Tag: CSUF

Am I Uncomfortable with Silence?

Am I Uncomfortable with Silence?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The laundry basket makes for a convenient pedestal.

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

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

Sound. Audio puns. You know the drill.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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May 3, 2018 Article Published

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where do I even begin with this one.

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

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

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

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

But that’s another story.

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

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

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

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

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

I promise.

Second on the docket was a piece about food poisoning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Awards Weekend part two

Awards Weekend part two

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I just really dig it, okay?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But you all understand my sentiment.

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

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


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

Makin’ that cash money

Makin’ that cash money

[Now last night because I wrote this rather slowly] I was honored to be invited to the Cal State Fullerton Communications Department Awards, where I received the $1,000 Jay Berman Daily Titan Scholarship.

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Yeah, that really just about sums it all up. Fastest blog post I’ve ever written.

Good night everybody.

Okay fine, I can’t just leave it at that. But I am pretty tired so I’ll aim to keep it concise.

I took my Mom to Fullerton this afternoon for my 4:00 p.m. class because she was my +1 at the 6:00 p.m. awards.

That’s probably a good place to start, even though I don’t have too much to say about it since I wound up having to go down into the basement of College Park and couldn’t hang out with her.

After getting my full ensemble on in the parking lot, we took arguably the best photo of myself I think I’ve ever seen. It’s the featured image here, but here’s the full shot too:

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Looking good, me. Looking good.

The awards took place in the Titan Student Union Pavilions (just across from the Mammoth fossil in the lobby, which we also got a photo with).

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Slightly blurry while blown up, but it’s still nice.

The three-hour event actually ran well on schedule all things considered, so it felt like the smoothest awards ceremony I’ve ever been to. The first hour or so was dinner as the large banquet hall filled in.

I’m no Instagram food blogger so I didn’t actually get a photo of the dinner spread. It was nicely catered, though. Chicken, mashed potatoes, bread, salad and three kinds of cake. Nothing too unusual and not necessarily stellar, but it was passable.

The cake was real good though, I’ll give it that much.

All three of the center tables right up by the stage were reserved for Daily Titan staff and guests, so we had a pretty nice view all night and were able to all gather together as the well-dressed clique we were.

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See? Aren’t we all perdy? Us journalists clean up nice apparently.

As far as the actual awards themselves go, I don’t have too much to say. Obviously I’m not here to summarize two hours worth of accolades that mostly went to people I don’t know.

In terms of the people I do know, I have to give some love to our current Editor in Chief Kyle for grabbing a bunch of recognition for his leadership, our current Managing Editor Sarah for her super high graduating GPA, News Editors Amy and Brandon, Web Editor/Clickbait God Harrison, Advertising Director Niko, my ex-News Editing partner/veteran Megan and, of course, our ex-EIC Zack for being my Berman Award buddy.

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Hoo boy, that’s a lot of people… Hopefully I didn’t forget anybody from the group up above.

Ah, wait I did forget somebody. Arguably the most important person in relation to our experiences on the Daily Titan:

That’s right, our advisor Bonnie got the love she absolutely deserved tonight. If there’s anyone I could think of that deserves a Distinguished Faculty Member award, it’s undoubtedly her.

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Don’t we look cute together?

I know I keep bringing up how everyone looks. What can I say, I think we all looked great in our cocktail attire tonight.

The other stand-out thing from tonight tied back to our Emcee, Henry DiCarlo. He’s an anchor for KTLA 5 and a Daily Titan alum who essentially wound up being a glorified raffle machine for the ceremony, handing out prizes a number of times throughout the event to break up all the awards.

It’s going to sound ridiculous without having been there, but he helped Del Taco become a meme.

That’s right, Del Taco. The fast food Mexican joint.

Del Taco was one of the sponsors of the night (with Chief Marketing Officer Barry Westrum in the room) and happened to provide a lot of gift cards to be given away. When the first one was announced, however, Niko made such a huge outcry of excitement that DiCarlo picked up on it and ran with the moment.

From there, every single raffle prize had an aside related to Del Taco in some way or another, and it resonated quite well with the audience.

Extra shout out to Mia for really being that perfect hype man.

Now that, I believe, is all she wrote. Like I started off this post saying, I was honored to get invited to the ceremony, and I’m hopefully looking forward to coming back next year as well!

However, until then I can still look forward to the Society of Professional Journalists award ceremony on Saturday where I am also slated to win something.

Busy weekend.

April 23, 2018 Article Published

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

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

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

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

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

Insert obligatory Star Wars prequel meme here.

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



Editor’s Note:

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

 

April 10, 2018 Article Published

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

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

That said.

Yesterday I was super busy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 2, 2018 Articles Published

I have an unexpected two-for-one deal for everyone in the audience today.

That’s right, one newspaper, two Jason-branded stories. Deal of the century folks, I can tell you that much now!

… Okay, so I guess that’s not really a novel situation for me to be in all things considered, but it really did come up at the last-minute in today’s case. See, it all began with an unfortunate bit of timing.

Though it wasn’t exactly ‘unfortunate’ for me necessarily. But I’m overly qualifying each statement at this point so I’ll stop fooling around.

Last Friday, my family had plans to go see the new Steven Spielberg film “Ready Player One.” We all absolutely loved the book, so it has been on our list of things to do together pretty much since the film was first announced. Our tickets were purchased well in advance…

But then my Dad got stuck with work at the last-minute. Since he couldn’t go, my sister and Mom didn’t want to go either. The only issue with that was I had already promised our Lifestyle editor Hannah a review of the film. Plus we had four tickets already bought.

So I did the next best thing and brought my friends to a free movie.

As much as I wound up being disappointed that I couldn’t gush about how much I liked the movie with my family that night, it was a pretty dope day hanging out with my friends, playing video games and seeing a movie.

Also, as I just mentioned, I really liked “Ready Player One.” It’s not exactly a heavily story-driven film by any means, and the actors aren’t anything to write home about… But visually the film is just gorgeous, especially for the way it diversified each world the heroes travel between.

Plus, despite not exactly being super accurate to the book, the different take on Cline’s overall framework is pretty cool in its own right, so I’d argue the movie is a perfect companion to the book rather than being a replacement for it.

Sort of like the characters going through similar situations, but in alternate universes. That’s the best way I can think to put it.

I obviously don’t want to play all my cards here and not direct you right to the review, so you can see my thoughts on the film through this link here. All I’ll add at this point is that I highly recommend seeing it just for an enjoyably pretty moviegoing experience.

Especially with the Stanley Kubrick scene in the middle of the film that just continues to blow my mind with how gorgeous it was.

However, as promised, I still have more to go into.

See my first day back from Spring Break in the newsroom was a busy one. I was essentially juggling five different things all at the same time.

Not only was I fact checking and section editing stories as usual, I was also helping to set everything up for my movie review, transcribing out a 47-minute-long interview for a profile I’m working on (more to come on that soon enough), studying for two exams I have this week and working on a completely different story I was thrown at the last-minute.

Over the break, a 19-year-old man who does not attend CSUF was visiting some friends in the University House apartments near campus. At some point, for one reason or another, he fell off the third floor balcony and was hospitalized in a  “critical” but not “life threatening” condition.

Even though the event happened early on into the break, our advisor wanted us to do some sort of follow-up. That responsibility went to me.

I tried to get in touch with our University Police department, but they were not involved in the case and directed me to Fullerton Police.

So I called Fullerton Police and had to cycle through multiple different departments, likely because people were off thanks to Easter. Eventually I did manage to get in touch with Sergeant Dan Castillo, who gave me some real basic information but directed me to the officer who was a watch commander that night.

A few hours later, when Lieutenant Michael Chlebowski was in the office, I called back and talked with him for some more specific details about the case and why the Fullerton Police won’t be following up on it.

It was an easy 300 words to write, and even then my editors cut it down quite a bit from the looks of the final piece, but I can’t really complain. With Comm 471, easy points are easy points.

If you want to read that story in its entirety, check it out here.

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

March 21 and 22, 2018 Articles Published

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God am I looking forward to Spring Break.

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

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

March 14, 2018 Article Published

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

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

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

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

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

Long story short, I did not.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 12, 2018 Article Published

Here we are at last. This is the story that quite literally ran me ragged last week.

To get to why it was such an exhaustive one however, we should probably start from the beginning. So settle in for some storytelling.

The point of origin for this article came while I was at the Associated Collegiate Media convention (about two weeks ago now? Geez, time sure does fly…) and got a text from my honors program friend Mimi. She told me that during a meeting between campus sports clubs, everyone aired a ton of grievances against the Athletics Department about issues like field access for their games and practices.

As much as I was just chatting with her about it casually, my mind was working overtime  thinking about the fact that angry students meant a great story opportunity. To be fair, I do think that was the point of her telling me, so I don’t feel that bad about work taking over from there.

To start investigating the issue, I set up an interview with the sports clubs coordinator Lydia Ayala. We talked for about an hour, and all was fine and good… But then she dropped a bombshell on me.

She let me know that she was planning on resigning because she hadn’t been able to make much of an impact on the kinds of issues we were talking about.

After talking with the Advisor, the Editor in Chief and Walt Baranger – our resident ex-Daily Titan and ex-New York Times expert – we kind of decided that we should try to put something out before Friday to preempt her announcement.

Now, for context, we came to that decision at about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. To preempt her announcement, we would have to go to print (online) by the end of the day Thursday, since the Inter-Club Council meeting where she was going to make her announcement was at 1 p.m. Friday.

Considering offices on campus close at 5 p.m., I really did have my work cut out for me.

For the next two days, I spent literally all my time eating, drinking and living this story. I ran back-and-forth across campus like five times easily each day and only got about an hour of sleep in between days. Seriously, I was up until ~7 a.m. Thursday morning just to transcribe interviews and write.

Luckily I had some help with other assistant friends like Kat Padillo and Brian Alvarado, so the work wound up being manageable.

Unfortunately… Timing was not on my side. Basically our entire editorial staff was in New York for a conference, so I really wasn’t able to get much attention for section editing and publishing the story. It was a shame, especially given the insistence of the advisory team I had helping me out and the amount of work I put into getting everything (I had like five interviews by the end of Wednesday, eight by the end of Thursday).

But that’s just how the business works I suppose.

When the pre-event reporting plan went out the window, I instead focused on the Friday event itself. I went with my camera to record video, I live tweeted while I was there and I asked our Photo Editor Gabe to come help me out.

In my general print-centric media ineptitude, I inevitably screwed up the multimedia aspect I had hoped to get. But I did some good live tweeting and Gabe got nice photos, so once I adjusted my story for the new time frame and added in the pictures and such it was all good to go.

I had also wanted a graphical element, and I had one of our Illustrators, Anita, working on that, but it was deemed to be “not visually appealing enough” so we cut it. I personally would have liked to have it there just as extra information for our readers, but I guess that’s just the price of not being at the top of the totem pole.

In the end, despite the heartache and exhaustion that came with this story, I think it turned out quite nice. After all, our job isn’t really about the struggle we go through to get the news out.

It’s about telling the news. Standing with the people when they have grievances and holding those they feel are against them accountable.

From that perspective, I would argue this is one of the most important stories I’ve written. It has plenty of opportunities for follow-up pieces as well, so long as the sports clubs feel comfortable working with me to get out their specific troubles.

With that said, if you want to read this 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!