Tag: CSUF

Turning Twenty-one

Turning Twenty-one

There are a number of milestone ages a person hits as they grow older.

When a child turns one, their parents have the opportunity to gleefully celebrate helping their progeny survive a full rotation around the sun.

When a pre-teen turns 13, in the case of my heritage at least, they get to celebrate a religious coming of age with their bar or bat mitzvah.

When one on the edge of ‘true’ adolescence turns 16, the celebration is said to be sweet.

When that now teenager turns 18, they are endowed with the right to drive, to legally consent to sexual endeavors and to both fight and potentially die for their country.

Then, when 21 rolls around, that young adult rounds out their accumulation of privileges by gaining the ability to drink alcohol. Legally, at least.

There are many more from there on out, be it the exit from academia in the mid-20s, the ‘over the hump’ years of 50 plus or the retirement years starting in… Well, whenever people are able to retire in this day and age. But for all intents and purposes, the important milestone we’re here to discuss is 21.

Because today — February 17, 2018 — is the day that I become a 21-year-old man and receive all of the rights promised by that status. Namely, I’ll get my hands on a driver’s license that is facing the right way (and hopefully take a better photo at the DMV while I’m at it), and I’ll be able to go out drinking with my friends.

Granted… I don’t exactly have a huge desire to go out drinking. My close-knit high school friends don’t really either, though I’m sure my college journalism friends will be chomping at the bit looking to get me out to a bar in Downtown Fullerton to celebrate.

I’ll probably try it, in a controlled situation, just because it would seem like a waste not to take advantage of the opportunity. But like I said, I’m not wide-eyed and excited about drinking, nor do I imagine I’ll be doing it very often.

Beyond that, what else do I have to say about turning 21…

Honestly, it doesn’t feel very different from being 20. I know that’s a cliché that’s thrown around a lot, but it’s true. Really it’s just more of the same as far as my day-to-day life goes.

Still doing the semester grind, with an actually quite busy week ahead of me thanks to midterms. I’m working on a few pieces for the Titan, though they’re more on the back burner thanks to the aforementioned tests and such. Gladeo is still giving me work, though the subjects I’m working with are harder to get in touch with then I’d enjoy.

Oh, but in more positive news, the student-run publication California Connections that I’m head editor on finally got its first writing submission last night. Shows that all the work I’ve been doing to get the word out has paid off at least a little bit!

Plus, I’ve been working with our advisor Bonnie Stewart on preparing a presentation that a few of us are going to be giving with her at an upcoming journalism conference based on our work covering Milo Yiannopoulos. I’m also going to be getting an award at that conference, so it’s really exciting!

Though I don’t have much to say about them at this point. Just stay tuned for it, I suppose.

Pretty recently hit 200 posts here on this blog, right around the same time as we hit the second anniversary of this black hole for my thoughts existing. That’s pretty awesome, I think. Sure some of that content might have been a little same-y and formulaic over this last year in particular, but I think I’ve got some stuff working in my head to mix it up more, so we’ll see if things get more abundant from here on out.

To be completely honest, it might not get much more exciting than what I’ve had up to this point until I’m out of school and have less diverse responsibilities weighing my time down, but even then I’m going to keep working at it. I do enjoy having this repository for my thoughts, after all.

That said, I think I’m kind of out of thoughts to deposit for now. I don’t have much to say in this self-congratulatory twenty-first trip around the sun pat-on-the-back of sorts. I’m just excited to see where things go from here.

I’m hoping you’re just as excited to stick with me on the journey! Here’s to another 21, and then some.

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February 12, 2018 Article Published

So my original plan was to get this little post out before my first two classes of the day. Unfortunately, I wound up having a more stressful morning than anticipated when I realized at about 10 a.m. that I had forgotten to print the assignment that was due in my 11 a.m. class.

Needless to say, after that there was a good amount of time spent running around in the library working to print the assignment out in time. Didn’t really help that the two computers I tried first did not work, which just kind of compounded the stress.

Seriously Pollak Library, I really appreciate your open computers and print options, but I would appreciate them a lot more if everything worked correctly.

But that’s enough complaining for now. After all, anyone who isn’t reading this post while it’s still timely and relevant would even notice the later posting time.

So let’s jump into the meat and potatoes: Academic Senate.

Though I had not expected to go to last Thursday’s meeting until… Well, last Wednesday I believe… It wound up being a relatively straight forward meeting to cover.

After about 45 minutes worth of continuing the conversation started at the body’s last meeting that covered department faculty evaluation committees (a topic I might dive into once more concrete decisions are made), a substantial portion of the time was spent discussing changes to university general education policies.

See, last year CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White put out an Executive Order requiring sweeping changes to general education policy across the system as a means of improving student graduation rates. Some of these mandated changes were widely disapproved, such as the elimination of certain remedial courses, but others seem to have more positive ramifications.

One of those changes was the primary subject of one of the two documents that were amended at the meeting: University Policy Statement 411.202 to be exact. There was a back-and-forth about clarifying the fact that with the Chancellor’s changes, you can take a given upper division course so long as you’ve taken (at a minimum) the “golden four” core competency classes and whatever prerequisites are listed, whereas before you needed to have at least 60 units no matter where you were in terms of preparedness.

The second document, University Policy Statement 411.200, essentially just received a clause saying that all general education courses which haven’t been offered in at least five years must have their GE status taken away. A smaller change, but one that I believe will just make the classification process easier, if I were to postulate on the subject without actually doing any interviewing about it.

Really, that’s about the breadth of what I covered. Governmental meetings are always a little complicated and dry, even at the school-level, so I’m overall I’d say I’m pretty proud of how my piece turned out. Granted, there were some edits I had to make on it that I personally feel detracted from the story a little bit, but that’s just part of the job in the end.

Luckily, online I was able to rectify some of those issues by linking out to all the documents specified in the piece. So check out the story online to see it with some extra research detail involved.

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

Seems like Academic Senate is slowly but surely becoming my beat this semester, so we’ll see how that goes going forward.

Entertainment Reporting Beat Overview

Our first assignment for Comm 436 had my class sent out into the wild, wild west of the internet to compile a list of basic details and possible future stories that we can examine throughout the semester.

The professor recommended we utilize our research as the first piece of our compendium of paying attention to the entertainment world, so I figured I would do just that.

This little explanatory introduction is pretty much just here to frame things. I won’t waste too much more time with it, so that said: Enjoy the minor fruits of my labor.


The California Video Game Industry

Local, Major Players:

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Informational Websites:

Possible Story Ideas:

Introducing Communications 436

Introducing Communications 436

It’s been a fairly big week for my journalistic endeavors.

That goes beyond just reporting for the Titan, even if I spent a good amount of time taking pictures and getting content at the College Republicans club watch party for the president’s State of the Union address and later impressed myself by doing three successive interviews in a row on Thursday.

Probably the biggest thing that happened this week was the arrival of my Society of Professional Journalists card.

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I would show the front, but it has my identification number on it, so… Not giving that out.

Joining SPJ has been a long time coming. I meant to earlier, but I’ve always put it off from some combination of being too busy or not wanting to spent the money on membership.

Both admittedly lame excuses in retrospect, but what can I say.

I joined primarily to get in on the SPJ awards not too long ago, but I’ve also had the opportunity to help out with the local CSUF chapter SPJ club by tabling at DiscoverFest throughout the week.

Here’s me with my friend Megan, the president of our SPJ chapter this semester, picture taken by the Daily Titan’s co-illustrator Anita Huor.

Even if I probably burned myself out in the sun and ate one too many Starbursts for my own good, it was a pretty good time. Not only was it a nice opportunity to chat with some of my friends, it was also cool to talk with a couple of people interested in journalism – both print and broadcast.

But I will say it was lame that we were stuck off in a corner, so there weren’t quite as many people to talk with as we expected. Oh well.

While all of that is cool, obviously I’m doing this post for a slightly different reason if the title can be believed.

Which it can, coming from the one who wrote it.

One of the more interesting classes I’m taking this semester is Communications 436: Reporting on the Entertainment Industry. Admittedly a carryover from when I was shooting to be a Lifestyle desk assistant, this class was my main attempt to try covering new things in a field I’m interested in. Video games, movies… All that good stuff.

So far, it has also turned out to be one of the most interesting classes I’ve ever taken. It’s a three-hour class every Thursday night, where the first half of the class is a lecture into some aspect of the industry and the second half consists of a mock newsroom.

That mock newsroom, though we’ve only done one so far, lives up to the expectations the professor built as helping everything feel like the fastest three-hour class on campus. In essence, he splits the room into two teams and each team has to come up with a number of quick stories and a design for a specific news receptacle to create a finished idealized product in about an hour and a half.

Our first assignment was a newspaper’s Friday entertainment section, for example. He has also suggested there’s going to potentially be magazines, websites, blogs… So on and so forth.

The two teams pick out one editor and one designer, with everyone else serving as staff writers.

For the first mock newsroom, I was the editor, and it was really interesting to take my experience on the Daily Titan and sort of expand that into a taste of complete power over story choice and design, even if it just pertained to a small lab environment.

We put together a pretty sweet little paper too, I might add:

Look at those circles under my eyes… I should really get more sleep.

It wasn’t perfect, and we got some nice critiques, but it was definitely a fun hands-on experience I haven’t seen in any other course.

I didn’t bring up this class just to brag about how fun it is, however. In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a new posting category at the side of my blog for this class. That’s because one of our assignments throughout the semester is to keep something of a blog that compiles entertainment news related to beats we’ve been assigned.

So, over the next few months, I’m going to be putting out a couple of posts specifically related to this class. What the posts are going to be isn’t exactly concrete in my head yet, though I’m imagining some sort of listicle just pointing out a number of stories from the previous week.

The only one that is planned out is the first post, which I’m going to put out toward the end of next week as a means of gathering background knowledge on my beat (luckily enough, video games).

I just wanted to make this post to let you all know what will be coming. Who knows, maybe if I enjoy the practice enough, it’ll be something I continue on with. Only time will tell.

January 29, 2018 Articles Published

Happy windy Monday everybody.

Seriously though, for just a momentary how the sausage is made, I’m starting to write this as I’m walking from my parking spot in Lot A to my first class of the day at the Humanities and Social Sciences building (which for those of you who have not been to Cal State Fullerton, is a literal cross-campus walk) because I was so awe-struck by the force of nature on display today.

The wind was so strong that not only was it making it hard for me to open my door, but it also slammed the door shut behind me. Like actually slammed it. Probably could have hurt me if I was in the path of the door!

Don’t know why that struck me so poignantly today, but I felt it was worth noting before I got into my articles.

That said… Let’s talk about my articles published today.

Once again we had a weeklong issue, our last one before we begin daily productions next week. So once again I took the extra time to write two stories.

The first was a much quicker project. It was a crime story based on a tip we received from our Layout Editor Tracy. I talked with University Police Captain Scot Willey about it, and though he did not know a lot about the actual incident, we did talk a bit about the procedure and recommendations surround it.

Essentially, the police got a suspicious person call regarding a non-student in the Pollak Library who was believed to be watching pornography on one of the library’s computers. The officers who responded did not find anything necessarily suspicious, but the call was enough that they asked the man to leave and he readily complied.

No super huge crime drama here, but it does include a good couple pieces of advice that I think could be applicable even outside of our own personal University Police jurisdiction. Plus, in some roundabout way, I got to write about pornography in the school newspaper. So that’s a pretty special occasion in its own right.

If you want to read that article, check it out here.

The second piece I wrote was far more involved and frankly became one of my favorite articles… Well, ever really. But probably more for the intrinsic reasonings behind it.

A mainstay of our coverage of Cal State Fullerton on the Daily Titan, as I would assume stands for all college newspapers, is attending and deep-diving into the Academic Senate. It’s essentially a governing body akin to a City Council after all, just with more of a direct impact on the campus proper.

In the past our Academic Senate writers have not been… Fantastic, in my experience. That’s not to say they’re at fault necessarily, it’s a touch subject to jump into for someone with little-to-know governmental reporting experience – or reporting experience in general for that matter. However, because it has such an impact on the campus, I’ve always felt bad that it never seems to get the care and attention it otherwise deserves.

So I put my money where my mouth was and covered a meeting of my own this last week.

It turned out that I picked a good meeting to cover at that, since the main decision of the meeting was plenty interesting. Easily passed on the consent calendar was a proposal requesting that the Asian American Studies program on campus undergo an administrative change to become a full-on department in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Now, just because it passed at the Academic Senate doesn’t mean we have a new department already. The decision actually acts as more of a recommendation to pass the proposal, with the president’s office receiving the documentation to make a final decision sometime about a week after the meeting according to Academic Senate Chair Stephen Stambough.

Luckily, I had preempted that this decision would be the most interesting part of the meeting judging by the agenda we received ahead of time, and I spent some time doing interviews with people like the coordinator of the program, Eliza Noh, to get a better understanding of its history and why the faculty hoped to move it up to department status.

In essence it was presented that shifting into a department would create no new burden on the school because Asian American Studies already operates so closely to a department. It would mostly effect things like the professors’ letterhead and allow them to be more widely recognized as an official mainstay at CSUF.

The coordinator and Thomas Fujita-Tony, the liaison between Asian American Studies and the Academic Senate, were quite happy about the development. As was most of the rest of the chamber given their cheer when the decision was made.

Also, just as an extra teaser, this article had probably one of my favorite little scene openers ever. So if you want to see that or are just generally interested in a small dive into a program meant to flesh out otherwise probably dull meeting coverage story, check out my article here.

I also quite liked this one because I went out of my way to get some extra visuals for online only, so I consider it an extended cut compared to the print version.

As always, you can also see the full archive of my work for the Daily Titan over on the right.

Sports? On my blog?

Sports? On my blog?

It’s a rare occurrence I know, but frankly observing sports is a rare occurrence in my life in general, so it makes sense.

I have been known to enjoy a good Dodger game with my family or watch the Lakers on T.V. on occasion, but I’ve never proclaimed to be a sports nut in any respect. In fact, the Women’s Basketball game I went to tonight is the first sport game of any kind of that I’ve gone to during my nearly three year experience at Cal State Fullerton.

I’ve only been inside the Titan Gym only one other time before this, and that was after I first committed to CSUF. It was one of those “welcome to our school” pep rally sort of deals, but I don’t admittedly remember very much about it other than the fact that it was held in the gym.

Probably the only reason that sticks out in my mind is because that was my only experience in that gym up until now, since I’m thinking about it…

But that’s getting a bit too into the weeds on unnecessary information.

What is important right now is that I was in the gym for an actual for real game! As part of Kyle and Sarah’s new design for Comm 471 this semester, all of us staff writers are being required to cycle between the four main desks as dedicated writers for a couple of weeks at a time. That means for two week run times, each of us are going to be a dedicated part of the News, Opinion, Lifestyle and Sports desks.

It figures that an anti-sport kind of guy like me would get Sports desk first and foremost in that rotation.

Actually, it is a little funny how things worked out. Out of the seven or eight people in my rotation group, I’m the only person who isn’t already a sports junkie. So it’s a bit more of an uphill climb for me to get used to everything that’s going on than it is for everyone else in my group.

The nice thing is, getting used to things involves trying stuff out that I otherwise never would do on my own. Like going to a basketball game.

Hell I arguably got a cooler experience than most because I got to be credentialed for the game:

Plus I got to be court side at the game and sit in on our sports editor Jared’s interview with a couple of the players and the coach afterward in the conference room.

Really, although it was cool to check out a game and see some of the inner workings of writing a recap of a sporting event, I think I got a pretty clear understanding of why sports aren’t exactly my forte.

A good chunk of that was the predictable not-complete-comprehension of all the specific statistics and lingo involved with following sports for a living.

Seriously look at how many of these box score readouts they give out to the press. Not only are there a metric ton of them just for one game, but I honestly have no idea what I’m supposed to be gathering from any of them. I think I can figure out a little bit of what they say here or there, but until I get more used to reading them they mostly just look like a jumbled mess of numbers to me.

However, the reason that stuck out to me the most during this experience of physically being there was just… Generally how little I felt like I was focusing on the game itself compared to everything happening around it.Like yes it was engaging watching the players move back and forth and fall all over each other to an extent, but even so I seemed to be more curious about the people other than the players.Like for instance:I was watching and listening to the band quite a bit, both to essentially live tweet what they were playing to my band geek of a sister but also just to figure out exactly what they were playing and why we needed the live band if there was also going to be other artists DJ’d on the speakers.

I also found myself paying quite a bit of attention to the auxiliary cheer and spirit accompaniment. I had no idea they just sat at the side of the court waiting. What are they doing when they aren’t doing a routine? What are they thinking about? How do they keep themselves entertained if they aren’t sports lovers like myself and don’t want to watch the game?

Plus don’t even get me started on the person in the Tuffy mascot costume. I can’t even look at that thing without remembering my friend Harrison’s story about a Public Relations person trying to convince him that the mascot was a real elephant that didn’t have a person inside.Also watching the referees having to run back and forth all night alongside the players was pretty hilarious to me, honestly. I don’t know why, but I was thoroughly entertained just watching them and the people who came in whenever a player fell to sweep up and polish the floor again.

Then beyond that I was also doing some work on my phone at the same time, section editing stories and such, as I was listening in on the radio announcers sitting next to us who were talking live over the whole event. It’s always baffled me how they can follow a game and talk over it the entire time. Though I suppose that’s the same thing as half of the gaming YouTube personalities I watch… So I shouldn’t be that enamored by it.Anyway, I think that’s enough rambling for now. Long story short, I went to a sports game with the editor who’s a cool guy, had a pretty nice time and let my mind wander to all the extra things going on that I never would have noticed due to my general apathy.Should be an interesting couple of weeks as I try to figure out exactly how to cover something I have next to no experience with.Until then I have two articles getting published for this upcoming weeklong paper tomorrow, and a bunch of other work adjusting to all of my classes. So I’m going to head home and get started on most of that.Peace Fullerton, thanks for giving me the opportunity to get some insight on something new, and I’ll see you again tomorrow.

January 22, 2018 Articles Published

Just like that, the daily grind begins once again.

After our first official deadline night of the semester yesterday, I can definitely say that it was a strange experience to once again be sitting in the center of the room as an assistant. Probably the most off-putting thing about it is the fact that I feel more disconnected from the overall workings of the paper than I have in a long time.

Though I did personally get out at a reasonable hour.

Considering that’s going to be happening a lot more this semester, I suppose I can’t complain.

Plus, the usual positives of working at the Titan were at play as usual. Namely getting to spend time with my friends on staff, who for the most part carried over from last semester. In particular it was nice having lunch with our now Social Media Editor Lissete, who is at least one of the people on my list of those I’d like to spend more time with now that I actually have some free time available as an assistant.

I can also certainly never argue with the great feeling that comes with getting content out on that newsprint.

For this first weeklong issue of the semester, I wrote two pieces.

The first, published in the main paper, is an article about current president searches in the Cal State University system. The story idea was originally something I had been discussing with our advisor Bonnie toward the end of last semester when Mildred García announced she would be leaving. At that point, Bonnie had told me that there were four CSU campuses looking for new presidents all at once. I thought it was a really interesting story at the time, but unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to commit to it at that point.

So for our first issue this semester, I finally picked it up.

Granted, the first kick in the pants for me came thanks to a request from Dr. Sexton, who wanted to know the layout of presidents across the system for an article he’s putting together for the LA Times. Compiling that data for him offered me the perfect opportunity to take the work and use it for my own purposes.

After looking through that compiled data to sort out which schools were searching for presidents – CSU Bakersfield, Dominguez Hills and San Diego, for the record – I was also able to find a few other interesting details. For example, only three current CSU presidents started their tenure before 2012. That’s three out of 23, for those who don’t know.

This information is important because it effects CSUF directly. Our new president, Framroze Virjee (who also got a dedicated article in this issue that’s worth the read), is a temporary appointment until June 2019. One of the reasons why the search for the person coming after him doesn’t start until this fall is because the CSU wants to get the current three searches out of the way first.

With all that said, I don’t want to give away my entire article here and now, so go ahead and give it a look here if you want to see some more detail and my interview with a CSU representative. I sort of sat on the piece for a while, but I wound up really liking how it turned out – even if it was basically the sum of an hour’s worth of work particularly finished on the drive to Hof’s Hut on Saturday.

Don’t know why I felt the need to advertise Hof’s Hut, but there you go.

If I had to guess, I’ll probably be pursuing this topic (the president searches, not Hof’s Hut) more in the future.

The second article I wrote went in the special first issue insert, themed after technology this semester. The topic I chose means a lot to me personally: video games.

My article for the Tech Issue is more specifically about the fairly recent addition of gaming disorder onto the World Health Organization’s beta draft for the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases. Or the WHO’s ICD-11 in much easier, abbreviated terms.

This one is actually the longer of the two pieces I wrote, since it wound up being more like an interesting little passion project for me. I won’t delve too deep into it here since you can check out the article for yourselves, but essentially I laid out exactly what this disorder would entail if it’s added into the ICD-11’s finalized version, talked about some of the history of looking at video games in a critical manner through other organizations like the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 and addressed some of the potential consequences of putting out an official potential diagnosis.

My two interviews, one with a Mihaylo College of Business and Economics professor who specializes in technological addiction, and the other with a School of Nursing professor who specializes in behavioral disorders and substance abuse. The prior wound up taking the most space in the story because I had a long, involved interview with him, while the latter was a little bit more specialized in individual places because we had some issues scheduling our time to talk. Her interview was shorter as a result, but I definitely got some interesting information all the same.

If you want to check out that story, you can here. I’d highly recommend that one actually, in part because I got to do a really fun photo illustration to go along with it.

Essentially, I just brought a lot of my video games and accompanying memorabilia to school so I could do a photo shoot.

The photos turned our phenomenally well thanks to one of our two photo editors this semester, Gabe Gandara, who I remember having a good time with when he came with me to the ASI Board of Directors meeting where they discussed the Milo Yiannopoulos resolution a few months back. Those photos in the story are so good, in fact, that I’m considering using them for my own personal ventures.

We’ll see if that pans out.

Of course, if you want to see any of my pieces for the Daily Titan, you can check out my archive over on the right. Since I’m a part of 471 this semester, you can probably expect me to be writing a bunch of articles to fill that up more than it already is. These two are just the beginning, and I have at least two more slated already for the next two weeks that I have to start working on.

However, for now my priority is getting some rest so I can be prepared for the first day of school tomorrow.

Or… Today technically, since this is coming out the morning of the 22nd. But hey, the human brain works in mysterious ways, so from a temporal standpoint I’m going to write how I feel like writing.

With all that said, good luck to anyone getting their school life going again this week. May we all survive the inevitable slog that is the spring 2018 semester.

Work Experience Housekeeping

Work Experience Housekeeping

I have been meaning to do this sort of thing for a while. However, even though I’ve had a number of weeks off during Winter Break to edit my stuff before this, sheer laziness has been a hell of a driving force in keeping me away from doing even this simple task.

Yet after working on a wide-range of content across the board of organizations I split my time between this week (including a bi-weekly Gladeo meeting, ) I finally feel a little bit of that laziness melting away in place of the inevitable strung-out workaholic nature I tend to slip into during school semesters.

In an ironic twist, I decided to take a break from that job productivity I’m finally feeling to instead do something personally productive by updating my blog. Does that defeat the purpose of being productive by acting as a glorified variant of procrastination?

Well…

Perhaps.

What can I say, sometimes it helps me gain traction in one realm of work if I find that I can be productive doing something. Anything, really. Even if some people might think it’s just a distraction.

But I’m getting a little too deep in my mind’s weeds at this point. After all, this is basically just meant to be a signpost to advertise that there are more things to look at on my blog. So, what new things are there to look at on my blog?

I’ve done three things primarily:

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First, I adjusted my Daily Titan Article Archive page to reflect my shift in position this semester. It’s still a bit strange for me, even after a number of pre-production days, but after a year and a half I’m no longer an editor for the paper thanks to my need to take Comm 471. Instead, I’m an Editorial Assistant again.

Basically that encompasses the entire change. Until next week, when my first two articles of the semester are published, it shouldn’t see too much more activity.

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Second, I added a new page to serve as an archive of my involvement with BOOM California. As an assistant for BOOM a lot of my current work involves simply copy editing pieces that are slated to be published on the organization’s website, since there are no longer print publications being put out. Those edits don’t get explicit credit, so what I primarily focused on was adding links to the larger magazines that were printed and have my name attached.

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Third, I added a second new page to serve as an archive of my involvement with the Gladeo League. While pieces for Gladeo have a relatively slow roll-out, and I had a lull of writing for them as I went through my personal medical concerns, I stayed on with the group and will continue to work on profiles for them going forward. Thus, I decided it was about time to create a dedicated place to store everything I write. So far I have two highlights up, but there are two more I’m working on as of right now.

These new pages are available to check out now over on the right alongside the rest of my experience databases. The only thing I haven’t been able to figure out is how to properly adjust the categories in an order I’d prefer to see them in.

For some reason the default is alphabetical order, and for the life of me I can’t seem to reorder them in any other way. It’s a small logistical thing, but it bugs me. Even if I’m sure it doesn’t bug anyone else.

That said, as I mentioned before the spring 2018 semester begins next week. Though I suppose I didn’t quite write about everything I had looked to thanks to my aforementioned laziness – my feelings on Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon comes to mind – I did do a good amount of housekeeping that I’d wanted to over the break. In my opinion, this is a good capstone for that.

So as the semester begins, for anyone going back into the trenches with me, I wish you all only the best of luck.

 

Starting off the Spring 2018 Semester

Starting off the Spring 2018 Semester

Before I begin, I’d just like to take a moment to reflect on the fact that I told myself I would do a full week of blog posts to start off the new year and promptly dropped that burning ideation after one post talking about cleaning my room.

Nice going past Jason, your conviction astounds me endlessly.

That’s about enough self-flagellation for one day. This post is actually supposed to be at least somewhat congratulatory after all.

Today was the first day of training for the Spring 2018 semester of the Daily Titan, which means it’s time to begin the cycle anew.

This semester that phrase takes on a whole new meaning as I quite literally return to my DT roots. Like I’ve mentioned before I’m going to be taking Comm 471 this semester, and as a result I did not sign up to be an editor again. Instead I’m going to be an assistant because it offers me the opportunity to still be on the editorial board and cut down my work requirement for the class without being as big a time suck.

While I had been gunning for an assistant position at a desk like Lifestyle where I could get some more varied experience during my shortish break, we’re apparently somewhat short staffed this semester and as a result I was asked to help the news desk with my longtime expertise once again.

Though I’m admittedly a little disappointed at being pigeonholed to an extent, I really can’t complain about being well known enough for doing good work at my passion that I’m asked to go back and help out. The same thing actually happened last semester too when I was passed up for Managing Editor because of the lack of experience at news, so it’s at least nice to feel trustworthy.

On top of that, I am still going to be working with a great team, so it’s also hard to complain about that. I’m going to be an assistant alongside Breanna, who was one of my assistants last semester, and Brandon is coming back as the desk editor alongside Amy, who’s stepping up from being an assistant last semester.

Even though I’m apparently going to be on my own for part of every Tuesday shift thanks to certain scheduling conflicts, with that kind of team under the direction of Kyle and Sarah, it really does sound like it should be a good run of the paper.

I’d say the only thing I’m genuinely disparaged about is the fact that I’ll no longer get to experience that satisfying moment of switching the news desk email notifications off for the semester. Guess I’ll have to deal with incessant messages for just a little bit longer…

But that aside, I am ready to jump in again as we gear up for the semester starting in a couple weeks, and pretty soon I should update my archive here to reflect my different position. Today is only the first of three days of training I have this week (which compared to the five days editors have to go through is quite the blessing), so hopefully by the end I’ll be more prepared and back in a working mentality.

Which hopefully in the long run will encourage me to actually go back and finish more of these blog posts that I have sitting in my drafts.

#callback

Saying Sayonara to 2017

Saying Sayonara to 2017

Looking back at my 2016 end-of-the-year post before starting this one off was a pretty interesting little experience. Mostly because I reflected on the fact that last year was a pretty universally divisive time with a lot of personal accomplishment that made things worth it all in the end.

This year, I have essentially the same thing to say. Except I would argue that the divisive part of things had been turned up to 11. Plus, while things have been great for me, a lot of things also have not been so great.

Spoiler alert, I’m basically just ready for 2017 to end.

Unlike in last year’s discussion, I won’t go too far into detail about my video game playing experiences this year. I kind of already did it with my top 10 games list the other day, even if that was in order of my personal enjoyment rather than the chronological order I played things.

I’m going to just leave this off as a ‘check that list out here‘ note rather than talking too much more about it, especially since I’m probably going to do a few more video game-centric posts soon enough.

Namely tomorrow when Fire Emblem Heroes New Year units are released.

To cover all of my bases in this post just in case you guys don’t want to look back, just know that I didn’t play nearly as many games as I would have liked this year, and while I thoroughly enjoyed just about everything I did play, it’s a shame I couldn’t have done more due to my time commitments.

Speaking of, those time commitments wound up bookmarking my 2017 more than my video games did in that respect.

The Daily Titan has been the main driving force of that throughout the year. While last spring semester was my first time being an editor for the paper alongside Megan Maxey, I continued on in that role both semesters this year, only getting better and better at the job (in my opinion, at least).

During the fall semester, I worked together with Sarah Wolstoncroft – who had been one of my amazing assistants the semester before. Then this last semester, I worked together with Brandon Pho – who again had been one of my amazing assistants the semester before. Amazing how that pattern works out in the smaller College-level news industry, especially when you’re one of the younger starting people in the room to observe it.

Looking back at my archive, I’ve written a total of 40 stories between these last two semesters combined. That’s a lot of writing, even kind of overwhelming to think back to considering everything else I balanced, and there are some of them I’ll probably never forget working on.

A couple of articles were really serious last minute things I’ve had to do, such as our reporting the night of the Las Vegas shooting. A couple of them have been little passion projects for things like video games, such as my reviews of the Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga remake and Fire Emblem Heroes. I’ve even done a few things I never quite expected to do at this point in what is a burgeoning career, like writing entire articles off of my phone while translating documents at Downtown Disney. The policies put into place by President Donald Trump, as well as things like the CSU-wide tuition increase, played big parts in the overarching issues we covered.

However, I think the stories I especially won’t forget are the massive projects I helped lead during my time as an editor.

During the spring came the work we did on Homeless in OC, a series that blossomed out of the Daily Titan advisor Bonnie Stewart’s Investigative Reporting class where I got to participate in the all night Point-In-Time count and do extended research into the Anaheim shelter system, particularly under Mercy House.

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Spring was also the semester of the Eric Canin incident that shook up Cal State Fullerton. For those who don’t remember, at an anti-Trump rally early on in the year, an anthropology professor reportedly struck a member of the College Republicans club as both the protest and counter-protest made their way through campus. There wound up being many months worth of stories to follow as a political shitstorm erupted over the altercation, eventually resulting in the Professor coming back to teach as the verdict came out that he did strike the student, but there were enough caveats to the moment given it was his first offense that no harsh action was taken outside a few month’s suspension. That last story in particular was special for me in that our Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook reached out specifically to give us information ahead of time so I could write a substantial story over the summer wrapping things up.

Part of the Canin story involved me growing a close relationship with members of the College Republicans club, which was extra useful come the fall semester when I got to be the lead reporter in our work on Milo Yiannopoulos coming to CSUF.

Granted, that whole experience did kind of wreck my Halloween this year, but the aspect of working on and learning from such a high-controversy story was something I wouldn’t change for the world.

Plus, I got to be on NPR because of it, so I definitely can’t complain about that.

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The fall semester was also bookmarked by dealing with (current) University President Mildred Garcia. I got to be part of the team that did an interview with her toward the beginning of the semester, and I was also the person that covered the fact that she would be leaving at the end of the semester. In my opinion, it’s never a bad thing to build a good reputation with the higher-ups in an organization. Makes it easier to do things like get comments down the line.

Those big stories weren’t the only things that made this such a hard-working year for me. I also kept on with Dr. Jason Sexton as a part of Boom, which led to me becoming the inaugural editor for an offshoot publication called California Connections in the spring. That project did get off the ground, but most of the work in creating a publication is going to flourish in 2018, so stay tuned for that.

I also started on probably my first major internship over the summer by joining a non-profit organization called Gladeo. Gladeo’s goal is to create a database of business profiles and job descriptions that can all be in one place and help students decide what they want to do for a living. A pretty noble goal, and one that I likely would have benefitted from if I haven’t found my place as a Journalist.

Even if certain other events (that I’ll go into in a bit) got in the way of working hard for that group over the spring semester as well, I’m sticking on with them too and will continue to produce profiles as the organization revamps its web presence in the early months of this upcoming year.

There are still a few interviews I did with people who work at DreamWorks animation that I have to pull together into articles… But I will get around to that soon enough.

Among my journalistic ventures this year, I also got to do some cool things like visit the LA Weekly office. It was a great place and I got to meet some cool people as a result… It’s just too bad they were given a bad break just a few months later. It’s a shame, really. Especially since we know people who worked there personally.

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On top of that, I’ve also had a few other fun trips throughout the year. Revisiting Old Fort MacArthur Days comes to mind, as does events I’ve taken part in at places like The Autry Museum. Plus, I got to go to the Fox studio lot for a movie screening – though I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures there, unfortunately.

Being a journalist is only half of my professional moniker, however. The other half is being a student, and I have to say that my classes have been quite enjoyable this year… For the most part.

During the fall I took California Government and got a wider understanding of just how crazy things are in the old Golden State I’ve grown up in. I also took Primate Anthropology, which gave me a pretty deep appreciation of our mammalian ancestors that I never exactly expected to care so much about. My aforementioned Investigative Reporting class allowed me to work with Bonnie and other members of The Daily Titan and journalism majors in general to do some really fascinating and personally perspective-changing research into Homeless populations. Finally, I also thoroughly enjoyed my honors class, which delved into the history of the modern world from a deep perspective, offering in part some really interesting connections to today’s political and social workings.

When spring came along, for some reason I decided to kill myself further by kicking things up a notch and taking five classes.

I coincided my work on California Connections with an internship class out of the English college under the instruction of our internship advisor in Communications, since I was able to get extra credits toward my degree despite not being able to take the Comm-focused internship. Beyond that, I picked up my minor in psychology and jumped right in with a Statistics course (with its corresponding lab) and a course in Developmental Psychology. Both were undoubtedly great entry points into the minor… Even if I admittedly was not the strongest stats student, at least in part due to the fact that I wasn’t a huge fan of my professor. However, my Multimedia Journalism class under Bonnie once again gave me a great opportunity to practice doing video journalism, which at one point helped me bolster my working relationship with the Project Rebound program on campus, and my Junior Honors Colloquium course began me down the journey of preparing for my inevitable Senior Honors project.

Plus, I was in the same class as the president of the College Republicans club, which made things vastly easier to keep up on the Milo coverage than it otherwise could have been.

Sheesh, just writing all of that out was a bit exhausting. Like a lot of people have asked me in the past, I too kind of question how I’ve been able to do all of this with enough competency not to necessarily fall on my ass in any of it.

Who knows, maybe I’m just a bit better at this whole life thing than I give myself credit for.

Despite this wealth of academic and real-life opportunities that have flourished for me over the last year, not everything in 2017 has been all sunshine and rainbows.

Namely, health has been a major concern for my family all throughout.

A lot of the beginning of the year focused on some of my dad’s diabetic complications, which led to him being off his feet for a long, long time due to the introduction of a number of foot surgeries into his life. Luckily, he’s way better now and did not have to go through anything seriously traumatic, so he’ll be apt to tell you that the big take-away from it all was the ease that comes from now having a handicap permit.

My mom and sister also went through their own little arcs, the prior dealing with bronchitis and badly scraping up her knees and the latter dealing with tendinitis that has minorly inconvenienced her blossoming career in music.

However, the other big medical complication of the year came from one other than yours truly.

I haven’t exactly talked about this little chapter of my life too publicly because it was a very personal thing, but at this point I’m well past the blunt of it and figure now would be as good a time as ever to recount the details for posterity.

During a blood test as part of my routine check-up in September, the doctor found that my blood platelet count was abnormally, if not dangerously low. When that result continued to show itself, I was sent to a Hematologist, where we tried a number of treatments to resolve the issue, such as taking steroids over a long period of time in hopes of correcting what was believed to be a potential issue with an overactive immune system.

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When that didn’t show as promising a result as expected, I instead took part in an Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IvIG) treatment. After two days worth of a number of hours sitting in a chair, I wound up being in the lucky .01 percent minority that suffered from aseptic meningitis as a result of the treatment.

It was a viral form of the problem, which meant it wasn’t nearly as serious, life-threatening or contagious as a potential bacterial strain would have been. However, I landed in the hospital for a couple days as a result.

On the one hand, I will admit that it was kind of nice getting a reprieve from the world and some quiet time to catch up on work while I was there. Though, on the other hand, it obviously put a wrench in… Basically everything. Even after I got out of the hospital, where I got to try a bunch of new things like a spinal fluid tap, there was at least a week afterward that I still had to rest at home and couldn’t look in the light for more than a few minutes.

Once my life began to normalize again, I was still a little fuzzy-headed for a while, but eventually I got to a comfortable place again, where I continue to stay today.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that my blood platelet count normalized perfectly after the IvIG (a rather ironically perfect twist of fate I’d say), the number has fallen back down since. It’s an issue I might be dealing with for the rest of my life as things go, but for now I can happily report that things are going fine.

That long, drawn-out experience which interrupted a part of my 2017 was only one part of why I’d say things were so rough. Among them were the echo chamber of news that I now tend to subject myself to as a semi-professional journalist.

I don’t like to get very political on my blog here. Or anywhere, in fact. My whole choice in career is built upon the ideal that I should simply be a reporter of things, as objective as possible about as many things as possible. So, I’ll leave it at this. Watching things happen in the world of national politics that I don’t agree with has been a constantly draining force in 2017, especially given that it seems to be all we hear about day-in and day-out for months on end.

Though as usual things like video games and time with my friends are a great escape from that endless grind, as I mentioned before I’ve found myself busier than ever with the work that keeps me immersed in that world, so it’s been a fairly relentless cycle.

Even with all the negativity that has defined 2017 for me, however, I can’t help but continue to look optimistically into the future.

2018 has some big projects in the works, such as the hopefully successful publication of California Connections toward the end of this spring semester.

On top of that, I’m going to be working as a staff member of The Daily Titan through the journalism concentration capstone class, Comm 471. Alongside that opportunity for a break from the hard-working job of editorial board that I’ve hammered at for the last year-and-a-half, I’m also going to hopefully be an assistant on a more feature-focused desk to give me a better grasp of the newspaper as a whole.

Past that, 2018 should hopefully be a year where I find myself less downtrodden by things like medical concerns. With a Nintendo Switch in my possession for the whole year ahead, it should also be a good opportunity to try even more games should I find the time to do so.

As I like to get meta with this site as well, I’ve put together 103 posts throughout this year (this one included), and I’ve gotten a good chunk more views in the process.

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I’m looking forward to watching this little passion project of mine grow about as much as everything else, since it really has developed into something I enjoy doing. One thing I’d like to do in the coming year is hopefully diversify what I post just a bit more, but we’ll see what my time permits.

Lastly, for now at least, 2018 will also be the year that I turn 21. A typically sought-after time where I’ll finally be able to round-out the governmental privileges of adulthood like drinking. Though I don’t plan to do a whole lot of that, I admit I am looking forward to a certain sense of prestige that comes with it.

If you have any favorite, or I suppose not-so-favorite memories from 2017, feel free to let me know about them in the comments section. I’m hoping it’s been an overall happier year for all of you out there than it has been for me, since I’m just about ready to leave everything behind for something better around the corner.

Here’s to a Happy New Year for everyone who continues to stick around on this little journey I call my life!