP Midwinter 2018 Convention Experiences – Day Two

My ACP Midwinter 2018 Convention Experiences – Day Two

Rarely is there ever a more poignant metaphor for how a day is going to go than waking up to a cloudy, rainy morning. Especially in Southern California, where rainy days are a dime a dozen at best.

The second day of my Associated Collegiate Press convention experience carried that unfortunate hurdle to overcome. Waking up was less than desirable with water drizzling down onto the windows, but there were early sessions I was interested in attending, so I dragged myself out of bed all the same.

Of course, Long Beach was not much sunnier than Redondo this morning. If anything, it was actually worse:

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Technically this was taken later in the day, but the point stands.

Luckily the conference is in a fancy hotel, so being out in the rain was not exactly a concern. Or that was the hope anyway.

My convention experience actually started out being more hectic than I had intended it to be. There was a 10:30 p.m. session I was interested in attending about covering geek culture, but as soon as I arrived that plan was subverted.

First, she handed out this semester’s business cards, which were delivered at the oh-so-inconvenient timing of late yesterday afternoon.

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Seriously, these couldn’t have arrived when we were first starting the conference?

Whatever. I figured at least I would have the opportunity to hand them out at the geek session I was going to join in a few minutes late.

Instead Bonnie asked me to help out with picking our Best of Show submissions, which were due at 4 p.m. this afternoon. That task first entailed me having to circle back around to the parking lot where she wanted me to rummage through her trunk to find a specific copy of the paper we wanted to submit.

Long story short, that paper was not there. But there were a couple of others that I grabbed for her. Frankly the strangest thing about that was just getting a brief glimpse into the strange world of ‘how other people organize their car trunks,’ in this case with one of my mentors. It was actually about as messy as my trunk is, so I’m going to take that as a positive.

I brought those issues back to the main foyer, where Bonnie was sitting down to do paper critiques with other schools. I (somewhat awkwardly) joined them at that table because she asked me to pick out the best paper to turn in.

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Here’s just a few of the papers I was deciding between. Ironically enough, none of them pictured above were the ones we decided to turn in. Guess that speaks wonders of my ability to plan ahead.

With the Best of Show paper chosen and a number of my friends at the Titan trickling in, it was time for the day’s keynote.


The Middle Keynote: Covering the Nassar Scandal

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Two students from Michigan State University who run their school’s newspaper were the big speakers of the afternoon. They began simply localizing stories from the Indianapolis Star regarding the huge movement of women coming out against Larry Nassar, the former US Gymnastics physician who also worked at MSU, for his string of sexual assaults.

Then their coverage blossomed into a much larger ordeal.

The two student journalists, Rachel Fradette and McKenna Ross, went through the timeline of their year and a half covering the scandal. Everything from talking to the students Nassar abused to dealing with a stonewalling administration to eventually coming out for the University President’s resignation – which came a week after their editorial, the same day Nassar was convicted.

An element of dealing with a national controversy also permeated throughout their talk. One of the more striking details they discussed was being asked how they felt about the situation as two women on their campus. Not as journalists, not as students, but as women.

Rachel’s comment to that was reminding them that she had no biases as a journalist.

Their story did not end with Nassar’s conviction however. It continued on when an interim President was hired and they began dealing with a reigning in of the message coming from the overall university to try and recover from their PR nightmare.

In the end, one message in particular stuck with me from the keynote as a whole. It was the very end (fittingly), where Rachel commented on the fact that their 2017 Yearbook featured no reference to Nassar in the slightest despite it being the largest sports scandal story in decades.

The blame was placed on the fact that the Yearbook has closer connections to the school than their independent newspaper. “I’m glad every day that we only answer to the students,” she ended on.


Breaktime

Doesn’t seem like I’ve gone over enough for there to be a break in the action, does it?

Well, once the keynote was over the convention schedule had an hour’s worth of a break for lunch.

Everyone who was at the event from the Daily Titan had come to the keynote speech, which is where I got the picture I used as the featured image from.

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With that hour break, a couple of us decided to go out and get some food together. It was still a little drizzly out, but it was much more fun to put up with that alongside friends.

The Islands in the shopping center nearby had a very long wait, so instead we wound up going to a Chili’s nearby. That visit was, of course, predicated on the fact that we all lost it remembering a meme from some years ago.

Classics.

Anyway yeah, I don’t have a good transition, so here’s the picture we took:

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Shout out to our Opinion Editor Sophia (left), our other News Assistant Breanna (middle) and our Copy Assistant Caitlin (right) for putting up with me being lame for social media engagement.

All we had was fries, but it was super fun to just get to sit around and talk. We even finished with just enough time to get back to the convention so we could deal with our newspaper and website critiques.

Those critiques were an adventure in their own right, but I don’t know that I want to share a lot of it here. It’s mostly personal stuff to work on among our newsroom staff.

I will, however, share that the man critiquing our online presence was wearing a scarlet tuxedo jacket adorned with negative newsy terms like ‘libel,’ and when he read our stuff he always put on a monocle.

So that was a thing that happened.


Translating Print for Social Media Engagement

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After we got through our critiques, everyone else decided to head home. But there were a few more sessions I was interested in attending, so I hung around.

The first one I went to revolved around social media. Admittedly, not the best thing to go to after feeling a little bit off following the online paper critique, but I managed to take some interesting stuff out of it all the same.

Granted I wasn’t able to get a lot because I didn’t feel like Jay Hartwell was a fantastic presenter, at least for how I enjoy to learn, but I did pull some things out of it. For instance, he talked about cropping photos in interesting and novel ways to make sure they catch the interest of people looking on their phone.

I frankly did not agree at all with some of the things he was pushing. Like more ‘clickbait-y’ headlines. I’m of the opinion that we need less of that sort of thing, but I suppose I am also somewhat in the minority of people willing to put up with text longer than 300 words in a shot.

If that wasn’t obvious enough.

I think the best part about this presentation was the fact that he sped through it so the latter half could be spent going through the social media accounts of different groups in attendance to judge how good their presence was.

My favorite part of that was an exchange that wound up happening between the presenter and a newspaper who only used their Instagram account to post memes as a way of drudging up more attention and interest. He was arguing that there were issues of fair use, they were arguing that memes are just memes…

It was kind of an unintentionally fascinating look into the difference between the mindsets of millennial versus the older generations.


Melding Artistic and Journalistic Skill Sets

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I didn’t have to move very far to start my last session of the day, since it was literally in the same room as the social media one.

This session, hosted by Andrea Heiss, admittedly caught me off guard. See, from all of the promotional material in the conference’s schedule, I was under the impression that her talk was going to be about the ways covering music, theatre and movies helped to bolster a reporter’s skills when it comes to covering… Well everything else.

Instead, I got a much more interestingly philosophical conversation.

The talk was not about a case of artistic review skills leading to better general reporting, rather it was about the deeper structural connections between skills it takes to be an artist and skills it takes to be a journalist. In essence, the similarities between reporters relying on language in the same way artists rely on their craft to express themselves.

Relating journalism to theatre, she discussed how news stories should construct a scene and embrace the two-way nature of working with your sources while you draft the piece.

Relating journalism to music, she talked about how music is its own language that creates immense emotion without words to implore that our writing should do the same thing in a duet with the people we talk to.

Relating journalism to film, she recommended we adopt the language of film into our work to establish scenes in more detail without breaking into stereotyping our subjects.

There were more points than that, but those were probably the main things in my recollection. However, I also appreciated the way she pointed out that our work as journalists allows us to help readers take scary new steps into novel realities that are being created every day. She also talked about how we, the newest journalists, do that work by melding a classical focus on logic and order with a more modern focus on romanticism, emotional and local story telling.

I honestly really like the way she described us blending those traditions, so I’ll probably hang onto that.


Once that last session ended, I quickly made my way our and headed back to Redondo, tired and ready to collapse… And start writing this post. A real exciting life I’m living, I know.

While the sessions and critiques I attended weren’t the most uplifting things compared to all the fun I had yesterday, I still appreciated the chance to learn a lot.

Though honestly, I think I appreciated the chance to spend time with my friends on the paper more. Pretty sure I was the only person besides Briggetta at the convention yesterday, so having everyone together today was super cool!

With that said, tomorrow should be even more interesting from that point of view. Not only am I going to be giving my Milo Yiannopoulos presentation at 3:30 p.m., but I should be receiving an award at the ceremony that’s going to be closing out the conference.

Whatever I write for tomorrow should be much more fun and excitable as a result, so stay tuned for that!

My ACP Midwinter 2018 Convention Experiences – Day One

My ACP Midwinter 2018 Convention Experiences – Day One

Today has been one of those days.

See,  the 2018 Associated Collegiate Press National Midwinter Convention started today, and as anyone who follows me on social media knows I’ve been trying to more actively post about it than I usually would.

But my day started well before the Convention did, so let me just run that down real fast before I get into the meat of this.

On top of the many things I’ve been juggling lately, one of the most attention grabbing activities has been putting together some College of Communications scholarship applications.

The applications have been sort of a long, involved process that I won’t bother going too deep into. It basically boils down to having some questions to answer, printing out my school records for all four of the scholarships I applied for (talk about a waste of paper there), selecting a couple of my articles for the Daily Titan and getting a letter of recommendation from Bonnie, our advisor.

Today was actually the deadline for applications, and that fact caused me undue amounts of stress when my late night media history class left me unable to drop the materials off yesterday because the office was closed.

For context, what that means is that this morning I had to drive ~45 minutes to Fullerton from Redondo Beach to make sure I could turn everything in before coming to the Conference this afternoon. Long Beach is actually closer to Redondo than Fullerton, so I basically drove a large crescent around Southern California.

 

Fun stuff.

But that’s all ancient history at this point. I made it where I needed to go on time in all accounts! I just felt like throwing that all out here because everything was a real headache while I went through it.

So with my complaining out of the way, let’s talk about this Journalism Convention.



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I went to New York a couple of years ago to represent the Daily Titan, and though I did not get the opportunity to go again this year I have had the pleasure of a much shorter trip over to Long Beach for the ACP Convention.

I don’t get over to Long Beach too often, but it is a lovely town. I kind of wish I had a little more time to just wander the city proper, but the sessions I attended kept me rather busy.

Registration came first, and I got all the cool swag that comes along with that:

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Nothing like another Convention name tag to add to my collection.

Once I was registered, then I got to go through the sessions I picked out.


Google News Tools

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My first stop of the night was the longest, as it was a 3 hour hands-on introduction to various reporting tools that can be accessed through Google via their News Lab.

To be completely honest about it, I believe I’ve actually seen the talk before. There was something very similar not too long ago at CSUF at least, so I didn’t necessarily learn a lot that I wasn’t already aware of.

But that’s not to say I didn’t learn anything at all.

The presenter, Amara Aguilar from the University of Southern California and the Society of Professional Journalists (and apparently a CSUF alum who still works with the university), introduced a number of tools.

These tools included:

The last one was particularly cool because she also brought along some Google Cardboard VR headsets to try out while pitching the Cardboard Camera App software. Honestly, it’s something I can see myself potentially using.

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The only serious downside to this whole presentation was… Well…

The internet was really bad.

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As I’m sure you can imagine, it’s hard to give a hands-on presentation of online reporting tools when everyone at the session cannot get online to use them.

Luckily, all things ended on a high note when I won the small raffle at the end and got a Starbucks gift card.


The Opening Keynote: Covering San Bernardino

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The opening keynote of this convention was particularly interesting to me.

Back when I first started working for the Daily Titan, my very first front page dominant article tied into the shooting in San Bernardino in late 2015. I wrote about how police on campus were stepping up their training following the shooting, and it got linked to the more important revelation that a former CSUF student was one of the shooters.

I still have a copy of that story hanging up on the wall in my room.

So, when I found out that the keynote’s panel was going to be four LA Times reporters who covered the shooting and received a Pulitzer Prize for their work, I was very interested.

I wasn’t the only one.

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I was also joined by our current Opinion editor Briggetta at this part of the afternoon, which was nice because she was the only other Fullerton representative I saw all day.

Also because she’s cool. Go follow her stuff.

But putting that aside, I think the only unfortunate thing about this keynote in its execution was the fact that… To put it bluntly, I didn’t get anything especially novel out of the panel.

Now don’t take that the wrong way, they were a fascinating panel to listen to, and I genuinely enjoyed everything they had to say. Apparently, they updated their day one story 22 separate times and were pointed to by the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department as the main source of news on the subject.

There was also some good general advice, like keeping food, phone chargers, clothing and road maps in one’s car in case they ever have to go out and cover something. Or keeping things like masks and tools to charge tech through one’s car in case of a natural disaster.

But part of what they wound up emphasizing was the fact that shootings like San Bernardino aren’t exactly a rare thing anymore. As a result of that, advice when it comes to covering horrible tragedies unfortunately isn’t all that hard to come by.

One thing that Sarah Parvini said in particular that stood out on the subject was this: “I hate the fact that this has to be done, but I love getting to be the one that does it.”


South American Newspaper Design

My 4:30 p.m. session with Cal State Long Beach professor Danny Paskins was a nice change of pace after the downer that was the San Bernardino panel.

As a Rio de Janeiro native, Dr. Paskins brought his bias (with open admission) to showing us the fact that newspapers in South America are way more creative and fun with their front page designs than North American papers like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal that focus on fitting as much text as possible up front.

To do so, he showed us examples of papers from Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Peru and more with various other countries in the region that had qualities he valued.

These are just a few examples of the pieces he showed us that I was able to screen shot.

His pointers boiled down to this. In South America, newspapers use more:

  • Cut-out pictures
  • Colors
  • Overlapping images
  • Sports coverage

All in typically fun, creative ways.

He pointed out specifically that “if nobody has tried something before, don’t let that be what stops you” because if something doesn’t go over well, there’s always a paper the next day to wipe the slate clean.

The pointers he gave were so nice and interesting actually that I’m planning on bringing a bunch of the specifics back to our Layout and Photo editors as possible things we can try out on the Titan.

I had a nice conversation with the professor after his talk where I expressed exactly that, and he was very happy to hear it. We exchanged business cards and I’m planning on hitting him up if we actually wind up doing some of those things.


Writing Tips from an LA Times Editor

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So this session actually didn’t go quite as planned.

It was supposed to be a talk on “Covering the New Activism” by a representative from the Iowa State Daily. But apparently he couldn’t make it out.

Instead, Assistant National Editor Steve Padilla of the LA Times came out and gave us writing tips.

Not to sound inherently rude about it… But I think that turn of events was for the best. The talk we got felt way more fun and interesting than anything we would have gotten otherwise.

He took 30 years of experience at the LA Times and distilled it down into three major writing tips:

  • Read all of your work out loud
    • He even recommended composing stories out loud, that way they sound better.
  • End your sentences with a bang
    • With only a few exceptions, he recommended putting the best details at the end of a sentence. However, the ‘best details’ can vary depending on the context. Ending a sentence with a time detail, a place detail or a strange detail can each have different effects on the overall tone.
  • Always pay attention to verbs
    • A large part of his writing technique philosophy is focused on making impactful verbs showcase a sentence. Overall one of the most useful tips in the bunch, and he spent a lot of time on it.

Steve also emphasized another philosophy he follows rather closely: “If you know what you want to say, you’ll figure out how to say it.”

In other words, let your meaning create your words, not the other way around.

After that portion of the talk he went on to give us a bunch of tips about how to write better anecdotal ledes, how to use quotes more efficiently and how to end stories well.

Then, to end things off, he gave us three challenges:

  1. End a feature story not with a quote, but with your own words.
  2. Get a writing buddy to share stories and teach one another interesting stuff.
  3. Become a careful reader who can discern WHY something is good or bad, not just that it is good or bad.

This was the one talk I attended where everyone who came stayed afterwards just to talk to the presenter. He was just that fun and charismatic the entire time.

Seriously, I just loved this guy. He was awesome to listen to and I got some one-on-one time with him to just chat afterwards. Totally the kind of networking these conventions are meant for.


The Afterparty

As soon as Steve’s talk was over (and it was over about a half hour to an hour later than scheduled because everyone was talking with him), we all emerged to find food waiting.

Though there wasn’t a lot, what was available was much more delicious than it had any right to be for a small college journalism convention reception. Pasta with chicken and spinach, mac and cheese with caramelized onion strands and coconut-fried shrimp.

Plus, there was a truly terrific surprise:

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I got to it kind of late, but Homer Simpson would be proud of this donut wall.

Even if I’m awkwardly over on the side taking a picture of it. Hi there Jason.

Fun fact, as a side note, I ran into Steve again at the dessert table and we wound up chatting even more. I just couldn’t get away from the guy, because later it turned out he was parked right behind me in the garage. Not that I’m complaining or anything, I just thought it was funny.

During this reception period, I also took the opportunity to take a look at all of the other school papers laid out.

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It’s a bit of a tradition at the Daily Titan for us to collect up other school papers so we can look over what they do right and what they do wrong. In our opinions of course.

Once I gathered everything up, however, it was time to head home.

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I ended the night where I began. But more than anything else, the experiences of the day just made me more excited for the next two.

Tomorrow, at 2:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., we’ll be receiving critiques for our newspaper and website designs.

Then on Saturday I’ll be on a panel alongside a couple of other Daily Titan staffers to talk about our Milo Yiannopoulos coverage last semester.

I’ll probably put out a late night update for my next two days of journalism-ing as well, so look forward to that!

Ephraim: Our Sacred Legendary Hero

Ephraim: Our Sacred Legendary Hero

Man, Intelligent Systems has been relentless with their updates for Fire Emblem Heroes lately.

Not that I can necessarily complain about new content coming so frequently, but a lot of it has been serious enough for me to bring onto the blog. Which is something I told myself I would be doing less of to preserve a little more of my precious sleep.

Plus, I suppose having to focus so much on Heroes did make me miss the full February reward window for ranked duels in Duel Links… But it could be argued that school contributed to that too, so I won’t blame anything too heavily for that.

It doesn’t seem like things are going to slow down anytime soon in this mobile masterpiece, as we’ve been made aware of a big gameplay update coming in early March. An update which will finally include a legendary weapon upgrade for Eirika, my current main-stay Summoner bonded unit.

Speaking of Eirika, she makes a perfect segue into our topic of the day:


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A new Legendary Hero has arrived, this time steeped in the almighty power of the Lords of Cinder.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t played a lot with the elemental blessings system that was introduced alongside Fjorm and Book II, but with a new game mode coming soon and missions focused around the mechanic happening now I’ll have to do some more dabbling.

Luckily, our newest legendary hero is Eirika’s brother Ephraim. And I love him. And I want to use him. So I’m going to talk about him.

  • EphraimLegendary Lord
    • This legendary hero comes with an alteration of his main weapon called the Flame Siegmund. It offers Ephraim a +3 attack boost and ensures that he gets guaranteed follow-up attacks if there are more enemies within range than allies. He also has Sol as a special attack, which allows him to absorb 50 percent of the damage he does. That Sol attack stacks with his special Solar Brace skill that allows him to absorb an extra 30 percent. His Sturdy Stance grants him a +4 attack and defense boost if attacked, and he fortifies his adjacent allies with +4 defense at the beginning of each turn.

Let me level with you for a minute, Ephraim’s skills are a mixed bag. His weapon, the healing potential and the extra stat points he gains when attacked sound awesome. Especially considering the Solar Brace can be used with any other special attack. You could give him an attack that Buffs his attack to sky-high levels, and he’ll heal off a bunch of that damage.

However, he is missing a good C skill and movement skill. Also, I feel like his weapon’s special attributes are screaming for a Distant Counter to hit enemies from up close and afar with guaranteed follow-up strikes.

At the same time he does make up for that with the mobility and lore tie-in of his cavalier status, as well as the HP/DEF boost he can give to an ally who has been blessed.

Thinking I might give Eirika a fire blessing once we can upgrade her weapon. That way the siblings can sweep aside all enemies in their path together.

Just like every other Legendary Hero banner, Ephraim’s comes alongside a number of additional five star special heroes to summon with an eight percent chance.

These heroes are:

I have a bit of a hero summoning adventure to go over, but before I do I think I’ll take the time to discuss the other part of today’s small update.


For a time, there was a special anniversary event where players all across the world could vote for one hero that everyone would receive for free.

To make that long story short, the hero chosen by the Fire Emblem fanbase wound up being a fairly obvious choice:

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That’s right, if Super Smash Bros. has taught me anything, we all like Ike. If that wasn’t obvious enough by the fact that three versions of Ike have been introduced into the game, it should be more than obvious now that everyone asked for a free Legendary Ike.

You won’t find me complaining since the last Legendary summoning banner kind of screwed me out of getting him.

As an added bonus, our free hero came with a special unlock mission that breaks the mold of what we’ve seen in the past.

That much is clear as soon as players boot up the game and see a message brought up right away, something that has never happened before.

Alfonse’s invitation brings players straight to an option to play out the brand new Xenologue mission:

All things being equal this is a small quality of life change, but I really enjoyed the convenience of it. Whether the developers use this kind of an introduction for every new banner and mission set or save it for special occasions, I’d look forward to seeing it more from here on out.

The actual mission itself isn’t anything particularly special however, outside of the rewards it offers.

The fact that the hard and lunatic difficulties together give players six orbs on top of the Ike and his accompanying blessing is a nice touch Intelligent Systems, I can appreciate that.

Battling to earn your Ike isn’t too much of a hassle. A couple of brave heroes from seasons past stand in your way, ready to protect the wishes of the people… Or whatever.

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Everything about this Brave Hero business kind of makes more sense from a meta gameplay perspective than it does from a lore perspective, let’s be honest.

There’s only one map, so when you beat these four up, that’s it. You get your prize.

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Damn right you’ll help me out, Ike. I hear you’re pretty good against evil Takumi, so I’m sure you’ll pull your weight around here.


After I finished the Ike portion of the parade, I was ready to get my summoning on. As soon as I’d heard Legendary Ephraim was coming soon I stopped trying to summon evil Celica (sorry sweetie) and saved up a little more than I had been.

I wound up with 165 orbs.

Not too shabby considering how many times in recent months I’ve lamented the lack of orbs in my coffers.

But then the game took an unexpected turn. I actually didn’t have to use ANY orbs to get a 5 star hero. I pulled one on my first free summon!

Unfortunately…

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Somehow I wound up summoning the exact same hero we had just gotten for free. Yeah… That’s awesome. Thanks game.

Luckily he has some good skills or could make my first Ike that much more powerful, so I’m sure he’ll find somewhere useful to be.

Ike’s double trouble wasn’t enough to stop me, however. I had a goal you see. A certain Ephraim in my sight, considering I don’t even have his original form from so long ago.

So I started to blow through some orbs, telling myself not to go TOO crazy. After all, these legendary banners have not been the kindest things to me in the past.

Then this happened:

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I was unbelievably happy to get my hands on a Performing Arts Olivia. Back when that banner was going on I wanted her so bad because of her cool look and colorless dancing niche.

Only got axe-weilding Azura (or Axura as I’ve heard) and an Inigo at the time, which was pretty disappointing.

But now I have the girl I always wanted, and my collection of dancers grows ever larger by the day.

For some real life context, this was about the point where I had decided to stop at first. I was sitting in the newsroom, got a little too excited over a cute anime girl and decided to tone things down before I got caught like the weirdo I am.

Then my friend Jonathan started to get three or four really cool heroes in a row, and I figured I would give it another shot considering I still had a ton of orbs left over.

Turns out that was the right decision in the long run:

Here hE IS FOLKS.

MY BOY EPHRAIM!!

I just… Look. I’ve discussed my love of Sacred Stones in the past. It’s a real, honest love for my first game in the series. So I’m predisposed to like this guy.

The fact that he’s so humble and has both an appearance and dialogue that relates back to the lore of the original game only makes that love explode more so. He’s a really well done Legendary Hero, even if the one I summoned has a lowered speed stat.

Ephraim was also one of the top winners in the Choose Your Legends round 2 event, so yet another special version of him should be coming soon too. I look forward to once again throwing my orbs at that.

For now, I retained about 105 after my orb binge and don’t expect to spend too many more anytime soon. Maybe if I build it up enough I’ll try for evil Celica again, but we’ll have to see.



Editor’s Note:

So personal confession time. I don’t exactly feel great about this post right now. It’s not necessarily the content itself, since the content is just about what it usually is: Long winded and hopefully informative.

What I don’t like is the fact that this is coming out a day AFTER the update itself. For anyone looking back at this in some far-flung future time, just getting a look at the larger transformations of this mobile game over time, that probably doesn’t matter.

But for some reason, the fact that I decided to sleep instead of write this the night it appeared — only to have no time to write the entire following day thanks to heavy schoolwork — really got to me.

I’ve had a bit of an existential period of thoughtfulness trying to figure out exactly why there’s a pit in my stomach over this dumb thing out of EVERYTHING going on in my life right now.

This is my blog after all, so it’s not like I’m going to be fired for missing a post. I set my own deadlines on this stuff.

Plus… To be blunt about it, I’m probably the only one who enjoys these. I’m not sure anybody reads them (except for the occasional retweet from Takumi himself on Twitter. Shout out to him). I’m not sure anybody enjoys them.

But I enjoy them.

I really like doing these posts since it’s all about me just talking and speculating about something I care about, as well as watching a game transform over time. I don’t often get in on the ground floor of an experience with constantly changing dynamics, after all.

Maybe something about my strangely unqualified love of these posts and my hard-wired need to hit fast deadlines have contributed to making me feel strangely awful about choosing sleep over lack of sleep with productivity. Maybe I should just take that as a sign that this is something I’m genuinely passionate about, and I shouldn’t necessarily cut down on talking about it like I have been.

I still don’t really know how to take it all things being equal, it’s a strange core feeling I’ve never quite experienced that I’m trying to work through.

If you made it through this winded, self-centered diatribe, go ahead and let me know if you’ve experienced anything similar to this in your own life and career. I’m highly curious to know if anybody has for something of this caliber and has a way to reconcile  with it.

Though for something less heavy I suppose, let me know what you think of Legendary Ephraim! Or, how you feel about the free hero pay-off. I’d love to know your thoughts on those events too.

That’s all I’ve got for now, so I’ll see you all next time a big update rolls around.

Or sooner, if you’re interested in the journalism side of my life. There’s a conference I’m attending this weekend where I may or may not be speaking on a panel, so stay tuned for that!