Tag: Cal State Fullerton

Am I Uncomfortable with Silence?

Am I Uncomfortable with Silence?

So this post comes in response to what I wrote the other day about the dichotomy of transcription, why it’s a terrible thing to do but also why it’s the best thing one can do when practicing journalism.

I know there was a gap where I talked about videa gaymes because of timely E3 business, but these extended thoughts kept nagging at me.

So consider this a part two of the discussion of transcription, and check out part one here if you haven’t already.

There was another ‘con’ to the act of transcribing that I considered going into while sitting in Starbucks with mom, working on the first post. But I decided not to include it because the more I thought about it, the more the problem felt like one example of a larger, personal idiosyncrasy of mine.

The idea of being subjected to total silence as something potentially uncomfortable to endure.

Now, to preface this discussion with myself, I’d like to say that I don’t actually feel like I’m the only person on the planet who might just be uncomfortable with silence. If anything, I think it’s an inherent part of being as social a creature as humans are.

There are likely hundreds of scientific studies out there on the matter, covering things like our tendencies to fill dead air in a conversation by changing topics or inserting speech fillers like “um” or “ah.”

But I’m going to be looking at the subject from an entirely personal perspective. None of those silly “empirical tests” and whatnot to murk up my subjective torrent of words.

I’ve always been a rather introverted person growing up. Ironic for someone going into a field where they need to constantly talk to people, I know.

My passions have always leaned toward personal activities like reading, writing and video games rather than group activities like partying and sports. I had my groups to do things like play video games with of course, but you get the idea.

Because of that I’ve generally considered myself the kind of person who enjoys, if not thrives in more silent environments. Sitting sheltered off in my room to do work, for example, which has in the past led to my parents deeming it “the cave.”

Yet the more I reflect on my past, the more I’ve come to realize that perhaps it’s more the isolation in which I thrive, rather than the quiet. I say that because more often than not I’ve always tried to fill the silence with other noises even when I’m not with other people.

Video games themselves are the perfect embodiment of this. I’ve been playing them my whole life, and the songs and sound bites from a number of titles are just as iconic to me as some images, just as likely to help recall certain events or moments from my life.

As a quick example, I’ll never be able to disassociate the opening theme to Pokémon White 2 from the specific Target (right across the street from the South Bay Galleria) where I started to play the game for the first time after having put it down unfinished when it first came out.

The idea of making sound ever-present in my life goes much deeper than that, however.

As much as I love driving as an activity, I find my commutes to-and-from Cal State Fullerton nearly unbearable when I can’t listen to a podcast or a video as I go.

When I’m falling asleep, I can never just lay back and go to sleep. I have to do what I consider pre-dreaming, where I start to imagine some sort of scene in my head – a scene that includes some sort of dialogue or musical score – in order to really lull myself into unconsciousness.

While reading tends to be one of the exceptions to this rule, as sometimes ill sit silently just imagining the pages play out in my head, sometimes particularly boring novels for class can get so unbearable that I need something else running in the background to help me get through it.

More often than not I have my computer somewhere in the bathroom as I shower, that way I can continue to listen to whatever video series I have running while standing under the relaxing spray for arguably way too long.

img_0006
The laundry basket makes for a convenient pedestal.

The list, as I’m sure you can assume, goes on-and-on.

Having gotten far off-track with that background information, let me tie everything back to why I believe feeling uncomfortable with silence is one of the reasons transcribing audio is such a terrible thing for me. As counter-intuitive as that must sound.

Sound. Audio puns. You know the drill.

When I imagine audio that fills all of the dead space in a moment, it’ll often be the sort of things I’ve discussed already. Podcasts. YouTube videos. Music.

Hell, more often than not my family has the TV on, but it’ll be on a mindless channel like the Food Network just to create background noise while we do other things.

However, I don’t consider work audio, something I’m transcribing, to be in the same category of unencumbered noise to distract from the uncomfortable void.

Part of that could be distilled down to the psychological difference between doing something for pleasure versus doing something for work, I suppose. But I think it goes deeper than that.

When transcribing an interview, you aren’t simply jamming out or getting engaged with an adventure someone else is describing. Unless of course your interviewee is describing an adventure… But again, semantics.

Rather than having the chance to just mindlessly enjoy something and absorb what’s happening, transcription is a much more heavy-duty job. You’re listening to someone talk in the same way, but instead of just absorbing it passively you’re very actively listening to that audio, translating it and jotting it down before going back to make sure what you’ve jot down is accurate.

You become more like a wall or a mirror than a sponge, bouncing that information off to a different place rather than just taking it in. The activity is much more taxing, and it becomes easier to lose your interest.

But on top of that, the requirement to constantly repeat things for accuracy leads to a whole host of other internal issues inherent to the process. While transcribing is a “listening” activity, large portions are spent in total silence. Silence is needed to finish copying down the sentence you just heard before the subject moves into their next thought. Silence is needed as you go back in time to listen to something again, and one can’t even have any other sorts of sounds going on the side because the copying needs to be as accurate as possible.

Then let’s not forget the fact that when one is transcribing audio, they can’t necessarily think about anything else other than that audio, either.

While a mind can wander while going to sleep and fill empty space with memorized sounds, transcribing requires a person to repeat what they’ve heard over-and-over again in their head to make sure they don’t forget what they’re writing so they have to go back and hear it again.

That reminder of the sentence is noise to break up the silence, yes, but again it plays back to the mundane, repetitive nature of transcribing that makes it somewhat unbearable as an activity.

Imagine constant switching between total silence and hearing the same sentences on repeat for a few hours. That’s what transcription is at its core.

Whether or not everyone else in the world feels the same way about silence and how it effects things like transcribing is hard to judge since I’m just going off of my own thoughts.

But if nothing else, simply reflecting on those thoughts and trying to imagine why certain things make me feel the way they do, even if I don’t come to any sort of substantial conclusion, is something else that’s inherently characteristic of being human.

The ability to reflect on one’s own situations, and even reflect on the ability to reflect in the first place. That’s the kind of meta that I find fascinating.

Especially when it comes off of an essentially pointless “deep thought” that winds up boiling down to me complaining about my job, if you think about it hard enough.

Advertisements

May 3, 2018 Article Published

My piece out in the Daily Titan today is actually pretty serious, so I’m going to skip over the tomfoolery and get straight into talking about what has been happening.

As we approach the end of the Spring 2018 semester, a bunch of the reporters in Comm 471 have been working on a large-scale project about local and on-campus restaurants. It’s essentially a means of getting enterprise points for multiple members of the class, but it has also given us the opportunity to do some heavier reporting.

Given the fact that I’m the most experienced person in that class, our advisor has also made me essentially the project lead on this endeavor. So even though only one part of everything here technically has my byline, I’m going to talk about all of it.

The project has been split into two days, with everything in today’s paper focused specifically on restaurants surrounding CSUF, their health code violations and why those violations are in place to protect the safety of consumers. The on-campus stuff is coming sometime next week.

Three stories were published with the first part of the series:

First and foremost was the ‘headlining’ story, the one I wrote alongside Jennifer Garcia about restaurant violations.

Where do I even begin with this one.

I actually wasn’t even supposed to be credited on it at first. That’s probably as good a place to start the story as any. Originally, my job on the series was to be a de facto project lead next to Bonnie and create an interactive map based on the inspection reports of local restaurants surrounding CSUF.

The restaurant map wound up being pretty easy and fun to do all things considered, and I actually did most of it in one day when I was home sick a few weeks ago.

If you want to see where the 55 restaurants I looked at stand based on their inspection results out of the Orange County Health Care Agency, you’re in luck:

I enjoy how the map overall turned out, even if it has given me many reasons not to ever walk into a couple of places ever again. Plus I’m not very snobby when it comes to telling other people where not to go…

But that’s another story.

While my piece here was finished early on, the other stories meant to go around it had some growing pains. Bonnie changed what the focus of the pieces were going to be and asked me to jump on this story so I could help the writer, Jennifer, incorporate information from my research that was needed to flesh out why certain restaurants were bad.

Eventually that took the form of a story in which we more deeply analyzed the five restaurants that all needed two reinspections following their initial inspections.

From there everything has a pretty straight forward through-line. Talked to the managers of a bunch of restaurants to give them the chance to talk about what we were writing, got in touch with the OC Health Care Agency to find out more about the inspection project, threw it all together and here we are.

Granted production night last night was a bit of a nightmare with me having to be off at class for part of it, only for people to think there were things wrong that weren’t actually wrong despite the fact that I wound up having to adjust the map anyway as we decided to add more into it at the last minute…

But it all worked out in the end, and I’m definitely not sick and tired of staring at any of this stuff.

I promise.

Second on the docket was a piece about food poisoning.

Written with the cooperative effort of four writers who each contributed various things,

I didn’t actually help to write this story or the next one, so i don’t exactly have as much to say about either as I did for my own piece, but in this case I can at least comment on the photo illustration that was included.

For anyone curious as to how the “Illnesses associated with raw or undercooked foods” illustration came about, it all started with our advisor actually bringing in a bunch of food to the newsroom. Along with our very artsy photo editor Gabe, we arranged the food on a picnic table cloth in the multimedia room.

There were also some goofier items like fake fish we considered throwing into it, but for this kind of serious project we decided against it.

Not all of the food on the image was actually there, however. I’m not sure how noticeable it is, but the raw chicken, sushi, eggs and milk were all added in after the fact. All-and-all I’d say it was done rather well.

Fun fact, originally when we had planned on running this series of stories during Comm Week, the food poisoning story was the only one that was finished enough to be ready to go.

I’m not sure who that fact would be fun for, but hey. In case someone out there was curious about the chronology of all this, there you go.

Finally, we also ran a story about vermin and why they’re a problem. Even if that subject seems fairly obvious from the outside.

Though to be fair I suppose you can say that about all of these stories, so I digress.

Again I don’t have all that much to add about this piece since I arguably had the least amount of involvement with it. We had originally planned on holding the vermin story for day two of the package, but quite literally the night before it was decided we were going to include it.

I gave the writers a list of restaurants that had violations cited for cockroaches based on the extensive research I had done, but otherwise the story was completely independent.

Kristine and Jacob did a nice job with it, so I’ve got to give them some credit alongside everyone else who has been working so hard with everything involved in this series.

I’m going to include each part of the food/restaurant series over in my archive on the right, as I figure at the very least I can argue I was an overseer of sorts on the project, but every story credit undoubtedly goes to the individual writers.

They’re all way up toward the top of the news search when you look up the Daily Titan on Google, which is always a nice feeling.

Screen Shot 2018-05-03 at 1.08.27 PM

Stay tuned for more coming up, and let me know if you have second thoughts about some of these restaurants based on the work we’ve done. God knows I do.

Awards Weekend part two

Awards Weekend part two

I’m not looking to necessarily toot my own horn or anything, but my resume did get a good bit beefier these last couple of days.

Today was the 2018 Society of Professional Journalists’ Region 11 Conference. Technically it started yesterday but that was pretty much just for regional directors, so I’m considering this the starting point.

Members of the Daily Titan staff were nominated for a number of awards by our advisor, and those of us who were finalists (alongside general members of SPJ) got to come up to sunny Universal City and spend the afternoon at the Hilton near Universal Studios.

img_8109

It really does feel like I was just up here… But that’s beside the point.

Personally, I was nominated in the Breaking News category alongside Amy, Brandon and Breanna for our Halloween coverage of Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit to CSUF.

img_8108
Not pictured above: Brandon. He somehow managed to miss our group picture at the Comm Awards too.

Even though we didn’t win, just being finalists in this kind of competition is a great honor given that we made it far enough to get to the luncheon (which, sorry CSUF, was much tastier than the Comm Awards. Though points off for lack of Del Taco).

img_8104

The keynote speaker at the luncheon was Stephen Galloway, the executive featured editor at The Hollywood Reporter who frankly did inspire me a bit to go finally finish this profile I’ve been sitting on for a long time.

However, what he didn’t help with was meal etiquette:

img_8101

Seriously I wasn’t expecting this thing to be quite as fancy as it turned out to be and many of us were lost trying to figure out which silverware to use when.

My formal training has failed me in that regard, apparently.

But hey, who needs a formal training in old time-y meal etiquette when you can get jelly beans?

img_8105

That’s right, we got jelly beans in a cool silver tin that I promise I haven’t been sponsored by.

I just really dig it, okay?

Anyway though, if you feel at all bad for us not winning in our category, there’s no need to fret for two reasons.

For one… Well, nobody from the Titan won in our categories. Just being nominated was cool yes, but in the face of defeat at least we could all be losers together.

Secondly, there was a bit of a skewed power dynamic to the whole event. Just about every award went to USC, UCLA or the Walter Cronkite school.

They’re pretty much the heavy hitters you would expect to win everything, so the fact that we got nominated as much as we did next to them is a great achievement in its own right.

However, even beyond that, the truly nice thing about this event wasn’t the awards, naturally. It was getting to spend time with friends at a fancy event.

Especially considering many of the people who came are graduating in the next few weeks, that made this an especially bittersweet time.

img_8102
Here I am with Kaleb, one of the coolest dudes in the room and my best wingman.
img_8110
The best selfie with me, former Editor in Chief Zack (his badge said so) and my old news editing partner Megan.

Not pictured above: Pretty much everyone else that was there in the big group shot.

I really do work with the best team in the world, and I’m not sure how we’re going to carry on with so many heavy losses next semester.

Okay I mean I do know how we’re going to carry on. Because that’s just how life works.

But you all understand my sentiment.

Though now, with this quick life update out-of-the-way, I’m off to go work on some end-of-semester stories and projects I still have to get done.

Luckily I’ve got a nice venue to do it in today.


Oh and P.S. – For those of you wondering about the featured image, it’s a picture of the ceiling in the ballroom where the awards luncheon was. I thought it was artsy and cool so… Yeah.

April 23, 2018 Article Published

Apologies in advance if I happen to sound as tired and scatterbrained in this post as I feel in real life. Or in tomorrow’s post for that matter, which I’m probably going to start working on after I finish writing this.

Spoiler alert: It’s Fire Emblem again. Intelligent Systems is on a roll right now.

But that’s obviously a story for another day. Today there are Daily Titan things to discuss.

There’s a little bit of back story behind the article I have out in print right now, but frankly it’s a little too in-the-weeds to get deeply into so I’ll try to make it quick.

There was some confusion last Thursday where people had assumed I would be going to an Academic Senate meeting when in reality I was going to a hematologist appointment that morning and was unaware the Senate was believed to be on my shoulders.

Insert obligatory Star Wars prequel meme here.

As a result of that confusion, I decided to make sure our page didn’t fall apart on the first day of Comm Week by gathering this piece together post-meeting.



Editor’s Note:

Comm Week, for those of you who are uninitiated, is the one week a year that the College of Communications at Cal State Fullerton invites a heaping helping of guest speakers to come talk about why the field of study is awesome as a way to encourage people to join in and appreciate it.

Basically lots of people with connections come to campus and it would be embarrassing if we had lousy papers to show to them.



While the minutes for each Academic Senate meeting aren’t put out until at least two weeks after a given meeting (as they’re approved at the following meeting), we did have access to the agenda ahead of time.

Based on a cursory look through that agenda, I reached out to the Academic Senate chair and the chairs of the University Writing Proficiency and General Education Committees as those were the groups that appeared to be the most involved in this meeting. Considering it was a Saturday when I began my hunt, I wasn’t expecting much response, so I also planned out a possible crime log-based story as back-up.

Luckily I didn’t need that back-up (as I later found out the University Police Captain Scot Willey was AFK all weekend) because the Writing Proficiency chair got in touch with me.

As chance would have it, she also happened to be the person who led a big presentation on general education requirements following adjustments to Chancellor Timothy P. White’s Executive Order 1100. That, naturally, wound up being the focus of my piece.

So if you’re interested in learning a little bit more about the CSUF Academic Senate’s General Education Task Force, their 34-page preliminary report on the effects of the executive order and all sorts of other background research I’m sure you’re all just DYING to hear about…

Check out my story here. Frankly I’m proud of how this one turned out considering the circumstances surrounding it. Plus I was able to do a cool thing by attaching the full report to the article online as we had somewhat advanced access to it.

You can also see my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!

If all works out, I might just have more to share later this week as Comm 471 attempts to roll out some big stories for Comm Week.


P.S. For those curious, the hematologist was good and we extended my between check-up visits window to six months rather than three like we were on. Can’t complain about that.

 

April 10, 2018 Article Published

Boy it has been a while since I’ve gotten anything up here, hasn’t it?

I could wax on for a while about how I’ve been really busy with school and haven’t had the time to blog anything… But I’ll probably be complaining about how busy I was yesterday when working on this story so I don’t want to bog things down too much.

That said.

Yesterday I was super busy.

Monday’s have been a massive time suck for me this semester thanks to having classes blocked from 11:00 a.m. (requiring my morning to begin at 9:00 a.m. at least due to my commute) to 5:00 p.m., but yesterday added an extra commitment.

After that last class of the day I also had to cover a story from 5:30 p.m. to about 8:30 p.m. A story that was due on deadline that night, which left me also hanging out at the newsroom until 11:30 p.m. or so.

Hence why I slept in so late today and haven’t gotten to this blog post until now.

The late night event I covered started as a little bit of connective serendipity. Paolena, one of our writers on the paper from last semester and a friend I was in a few classes with before that, hit me up because an old source she had talk to pitched a story.

That student was Sara Salinas, the president of Cal State Fullerton’s Generation United Nations group. GenUN was hosting a resource fair with local school clubs and nonprofit organizations to bring attention to work on the homeless situation in Orange County in light of recent events at the Santa Ana riverbed.

The story of putting this article together was actually an interesting one. 99 percent of what I perceived the piece was going to be was written over the weekend using pre-reporting information. I didn’t want to be stuck too deep in the trap of boring, basic event coverage, so I tried to build up some background regarding the OC homeless situation.

Of course having that basic story drawn up was beneficial, but it discounted the fact that I got way more good stuff at the event itself than I had expected to.

One of the more disappointing things about how the piece turned out was that I think it got cut a little too trim in the editing process. I had a bunch of really nice conversations that didn’t wind up making it in the final version: With CSUF students interning at HIS House, with a representative of City Net, with a formerly homeless student and with the secretary of GenUN who brought everyone together.

I tried to remedy some of that with additional photos and embedded tweets in the online version of the story, and by passing some names along for potential future articles, but I still think this article could have been more substantial.

Despite that, I really like how it turned out given the wider focus of the issue adding onto the event coverage, so I’ll leave it at that and hope I at least did everything justice.

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

March 21 and 22, 2018 Articles Published

Yes this is a silly sounding title, but I to distracted and missed a day so I have to catch up now.

Somehow I wound up publishing three articles this week. A breadth of articles for many different sections. It has admittedly been exhausting… But also fulfilling in a deeply personal kind of way.

But also ALSO good for the fact that it fills the coffers of points I need to pass Comm 471. So that’s a plus.

The first story I was working on is actually the second one that was published. Hopefully that won’t get too confusing as I try to lay things out in the order that it all happened.

My last 471 desk rotation was with opinion. Though I haven’t had the most time to work for that desk specifically, I did quite enjoy writing my surfing piece not too long ago.

Because of that I wanted to write another piece before getting switched over to the lifestyle desk. Unfortunately, it took me a while to come up with anything I actually had a serious opinion on that was worth writing… But eventually I came to the idea.

During the national walk-out high schools across the nation participated in to protest current gun control laws, something that happened which I found particularly interesting was multiple Viacom networks halting their programming during the time of the walk-out in support of the students.

One of those networks was famed Spongebob cash cow Nickelodeon. Now I love Nick. Or at least I have in the past, to be fair I haven’t exactly watched anything there in a while.

But I do love the fact that the children-centric network decided to support children in their political escapades.

Now, that’s not necessarily taking a stance for or against gun control. I do have my opinions on that, but to be frank I don’t feel like I’m knowledgable enough to be able to present a case one way or the other. I just happen to think that we should encourage everyone to be as active in our democracy as possible so it can continue to thrive.

If that encouragement happens to come from a television network, so be it. They certainly seemed to do everything amicably enough.

While I have been working on that opinion piece for some time, part of the reason it did not come out until today was because I got sidetracked doing a different story.

On Tuesday, I sat down with Vincent Vigil, the Director of Student Life and Leadership at CSUF. When I covered Lydia Ayala’s resignation as sports clubs coordinator a few weeks back he was out-of-town, so I wasn’t able to sit down with him about it then.

So I sat down with him this week to talk about it. And the information I got actually stood out enough that I jumped into high gear to get out a story that night.

That’s right, once again my sports clubs rabbit hole left me doing a rushed deadline night story. Gotta love the high pressure side of the job, am I right?

Following leads I got from my chat with Vigil in that he was overseeing the clubs and beginning the process to seek out her replacement, I started to reach out all over the school. Both over the phone AND on foot. I wandered around back and forth quite a bit that day.

Eventually I was able to get my hands on the Assistant Director of Student Life and Leadership, the financial chair of the Sports Clubs Inter-Club Council and the Director of C-real — an organization which handles things like external reviews that has a name I don’t really feel like writing out in full here. It’s in the story, don’t worry.

Oh, and did I mention, in the middle of doing these interviews I also got pushed off on a couple of others and got a call from the Cinema and Television Arts professor who I spoke to for some general background regarding my opinion piece.

Needless to say I was exhausted that night, and the exhaustion carried over to yesterday when I had a day packed with classes and Boom events.

So that should make the long story (relatively) short in explaining why I didn’t post about my news article yesterday, and am instead lumping it together with my opinion piece today.

God am I looking forward to Spring Break.

If you want to see my news piece in its entirety, you can check it out here. For my opinion piece on Nickelodeon, look no further than this link.

Or, in a radical twist, if you’re interested in seeing my whole archive of work for the Daily Titan, check it out over on the right!

March 14, 2018 Article Published

I don’t exactly have a lot of filler to throw in before this post gets going because I frankly don’t exactly have a lot to say about the story itself.

So I’m just going to get right into the thick of things.

My article published in the Daily Titan today was a quick and easy piece regarding the student government elections going on at Cal State Fullerton this week.

Probably the most interesting thing about the build-up to my writing this one was the fact that it wound up being one of the quickest stories I’ve ever written. At about 10 p.m. last night, my editor shot me a message over slack asking if I could write something about the president and vice president candidates running in the ASI elections this semester.

Now, I assumed this was because the candidates actually spoke at the Sports Clubs Inter-Club Council meeting that I attended on Friday, and she figured that I had personal contacts with all of the candidates as a result.

Long story short, I did not.

But luckily all we were really looking for was a summary of the candidates based on the information they included in the Official Voter Guide. Sort of a quick and easy translation job, if anything.

By the time 12:30 a.m. hit yesterday morning, I’d already turned in the piece. It actually only took me about a half hour or so to write the thing, but I was also spending some time with family and struggled with some computer issues trying to upload a video… You know, usual stuff.

The video was actually important because I did end up using quotes from the Inter-Club Council meeting I attended to give the story more flavor without me having to directly copy the candidates’ jargon in my own words. Wound up having to just show people the video off of my hard drive the next day because I couldn’t get it onto gmail without hours of upload time (even for a 12 minute video!), but it all worked out in the end.

Even if the piece was one of the easier 500 word stories I’ve ever pulled together, it was an interesting exercise in a way. I tried to make sure each pair of candidates had equal time to one another in print, but doing so presented a separate challenge of trying not to make every line sound too repetitive with the last segment.

I think what I turned out sounds pretty good, with that consideration.

If you want to judge that for yourself, you can see the story here. You can also read my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!


Normally I’d end things off there, but while I’ve got you all under my spell I just wanted to take a minute to promote work that isn’t my own.

While it’s great that I got a story in print today (especially for the cache of points I still need to complete for Comm 471), the big news of the day was undoubtedly what my editors Amy Wells and Brandon Pho pulled together on their continual investigation into the dismissal of former Pollak Library Dean Clement Guthro.

I personally cannot work on this story because I had personal ties with Clem (after all, you can’t avoid conflict of interest when you worked directly under the guy for a while), but frankly I wish I could.

So far this story is really feeling like the Canin striking/Milo visit of this semester. It’s big, heavy news with a lot of underlying political intrigue that they’re starting to dig up. Seriously, one of the interviews they did yesterday had such a hard-hitting question that the source was silent on recording for 15-20 seconds. It was nuts.

Sure I had to basically lay out all of the news desk pages again while they were busy running around getting this together… But I volunteered to do so because I knew how hard they were working on the thing.

While my conflict makes me unfortunately ineligible to help them out more than I have with providing sources and transcribing interviews, it also makes me all the more appreciative of the job they’re doing. Clem was a nice guy when I worked with him, and the more I find out about what happened with him the more I really get to feel the impact of local journalism at a personal level.

Plus, the stories are just really well written in their own rights! So if you want to read a nice piece of journalism today, check out their article here. It deserves way more views than my candidate round-up, it’s worth a read and it’s honestly worth following their work on it from here on out.

But that’s enough brown-nosing for one afternoon, it’s about time I ran off to class.

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.

img_7494

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!

February 26, 2018 Article Published

Alright alright, here we go folks. I have about a half hour before my next class starts, so let’s see if I can squeeze this whole article post out fast.

Today’s circulation of the Daily Titan features a story written by yours truly regarding the Parkland shooting on Feb. 14. It was undoubtedly a tragedy, but as far as what my stances are on the solutions to the problem itself, I’m not sure I want to go too deeply into things here and now.

What I will go into is the tangential topic of specifically what I covered. Following the shooting, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin made comments on a morning radio show about how violence in media like video games, movies and songs are one of, if not the chief causes of events like mass shootings.

Don’t know if ‘events’ is too weak of a word to use there, but it’s the best I’ve got for right now.

The reason I latched onto this story in particular is because it lined up quite well with the requirement to write a news story based on our entertainment beats in Comm 436. I actually brought that topic up in my last beat report, and this was the final result.

As per the class requirements for the story, it had to be based on our specific beat (in my case, video games), 750 words minimum and have at least one live source.

I first tried reaching out to a psychology professor to hopefully discuss the way violent media effects the development of younger children. They did not feel they were an expert on the subject and asked not to talk, but from her feedback I was able to access and comb through an American Psychological Association report that detailed a bunch of basic information I used to build the rest of my piece off of.

To do so, I reached out to College of Communications professor Cynthia King, who has done research into the connection between exposure to violent media and aggressive behavior. The interview I had with her wound up being far more in-depth than I had expected (It was about 25 minutes long when I had imagined 5-to-10 or so) and gave me just about everything I needed.

From there I compiled the information from Professor King, the APA report, the recording of the Kentucky radio broadcast and more into one big examination of the fact that media does play a part in fostering aggressive behavior, but it’s far more of a rich tapestry of developments that ultimately lead to tragedies like we saw in Parkland.

I honestly really like the way this piece turned out, and our illustrator Anita made a great graphic timeline showing the largest mass shootings in modern American history based on a compilation by CNN. Plus, for the online version at least, I was able to link out to all of the documents and everything I used, so it’s nice and robust in my opinion.

You can check out the article I wrote in its entirety here. You can also see my full body of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!

Entertainment Beat Report – Feb. 23, 2018

Entertainment Beat Report – Feb. 23, 2018

As I’ve mentioned across the last few posts on my blog, this week has been incredibly busy for me and kind of threw my whole schedule off-kilter. I also spent a lot of time working on the first major article for my Entertainment Reporting class — which I might add is currently being looked at for the Titan, so it may see more of the light of day soon.

In the meantime, as a result of all that I haven’t exactly paid a lot of attention to the overall video game world. This beat report is going to be relatively short as a result, but considering part of my grade is keeping it up… What can I say. Obligations are a powerful thing.

That said, I hope you still enjoy.


Kentucky Governor blames Florida shooting on video games, other violent media

This is actually the story I wrote my first major article about this week, so I won’t go too deep into it now.

A day after the mass shooting that left 17 dead in Parkland, Florida, Gov. Matt Bevin blamed violent video games and similar media on essentially creating a society trained to kill.

As someone who has always played video games, I’ve always taken the repeated accusations of their negative effects somewhat personally. That much hasn’t changed, but I was able to take it to more of a professional place by writing about the issue.

I talked to a professor at CSUF that’s an expert on violent media and aggressive behavior, did some research into American Psychological Association studies and more, eventually coming to the conclusion that video games and such do play a part in violent behaviors, but there are far more intersecting ideas to consider for it to be so black-and-white.

Like I said, I have a whole extended article on the subject now, so I’ll be able to share that later. Even if it doesn’t get published, I can always put it out independently here.

Because of that I’ll just move on for now and get into those weeds sometime in the near future.


2018 Game Developer Conference schedule released

Every year, game developers from across the world gather together to discuss the industry, projects they’re working and look at interesting repercussions of past projects.

That gathering is known simply as the Game Developer Conference, which will be held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California this year. On Thursday, the session scheduler for the event was released.

Frankly… The schedule is huge. So huge that I haven’t really had the time to comb through it. But there’s a ton of names from a ton of well-regarded companies in attendance, so no matter where you go there are definitely going to be things to see.

The conference will be held between March 19 and 23, with entry prices ranging from $250 for basic passes to $2,350 for all access passes.

A little steep for my blood, admittedly… But I’m definitely looking forward to hearing any sort of announcements that are made throughout the event online while it’s going on.


Overwatch League Stage 2 begins

Here’s something that’s just kind of continuing off of my last Beat Report. Blizzard’s big eSports experiment has started its second leg, and we’re two days into the competition.

So far (as of this writing), six games have been played out. No teams have had repeat games at this point so there isn’t much to say about rankings and whatnot, but the already high flying New York Excelsior team won its first game against Florida.

That’s something.

Honestly I never thought I would care about the Overwatch League as much as I have since starting to follow it for this class, so I’ll probably keep checking back on it from time to time.

For now however, there isn’t too much more to say. So let’s move on to the next.


First major Mario Odyssey update hits Nintendo Switch

As someone who has played a ton of Mario Odyssey, this story is a little more personally attuned to my interests, I’d say.

Once again I discussed the update in a post some time ago when it was first announced, but in essence a new game mode was added to the famous plumber’s newest adventure.

With the free Luigi’s Balloon World, players are able to talk with their green-clad brother and start what is essentially a game of hide and seek. In each kingdom, you can hide a balloon anywhere you can platform your way to in a limited amount of time, then it’s up to another player to try and find your hiding place. Or vice versa for that matter!

It’s a fun twist on the game’s core mechanics that seems to have breathed a breath of fresh air into it, certainly on my end at least. Plus the update also added some new costumes, including a reference to Super Mario Sunshine.

Who can complain about that?


That’s about what I’ve got for this week.

If there’s any big news that I’ve missed, or any details in the stories I did discuss that you particularly enjoy and want to talk about, let me know.

Next week I might also be a little off in terms of the timing of my post, as a forewarning. There’s a journalism conference I’m attending with other members of the Daily Titan, so I might be distracted by that.

Even so, I will be back with more at some point next week. So look forward to that!