Tag: Cal State Fullerton

October 17, 2017 Article Published

Two days in a row of writing on deadline makes Jack a sharp writer.

Translated: There’s truly no rest for the wicked it seems, as yesterday was the second day I wound up writing a pretty long story regarding at least somewhat breaking news at the last minute for the paper.

On Sunday it was my update on the Canyon Fire 2, while yesterday I pulled together an update on the Halloween visit of Milo Yiannopoulos scheduled at CSUF.

To make a long story short with this one, the Governance Committee of the student government here at Fullerton, ASI, passed a resolution denouncing the speaker and instead showing support for the Unity Block Party put on by more left groups promoting diversity that’s going to be running at the same time as his speech. The College Republicans club sent out a press release responding to that vote, obviously upset.

I had honestly expected this update to be a relatively short and straight forward one. I wrote a very similar article regarding the ASI resolution passing process back when the Republicans were looking to get a resolution barring Eric Canin from campus, though this time the angle would be slightly different considering the Yiannopoulos resolution made it past the writing and Governance Committee vote stages. Between that explanation of the overall process and a few comments on why this matters to both sides, it seemed like everything would write itself.

Then I get a hell of a lot of back-and-forth.

I interviewed the vice chair of the ASI Board of Directors, who also happened to be one of the sponsors (the writer, essentially) of the Yiannopoulos resolution. Talked to him about the process, why he jumped on this particular piece of legislation and about how the Republicans felt about the whole thing.

Then I interviewed both the Public Relations and Event Coordinator, as well as the president of the CSUF College Republicans club. More or less talked to both of them about why they felt impassioned enough by this resolution to speak out about it despite the symbolic nature and still relatively early stage of development.

Between those interviews, the official resolution document and the official press release, I had a lot of things to sort through that played off of each other quite well. Most of the issues that were brought up by one group was addressed by the other and vice versa, so I had a lot of interesting discussions within the story.

Of course, it wound up being like 900 words because of how I had to balance those emotional discussions and the explanation of the process and where we are in it… But hey, I think it’s a pretty engaging piece. And I certainly can’t complain about pulling something substantial and interesting out of a story that I figured would be small.

Everything about the story culminates in the fact that the full ASI Board of Directors will vote on the resolution on Oct. 24, at which point it either becomes an official stance by the student government on campus (symbolic though it may be) or it gets shot down, possibly to come back later under another name or not.

Obviously, expect me to probably be covering that when it happens, even though I’m trying not to burn myself out on Milo too much before he actually shows up in two weeks.

Yikes. That’s coming up fast.

But that’s beside the point. If you want to check out the story in its entirety, you can see it here. For my full archive of work for the Daily Titan, you can go over to the page on the right!

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Helping inspire the next generation

Though I usually relish my two days a week that I don’t have to drive out to Fullerton for school and production, today I spent my Saturday going out to CSUF so I could hang out in the newsroom all afternoon.

But not because of production this time around.

No, today was the Journalism Association of Community Colleges’ SoCal 2017 conference, and it was held on campus. With a large collection of journalistically-inclined community college students assembling at CSUF looking to one day apply for a four-year college, it only made sense that the Daily Titan had an open house of sorts in the newsroom to answer any questions and encourage joining the editorial board.

As one of the longest serving members on the Daily Titan – which is something really bizarre for me to consider since I’m still one of the younger people in the room on average – I figured it would do me some good to come introduce myself to some potential future colleagues, and lay their minds at ease with regards to working on a higher caliber paper.

Granted we did confirm a lot of their fears regarding balancing school and production life, as well as producing a paper on a daily basis… But we also found a lot of people getting really excited about what we do, and I was able to dispense a lot of valuable advice about things like news reporting (in my opinion).

In fact, I really think there were some people I met today from a variety of schools, including Citrus College, Cypress CollegeOrange Coast College, and way more that I can’t remember off the top of my head while writing this (sorry for that if anyone winds up reading this from those colleges), who I can definitely see joining the Titan in the near future.

Plus I got this very nice picture out of it that I saw on Twitter:

Beyond spending some time talking about my experience with fellow aspiring journalists, I also got to hang out with our Managing Editor Harrison, one of my News Assistants Amy and one of our Lifestyle Assistants Tanya in a non-production context, which was a lot of fun. Bonnie, our Advisor, and Walt Baranger, a Daily Titan Alum and former New York Times editor who teaches at CSUF now, also stopped by and spent some time with us and with the Community College students.

We even got some donuts and pizza out of the deal too, so all and all I’d say it was an afternoon well spent – Even if I hadn’t been expecting to waste a good 6 hours at Fullerton on a Saturday just a few days ago.

 

October 9, 2017 Article Published

I’m so used to waiting for the day a story is in print to post one of these blog posts that I totally didn’t even think about the fact that this article went online only yesterday. We put out a special weeklong financial issue Sunday night, so the rest of our content has been exclusively on the Daily Titan website this week.

It’s been really nice having a break from producing a paper, though my internal schedule has been thrown all out of whack as a result.

So… Happy day after article published post, everyone.

California has been burning pretty seriously recently. The Anaheim Hills, specifically, has been close enough  to have a very visible effect at Cal State Fullerton:

The cloud of smoke filled the sky throughout the afternoon yesterday, making it more of struggle to breath alongside already hot, windy weather. So while we had reporters covering the fire (My co-editor Brandon and one of our photographers Bailey went out near the blaze and did some amazing work), I was on campus getting some information about how the smoke might be affecting students.

The conversation I had with the Student Health Center’s interim director and chief staff physician Richard Boucher wound up being one of my favorite interviews so far this semester. He’s a real nice guy who was very interested in small talk before and after our business was conducted, and he had plenty of useful information for us to use without it taking a lot of extraction work.

I can definitely see myself talking with him more in the future.

The part of the interview that stood out most to me was his repeated advice to try and stay indoors as much as possible and avoid heavy exercise while air quality was poor. Not exactly novel advice or anything, but it felt poignantly ironic to me that he gave that advice after I had literally just crossed almost the entirety of campus three times over while setting up the interview.

Really I think that might be the first sign that this job is going to kill me one of these days.

Not that I can complain too much about that, since like I said we had reporters out next to the fire actually putting themselves somewhat at risk to do some awesome reporting. My portion of the article isn’t quite as exciting as the portion covering the fire itself, but I still like to think it’s information that’s important to spread for our audience. It fit well as a part of the overall package, and we got some praise around campus for the quick work and fancy online layout we tried out for the story.

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

October 5, 2017 Article Published

I was looking to have this out earlier, but after my early day of classes I wound up coming home and passing out for a long time.

So… Better late than never, I suppose.

Yesterday, the Cal State Fullerton University Police Department sent out a crime alert about a suspect allegedly masturbating in public at the roundabout outside of Dan Black Hall and calling at least one person over to his car while doing so. The suspect drove off, but the police were able to get a basic description and a partial license plate from the female student who called in the public indecency.

To put it simply, my story is meant to be an informative piece letting members of the campus community know exactly what the police know at this point while adding comments from Capt. Scot Willey about police procedures with these cases, how confident they are in working this particular case and going more into how the details fit into our campus police’s push for a “see something, say something” mentality.

It’s a pretty basic crime story. Nothing too extremely challenging, but certainly one of the hallmarks of journalism at it’s core. Informing the public, giving them another chance to find out where they can assist the police if they can.

Though, I will admit… Getting to write about masturbation in an article was an interesting experience. Even if the contextual subject matter made it pretty gross overall. Even Capt. Willey sounded a little weirded out about the whole thing, and he has over 20 years of experience in law enforcement.

It probably didn’t help that I decided to write the story in the middle of my honors class on Wednesday. We were hoping to get the piece out as soon as possible for online to get a jump on the ‘informing the public’ side of things, so I had my laptop out during the admittedly slow lecture period to finish it so I didn’t hold up production all too long.

While I can’t say I’m complaining about the feeling of getting work done in an expedient fashion, it did feel just a little bit extra awkward to not only be writing about indecent public masturbation, but to do so sitting right next to a bunch of my friends from various honors classes.

But hey, guess that’s just what a journalist does.

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

October 2 & 3 Articles Published

I think it’s probably pretty needless to say that the last few days have been rather hectic to be a journalist.

The mass shooting that happened Sunday in Las Vegas was a truly horrific event that frankly threw everything for a loop. The most recent estimates for what I was working with last night were saying that at least 59 have been killed and at least 527 were injured in the attack.

It’s honestly still unfathomable to me that one person could do that much. I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around the sheer number of people that were directly affected.

On top of that, the old adage of “everybody knows somebody” when it comes to these kinds of events has never rung more true for me than it has now. Me, my co-editor Brandon and a few other members of the Daily Titan have been covering the story the last couple of days (which has been a hectic enough time to hopefully explain why I’m lumping these two article posts into one) and we’re gathering more and more stories of people here in Orange County and at CSUF that were involved in one way or another.

I’ll admit it has been a bit harrowing and, frankly, quite disheartening to be barraged by all these details via work and in just about every form of media relentlessly over the last couple of days. Yet… At the same time, I can’t say I remember the last time I’ve been this proud of the work I’ve been doing.

The night of the shooting, while only a few of us were left in the newsroom wrapping up production, news started to trickle out of Las Vegas. At first we weren’t sure we were going to do anything about it, since there was lots of confusion about exactly what was going on as the Route 91 Harvest festival quickly broke apart. However, once we saw just how big the story was becoming, we knew we had to add something to our front page for our readers to be informed.

We wound up staying until 3:00 a.m. or so to finish that front page banner. Though Brandon, our copy editor Kyle, our managing editor Harrison and myself were working on compiling everything we could that was confirmable for some time leading up to then, the real linchpin we wanted was the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department media briefing that was going to give us as much up-to-date information as we could before we had no more leeway to let the printer extend our deadline.

That meeting was originally scheduled to happen at 12:45 a.m. It wound up happening closer to 1:45 a.m.

Granted it did give us the treasure trove of everything we needed to put a solid piece together, but it still kept us rather late. I can’t really say I’m complaining about it, however. Sure I was tired for class and I’m still pretty tired today, but being able to get that breaking news on the front page was an awesome feeling, and I really felt like I’m working with some of the best people in the business more than ever before.

Then the next day we did a follow-up piece on the shooting, extrapolating on CSUF President Mildred Garcia’s statement about members of the Titan community being present at the concert to write something about people who were there.

Alright, to be completely accurate about it, technically that’s more what Brandon wrote for our front page today. Originally that was also going to include a portion about the campus police department and how prepared they are to deal with active shooter situations. But we wound up having so much information that we split those into two separate articles, with me mostly writing the campus police story. We did both give each other contributing lines in our respective stories, though, since we helped each other gather the information together.

I think both articles turned out great, as his packed a serious emotional punch with first-hand accounts from a student about what it was like to be at the shooting while mine was an informative and, hopefully, comforting piece about the fact that these are things our officers have thought of and are prepared to deal with. They went together under a single banner framed by a picture of the flags on campus at half mast, and I’d say they really made a great package.

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Our last two front pages from Oct. 2 and Oct. 3 side-by-side

Plus, I personally found it a little funny that the story I wrote feels like a callback to my first big front page article for the Daily Titan, a story about campus police preparedness following the San Bernardino shooting.

Funny in as much as something can be considering the subject matter, of course.

If you want to read these articles in their entirety, and I recommend it for some of the powerful stuff we’ve pulled together – even if I’m sure everyone’s rather worn down on the subject by now – you can check them out here:

You can also check out my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right.

I’m sure there’s going to be more to come as far as covering the aftermath of Las Vegas goes, so be sure stick around if you want to see more coming down the pipeline.

September 25, 2017 Article Published

It’s starting to feel like I’m going to build myself a “breaks apart federal documents” niche the way this semester has been going.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR – not to be confused with the Orange County Register, since I did get that question during deadline night) announced Friday that they are withdrawing two documents that contain statements about policies and guidance for handling Title IX.

The documents, a Dear Colleague Letter from 2011 about sexual violence and a follow-up Q&A regarding the same subjects from 2014, received legal criticism and were apparently imposed “without affording notice and the opportunity for public comment” according to a Dear Colleague Letter put out by the OCR.

I go more in-depth into exactly what the original documents talked about in the article, as well as some finer details like what is still considered in place as far as policy goes, but it took long enough to get something together that was simplified down for print, so I think it’s really just worth pointing right to that for anything too intricate.

The other part of this story that was important involved the California State University system. Because part of the OCR’s message talked about how they’ll be starting a process to create new guidelines with more public input, CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White’s statement in response to the Title IX changes mentioned that the school system will be a strong participant in the process.

So, of course, we reached out to CSUF to see if they specifically would be a part of that effort, or whether it was something better left to the systemwide representatives. Our answer from the university’s Chief Communications Officer was essentially the latter, with a hefty agreement to the Chancellor’s message to boot.

Honestly that just about sums up the whole thing, and it wasn’t necessarily much of an exciting development process to get there. We waited for a bit to get the CSUF response, but otherwise everything relied on information from the OCR and the CSU statements, so it was more a matter of taking a couple hours to scour out the wording and pull it all together. It felt good to pull this kind of an information-heavy story in such a quick manner, don’t get me wrong, but I’m just not proclaiming any sort of fireworks were going off as it happened.

At least I got to show off my document scrubbing skills, like I said. Plus I didn’t have to do it while sitting in Downtown Disney like I did for that DACA article earlier this month, so I certainly can’t find any reason to complain.

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

September 14, 2017 Article Published

I’ll be honest, today hasn’t been the greatest day. In fact, it’s been pretty lousy all things considered. But the reason why is a long, long story, and it’s a story I don’t exactly feel like telling right now. 

So instead let’s just talk about this article I got published, even if I don’t have too much to say regarding it necessarily.

As the Daily Titan follows a number of long-running story threads – namely the DACA decision, Title IX and the potential visit from Milo Yiannopoulos in the near future – everyone on news desk has been putting in a hell of a lot of work. My co-editor Brandon has been especially busy, mostly because he’s been keeping up with everything as my life is keeping me spiraled in many different directions at once.

However, yesterday I was able to use my friendly connection with the President of the College Republicans club to whip out a real quick 350ish word update on the Milo situation, which felt good to contribute after a week of feeling pretty hands-off on a lot of things.

This lead came after the group Students for Quality Education rallied at the ASI Board of Directors meeting earlier in the week. At one point in that story it was mentioned that an executive brought up October 31st as the date which Milo could be coming. Having been in talks with the College Republicans club president and president emeratus, I knew that they’ve been working on bringing Milo on Halloween, but I haven’t reported on it yet given that the official contract with the speaker hasn’t been signed. Figured that meant there was still room for change down the line, and I didn’t want to be too pre-mature.

When it was brought up by that third party, however, I was curious enough to dig a little more. After all, even though I’m essentially at the top of the waiting list for information, I hadn’t heard anything was finalized. What I wound up discovering from my contact in the University Conference Center was that the College Republicans have officially booked the Titan Student Union Pavilion space for a guest speaker on Halloween.

Thus, the story was as simple as a quick update on that with a nice little interview I did with the College Republicans club president Amanda that not only set the stage for what’s next, but also got her input on most of the events that had been happening throughout the week. All and all it’s short, but I think rather nice and effective as an update story. Something to keep the fire kindled as we wait for more, I suppose.

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

September 7, 2017 Article Published

I had the opportunity to sit down with Cal State Fullerton’s President Mildred García yesterday alongside my co-editor Brandon, our Managing Editor Harrison and our Editor-in-Chief Zack.

While it has been an event I’ve been invited to take part in throughout my last few semesters as a News Editor, time constraints have always inhibited my ability to go. Being able to be a part of the small panel this time around was wonderful, both because the team I got to go with was great and because we got a lot of really solid stuff just from some brief conversing on current affairs. It’s the sort of thing I definitely want to see happen more in the future.

Though we only got about a half hour of her time (as it is safe to say that being the President of a University can be a busy job), I feel like we managed to get a hell of a lot of questions in to sustain a rather beefy little interview. At least 3,500 words worth of content from my last count.

Basically about as long as one of my wordy video game postings but with a subject matter that actually means something more substantial.

In regards to topics, we mainly talked about five things with García:

  • The recent decision to rescind DACA.
  • The possibility of Milo Yiannopoulos coming to campus later this semester.
  • Current plans for the University’s next Strategic Plan, given that the last one is set to end this year.
  • Issues with parking on campus – one which I tend to experience frequently, I might add.
  • Her thoughts on the issue of Lecturer Eric Canin.

Rather than writing a story specifically about these elements, we decided to do something a little different by offering readers a Q&A formatted piece so they can see everything that was said. With only some minor editing for things like grammar and clarity, the full transcript is available in print (on shelves for this weekend at least) and online (for presumably all weekends until the internet collapses).

Oh, and for those of you looking to appreciate some extra behind-the-scenes flavor, the picture we have as a featured image on the website actually has me sitting to the left of García with my freshly shaved beard and more dress-y shirt. Harrison and Brandon are to her right and Zack is taking the picture, so naturally I was on my own at that side of the table for just about the whole interview. Made things both engaging and perhaps a smidgen more intimidating when she focused her attention to my side and didn’t have to split her gaze between a number of eyes.

I was going to have a similar photo cameo in our print edition, but the transcript is so long that we had to eliminate a lot of that visual flair just to make room for it.

What you would have seen, however, was kept alive thanks to our Instagram post in which you can still very clearly see the back of my head:

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Special thanks to my friend Lissete, one of our social media assistants this semester, for helping me get my hands on this considering I don’t have an Instagram account.

Looking good there, scamp. Looking good.

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

September 6, 2017 Article Published

So technically this article does not have my byline, and I’m not looking to take credit for it by any means, but the story is important enough that I definitely feel like it’s worth sharing here.

Yesterday, the White House announced their plans to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and sent everyone into a tizzy – for lack of a better term with more gravitas. My co-editor Brandon and I jumped into action right when we found out, as he had preempted the possibility of things happening with a small story the day before.

Not only did we spend most of the afternoon out and about trying to do interviews with DACA-related officials and student activists responding on campus, we also scowered through Trump’s press statement, the statements released by higher ups like CSUF President Mildred Garcia and CSU Chancellor Timothy White and we staked out the Dreamers center to try and get some raw opinions on the subject. We did wind up succeeding on that front, where we also got access to some officials from other campus clubs and organizations who were visiting to give their condolences and support.

This was also the story that contained my little adventure trying to get an interview with Pollak Library Dean Clem Guthro. I elaborated on that in my last post about the Autry event I attended, but I still can’t get over the wonderful serendipity of it all. So why not call back to it again, am I right?

Unfortunately, that break at the Autry for Boom meant I had to spend a solid 5 hours of the night outside of the newsroom. Thus, while I did stay on call to help pass along sources (such as the extra Guthro interview) and edit the story, I was not able to be involved in actually writing the story.

The decision to go wound up being hard to make, as DACA was such an important story last night that I felt like it might even be worth skipping out on the Internship-based event I’d RSVP’d for at least three weeks ago. Brandon said he could handle it however, so I decided to go anyway. Luckily the event ended early enough that I was able to swing back to Fullerton to help close out the night, so I didn’t feel as bad by the end.

That’s why I don’t have a full byline in the story, as I wasn’t actually a serious part of writing the piece. Instead I got a contributing credit for all the work I helped put into it.

However that should by no means be taken as a complaint. Brandon did a phenomenal job pulling together all of the elements we collected into a succinct, engaging story. I actually had next to nothing as far as corrections went when I looked over it from the Autry. He wholeheartedly deserves the credit he got, and I’m happy just being a part of it.

I just happen to appreciate a little self-promotion, so I figured it was worth pushing this one out on my blog for the sake of my part in writing it. On top of the massive emotional impact and great reporting, of course.

If you want to read the article in its entirety, you can see it here. Brandon really did a wonderful job and it’s definitely worth the look. Beyond that, if you want to see my full breadth of writing for the Daily Titan, you can find it over on the right!