Tag: California

Interviewing on Location

Interviewing on Location

My work with Gladeo this month has me investigating more technical jobs than I have since the summer began. I’ve started to do my research into being a database administrator, a system analyst and a network architect specifically.

I wound up scheduling a good amount of my work today since I’ve been busy with orientation for the Daily Titan the rest of this week. Early on this morning I spoke over the phone with Tom LaPorte, who does work with databases for DreamWorks Animation (DWA) Nova.

However, this afternoon was a bit more special in that I got to do my interview on location. That location happened to be one of my favorite places: The DWA campus in Glendale, California.

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My dad worked at DreamWorks for a number of years and made plenty of friends while he was there. What kind of a journalist would I be if I didn’t use those connections where I could?

I talked with Scott Miller, who does system analysis among a variety of other roles in both the behind-the-scenes and audience-facing aspects of technical work.

While the conversation was wonderful, equally wonderful was the chance I got to explore the DWA grounds. I did it fairly often back when dad worked there, but being able to leisurely stroll around on my own a number of years later was great. After all, I haven’t been since the Asian American Journalists Association Trivia Bowl in 2015.

I talked about my time at the Trivia Bowl last year, but I wasn’t really blogging the year before. So in case you were curious, the Trivia Bowl was held at the DreamWorks campus that year. Now you know.

Exploring the campus is generally one of my favorite things to do because of how beautiful it is there. It’s seriously like a high class park that happens to have buildings for work on it. Sometimes I almost feel like it’s akin to an open-air art exhibit.

So, I figured why not share some pictures of a bunch of the cool natural architecture that has been built up there? After all, I’m sure not many people will get the chance to see it themselves.

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Honestly that’s all I wanted to do here tonight, spread the word on how beautiful the DWA campus is for those who might not get the chance to see it.

And humble brag about the cool thing I got to do, if I’m being completely transparent.

While I’m still waiting for my Gladeo pieces from June to get published (since they’re going down whatever spaced out pipeline has been planning out beyond my control), expect to see some more DreamWorks-focused pieces also sometime down the line.

I also put in a message to my bosses today that I’ll be keeping on with the internship into the Fall semester, so I’ll likely keep having more to talk about for some time.

July 18, 2017 Article Published

Bet you weren’t expecting to see this in your feeds in the middle of the summer, were you? Well news never sleeps for the Daily Titan, so here we are.

Okay that’s not totally true, things have been fairly dormant for a while, but when there’s big enough news we jump on it to be online content at least.

In this case the news relates back to Eric Canin, who you’ll likely remember as that guy I wrote a billion stories about with my co-editor Sarah last semester. An extraordinary moment of serendipity presented itself yesterday as the news desk got an email early in the day with an update from CSUF’s Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook. He was making good on his word from before the spring semester ended to keep us up to date on the latest happenings in the Canin case.

He gave us early access to the university’s official statement on the outcome of the arbitration that settled the debate between the school, who apparently looked to terminate Canin after the altercation in February, and the California Faculty Association (CFA), the union looking to fight back and have Canin keep his job based on their collective bargaining agreement.

Because I’ve been working on this story for so long – I still call it my baby in friendly company – I just about immediately jumped on the scoop when I had it in my hand. It was admittedly a little bittersweet working on it without Sarah, as she graduated from CSUF last semester, but the show must go on as they say.

Knowing who were the big players in the case leading up to this point, I did a fairly quick interview with Cook over email to clarify some points about this leg of the investigation before hitting up Tyler McMillen, a representative of the CFA, and members of the College Republicans club (Who we’d hoped to get a statement from for this initial breaking news… But since we didn’t get a response had to pass on in favor of, well, breaking the news. We’ll inevitably get a response article out, I’m sure).

However, arguably the biggest success of this piece was getting comments from Eric Canin himself. That’s right, Ashlyn – a reporter (also now graduated from CSUF) and friend of mine from the editorial board – had access to Canin’s cell phone number because she helped him out a little after the initial incident. Because she was so on the ball that day, we were able to stay in touch with him up until the investigation really heated up and he wasn’t able to talk anymore.

Now that the investigation is over, I figured it would only be right to hit him up and ask for his statement, especially given the fact that Cook suggested he intended to return this semester to teach at Fullerton. Thanks to the good standing he had with Ashlyn, I was able to get some comments over text and was eternally grateful for it.

Seriously, you would not believe how gleeful I was when he actually responded favorably. I was quite literally over the moon about getting that first-hand comment in the story.

Given the fact that the investigation’s results only came out yesterday, it seems like I had one of the more comprehensive pieces on the update given my advanced notice, which just goes to show you how important connections are in this line of work.

If you want to check out the story in its entirety (and for this one I definitely recommend you do as I’m honestly really proud of this piece), you can see it here. You can also check out my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over at the link on the right, where you can get completely up to date on the Canin saga!

A saga which I can only imagine will be entering another stretch as we get into the reactions to him returning to campus. Hoo boy I’m sure there are going to be some reactions.

Thus, I leave off with that old cliché – don’t touch your remote. I’m sure it’s going to keep being interesting, and you’ll find more updates here in the future. Same bat time, same bat channel.

Old Fort MacArthur Days: A day of fun, sun and guns for the whole family

Old Fort MacArthur Days: A day of fun, sun and guns for the whole family

Who are these beauties you see above the title here? Why, that’s me and my little sister Alyson, dressed in 1940’s era attire. Both of us outside, at that. What could possibly bring us outside the comfort of our home on such a wonderful afternoon?

Plenty of things, actually. It was a really nice afternoon.

But in this case specifically, we were out and about with my good friend Sam at Old Fort MacArthur Days. Held at its namesake, Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, and spilling into the nearby Korean Friendship Bell, Old Fort MacArthur Days is an annual event where tons of people gather for a weekend to put on their finest displays of historically accurate military and era-specific gear so they can reenact events and educate the public.

Those are essentially the two major selling points of the experience. It’s huge in scale with tons of antiques and goods to sell, and each group has people manning the station that are veritable experts in the field they represent. You can stand around and ask the people in dress anything about the time period they’re dressed for and they’ll more than likely have the answer – and then some.

It’s a hard experience to explain for those who haven’t been, but my family has been going on and off for a long time now, as it’s definitely worth going as much as possible.

One thing the event suffered from this year was a blazing hot sun. For as entertaining as everything was, it was torture standing out in the open for the reenactments and listening to the representatives of the different eras. I can’t imagine what it must have been like standing around in heavy armor or old fashioned dresses and such.

Even without bulky clothing, I still managed to burn the hell out of myself out there. You can even tell in the featured image here, the back of my neck is red as it gets. As a result, I’ve been pretty exhausted and uncomfortable most of the afternoon, which is partially why it took until almost midnight to get something out about an event that ended at 4:00 p.m.

Because I’m still exhausted and also fairly lazy, I’m going to take the easy way out on this one and post a slideshow with all the cool pictures I got of all the booths so everyone can get something of an idea of what the event is like.

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If you like the kind of stuff you see here, I can assure you it’s an even better experience in person. Seriously, I wholeheartedly can’t recommend Old Fort MacArthur Days enough, and implore whoever can go to go next year.

If not for the scale and the educational value, at least for the glorious anachronisms.

Ben Franklin hanging out with Teddy Roosevelt? It’s there. Revolutionary soldiers calling for the death of a fallen gladiator? Got that. Roman children checking out World War II rifles as women in puffy colonial-era dress wander in the background? You know it.

Undoubtedly incredible.



I wanted to add an aside here at the end saying that I also have some pretty great videos showcasing some of the weapon demonstrations, a gladiator fight, the Civil War battle and a cowboy skit.

However, I haven’t been able to get it in a format where I can upload the videos easily yet. It’s actually part of the reason I’ve taken so long to write this, as a matter of fact. Until I figure that out I’m going to leave this here as a reminder that I’ll be adding them in once I do.

April 6, 2017 Article Published

Alright, gather around ladies and gents, it’s time for another edition of everyone’s favorite story, ‘Jason writes a story that’s far too long out of nowhere to save the news page from falling apart.’

Are you saying that’s not your favorite story?  Well then, luckily for you obviously small sub-section of dissenters out there I don’t have a hell of a lot of time to write this out.  It’s more of a quick update if anything, since I have a banquet for the University Honors Program to attend tonight. There might even be a bonus post on that later, we’ll have to see.

To make a long story short, production yesterday was a bit of a mess. All of our stories were on deadline, so it was stressful just waiting for things to come in. One of the stories was one I was working on about the Lobby Day event being put on by the California Faculty Association, in which a bunch of teachers and students from all 23 CSU campuses went to Sacramento to spend the day with our legislators in the Assembly and the Senate talking about whatever they felt was important.

Obviously a lot of the talking points revolved around the recent tuition increase, since a stipulation holds that if the CSU system gets fully funded by the legislature soon there won’t be a need to have it at all. And equally obviously, I’d hope, was the fact that we weren’t going to be able to actually send someone to Sacramento to cover the story since it’s on the other end of the state, so all our coverage had to be through the voices of people who were there.

It took just about all day, but I managed to get a hold of the communications director for the CFA who helped me end my game of phone-tag with the CFA’s Fullerton representative Michele Barr.

Though we’d been trying to get in touch with somebody for a couple of days, it wasn’t until the last minute that we pulled these sources together. Between that and some documentation from CFA press releases and Assembly Bills, what was planned to be a small 200 word evolved into an out-of-nowhere 800 word piece that filled in space for a lot of the smaller content we were trying to fit on two pages.

Honestly, I’m pretty proud I was able to get it out there, because I feel like it’s a really solid story for the time constraints I had to write it on. Plus, we didn’t even have to stay all that late for deadline night last night, which felt like a really sweet bonus.

Next week we’ll have to see if it’s a different story, since there’s a lot of big enterprise-level pieces we’re going to be publishing on multiple days. There will also be a couple of Canin updates (including one that yours truly has been working on most of the day), so it should be a really exciting week to pick up the Daily Titan.

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

Another year older, 20 years in

If I had any sense of comedic timing, I would’ve figured out that a year ago I should have waited a few extra days to create my blog so I could coincide that birthday with my really for real birthday today.

Oh well.  Water under the bridge I suppose.

And water everywhere for that matter, since the sky has opened up here in Southern California.

​To be completely honest, rain on my birthday is a bit of a tradition at this point.  My parents still love to tell the story about how my first birthday was washed out by a typhoon.

Enough thinking about the past though, because now that I’m 20 years old and officially no longer a “teen,” it’s time I start thinking ahead to the future.

The first thing I find myself thinking of is whether or not it seems conceited to be writing myself a post about my own birthday.  Like sure, it’s my blog and everything, but it still feels strange.  

I’m not even entirely sure what to say past reflecting a little on my hopes that 20 will be a great year for me, just like 19 was.

Maybe it would be easier to think of things I’ll miss now that I’m another year older.  If I had to pick one thing about being under 20 that I’ll miss… 

It would be no longer getting meal discounts.

Was this whole post just an excuse to fit this surprisingly well placed joke out there? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes.

Rest In Peace oh great deal of the century

Communications 202 productions for the fall 2016 semester

Today was the last day of the fall 2016 semester at Cal State Fullerton.  Next week is finals week, but I’ve gotten lucky with my classes and don’t have to go in for any exams.  There’s a final essay I have to do over the weekend and our final week-long Daily Titan production for the semester on Sunday… But otherwise, I’m essentially free for winter break.

For my Communications 202 class, which was an introductory broadcast production class, our entire semester was building up to producing an actual news broadcast – not a long one necessarily, but still.  All of the packaged reports and the roles preparing the anchored bits were made by the students in the class.  The productions we put together have both been posted online, the second one just earlier this afternoon in fact.

Because it’s an introductory class, things are put together a bit roughly… But considering they’re the culmination of a semester’s worth of work, I figure it would be cool to share the broadcasts we produced here.

For this first production, I was the assistant script writer for the full broadcast – everything outside of the packages themselves.  My own produced piece made it into this show in fact, the first story about Anaheim Ballot Measure U.  I’m a little tired of watching it after spending so much time recording and editing everything, but I still think it turned out pretty well.

For this second production, I was the chief script writer.  Just about everything the anchors said I was responsible for – and yeah it’s pretty cheesy, I know.  I wasn’t exactly putting my best effort into the work, we were hitting the end of the semester after all.

I was also the camera operator for the second show. That meant I was part of the “live” production team, making sure the anchors were properly visible and had the right amount of headroom and everything else that’s needed.  However, there were only three cameras in the newsroom we used, so the job became a bit more complicated when we had to use four or more camera angles to encompass multiple combinations of the three anchors.  I wound up having to mix my two jobs, setting the script up in a way to facilitate being able to move one camera to a new position while another was being used.

All-and-all I wound up having the most fun in that class doing the camera work along with the rest of the team who signed up for jobs on the show.  The rest of the class leading up to it was a little frustrating for various reasons, but I’d say the end made the whole thing worth it.

Since my final American Studies paper isn’t due until Monday, so I’m probably going to take at least the night off to relax.  However, now that the class is over, I feel it would at least be nice to give a shoutout to my Comm 202 professor, Penchan Phoborisut.  She’s a great teacher, and helped me at least get started in learning programs like Storify and Adobe Premiere Pro.  For that I’m grateful, considering they’re the kind of skills I’ll probably have to have a rudimentary knowledge of in this line of work at least.

So, until next time, I’m off to go play more Pokémon.  In fact, I’m thinking I’ll have an update on how that’s going at some point this weekend, since I’ve done quite a bit since beating the main campaign. For now though, let me know if you enjoyed our broadcasts.  They aren’t the most well-polished things, like I said, but for an amateur project I do think they turned out nice.

November 9, 2016 Article Published

So this actually was not so much an article as it was a collection of briefs, but I’m pretty proud of the final product all the same.

Yesterday was a historic election, undoubtedly.  The end result wasn’t necessarily what I hoped it would be, which is an especially painful point considering it was my first time getting to exercise my right to vote, but still. I’m proud that I got to perform my civic duty, and I stand by our Democracy’s tradition of peaceful transition.  The fact that there are currently protests in the streets of Los Angeles akin to something we might otherwise see in countries like Egypt when military dictators come to power is honestly astounding to watch, in my opinion.

That’s all I’m going to say on the subject, however.  I’m not looking to make enemies or incite anything with this post by any means.

Even though the last couple of days have been pretty glum and somber due to the end of this vitriolic year and a half of electioneering, something good did come out of it.  I got to cover my very first presidential election as a part of a newspaper staff, and the coverage we came together with is pretty phenomenal if I say so myself.

We covered the election of President-elect Donald Trump, the local City Council, State Senate and Congress elections in Fullerton’s proximity and we covered the 17 ballot measures in California.  To see the full edition, you can check it out here:

While the issue as a whole is a hugely successful undertaking, one that we spent tons of time on and came out on the other end with pretty solid results, I’m particularly proud of how we handled the propositions.

The Daily Titan’s Nov. 9 issue – The Election of Donald J. Trump

On front page and page 2, we had a graphic representing each of the 17 propositions on the ballot in California.  Alongside those, we included whether or not the polls were leaning yes or no for that prop at the time we sent the paper to the printer.

To coincide with those graphics, I wrote a brief-length summary of each of the 17 propositions that we posted to the Daily Titan website.  At about 100 words each, give or take a dozen, I wound up writing nearly 1,700 words in what was essentially voter guide coverage of the propositions.

Originally the plan was to mention the online supplement to the graphics in print as a way of improving traffic to our website online.  However, our production went right to the deadline we’re restricted by, 2:30 a.m., and it wasn’t until the pages were turned into the printer that we discovered the supplement wasn’t mentioned in ink.

Sure, it sucks that my work didn’t get quite as much attention as it could have as a result, but we did advertise the summaries on social media so that the nearly 2,000 words did not go to waste.  Thus is the life of a journalist.

If you want to check out the list of propositions I wrote up, check them out here.  You can also check out the full list of things I’ve done for the Daily Titan to the right!

Hopefully things get a little less crazy and stressful now that the election is over and we have a bit of a quiet lame duck period to enjoy.

Road to Decision 2016

Road to Decision 2016

The 2016 election is the first national election I’ve had the chance to vote for in my lifetime.While the Presidential race itself has admittedly been… Less than appealing, it hasn’t changed my conviction to go out and do my civic duty for the first time.  

With a lot of pretty significant proposition on the ballot in California to vote for, as well as local and national offices out of my district, it was definitely still an important thing to do despite any national disillusionment.Now that the voting is done, all there’s left to do is wait.  Wait and see.

Naturally, since I work for a newspaper, waiting and seeing means I’ll literally be charting the progress of the national and local elections in Orange County.  It’s going to be a long, long day…So having some caffeine in my system will probably be a good thing.

No matter who you’re voting for, I hope you have the chance to go out and exercise your right in what seems like an unprecedentedly big turnout year!

The 2016 AAJA Trivia Bowl

Had an absolutely wonderful time tonight yesterday at the Asian American Journalists Association Los Angeles Branch‘s 21st annual Trivia Bowl representing the Daily Titan and Cal State Fullerton.

The event was held at the Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in Downtown Los Angeles, and though we didn’t get to explore much of the grounds it was still a beautiful venue to be at.  Plus, being just about right in the middle of the city, there was a nice view all around when we were there!

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Admittedly, getting to the event just reminded me of how wonderful it can be to live around Los Angeles… Two and a half hours or so to get to the temple, while the same drive took about 25 minutes to get back home. Thanks Dodgers.  That endless drive didn’t take away from the experience of being there however, as I had a great time with my coworkers, the Daily Titan’s Managing Editor, Copy Editor, Copy Assistant and Arts & Entertainment Assistant.

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From left to right: Me, A&E Assistant Kyle Bender, Managing Editor Brandon Ross and Copy Editor Aaron Valdez.  Our Copy Assistant, Sule Recinos, left early.

Because half of the newsroom is off at a conference in Washington DC, we only had five people compared to the average number, 10 or so, but even with that handicap we did pretty well, I’d say.  We tied with USC as the third best college team that was there at the end!

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Now, for context, the Trivia Bowl had four rounds, each with 20 questions asked.  The categories for the rounds included Current Events and History; Geography, Literature and Science; Pop Culture and Sports and California.  So… While we only got 17 points out of 80, it should also be showing that the winning team, one of the representative groups from the LA Times, only got about 39.  They were pretty hard questions.

This is the second year I’ve gone to the Trivia Bowl, as I went to the one held at the DreamWorks Animation studio in Glendale, CA last year.  Both times I’ve gone have been really fun, and I’m looking forward to getting to go with my fellow Titans in the future!

October 19, 2016 Article Published

When this article was published yesterday, I was a little bit distracted by other things to be able to talk about it.  Half of the newsroom is currently off in Washington DC for a conference, and my co-editor has been a bit under the weather as of late, so the rest of us who were still around had to work extra hard to get our issue with special third presidential debate coverage out for today.

However, with our last issue of the week out, giving me a bit of a break before our big weeklong political special issue production on Sunday, figure now is as good a time as ever to update my blog here with this new article.

Project Rebound is a program out of San Francisco State University that recently received a $500,000 grant from The Opportunity Institute, allowing it to spread out and open branches in seven CSU campuses – including Fullerton, naturally.  The program sets out to help previously incarcerated individuals who are looking to get a college degree, at the same time attempting to lower the prison recidivism rate in California (at 44.6 percent or so in the 2010 to 2011 fiscal year according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations) and beyond.

I found out about it from my professor, Dr. Jason Sexton, who also happens to be the editor of Boom magazine.  He’s an advisor for the program’s new branch, as I’m sure the push to do a California prison-themed issue of Boom helped bring some attention. The advisors for the program are there to help convey what resources are around that Rebound staff can point students to, though currently there are only two primary staff members on board.

Brady Heiner, Ph.D, is an assistant professor of Philosophy at CSUF and the Director of Rebound there.  Meanwhile, Romarilyn Ralston is the recently hired program coordinator for Rebound, and happens to be a previously incarcerated individual who sought out and college degrees herself.  In her own words, “An office like Project Rebound and staff that has prior incarceration histories who has walked the walk and accomplished what Rebound sets up to help their students achieve will be very helpful and supportive.”

The story honestly wound up being a behemoth at 1,600 words, since I couldn’t really figure out where to stop writing.  There was a heck of a lot of information to convey, and both Heiner and Ralston gave me tons of good quotes to incorporate.

Luckily we have an awesome Layout editor who was able to help set up the paper to fill that kind of extensive content.

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