Tag: Daily Titan

A Short Essay on Short Essays

A Short Essay on Short Essays

I don’t know why I insist on writing these posts after going to the gym lately, because really it’s just detrimental for my ability to imagine and write coherent posts.

Though perhaps not as much as the insufferable heat wave yesterday.

I’ll count my blessings where I can.

Speaking of that heat killing all of my motivation, it seems I’ve been fluctuating between work-focused and not at all work-focused quite a bit the past few days. After doing next to nothing yesterday, today I actually got my stuff together enough to be productive. Notably with a job application I’ve been working on that is, admittedly, a far-flung idea for me to feel completely justified talking about in-depth.

Doing that job application has gotten me thinking a little bit about one part of this app, and many others for that matter, that feels somewhat strange to me at the moment.

The personal essay.

I don’t typically put a lot of thought into the idea of writing essays. Growing up I put myself through the wringer of the Advanced Placement course pathway in high school, which included AP Language and AP Literature. We had to write a lot of essays in those classes to prepare us for the AP exams, so I was used to the idea.

Essays also continued to be synonymous with college courses. Every undergraduate-level class has some kind of writing requirement and all of my Communications courses are all about writing.

As a result, you would think essay requirements showing up in job applications would just come in stride.

Which, to be fair, they do for the most part. Whenever I’ve applied for the Daily Titan an essay has always been required, for example.

But for some reason the essay that was asked of me in this current job application stuck out as… The worst, most stand-out part of it.

It took me a little while to figure out exactly why. But I think the conclusion I’ve come to says something about me and the way I tend to approach work.

For me essays make a lot more sense in a job application when they ask for some kind of very specific information. Using the Daily Titan application as an example, the essay portion of that involves answering a couple of questions pertaining to the potential job.

What does the paper do well? What does it not do well? What can you bring to the job you’re applying for that would make it better?

Things like that.

Sure it’s arguably formulaic to go down this route, but the sense of direction those questions bring do make for a straight-forward task. Answering the questions, while utilizing them as conduits for inserting stories of one’s experience as a means of showcasing that individual’s abilities.

The application I’ve been working on doesn’t really have any sort of driving questions like this to give potential employees a sense of direction.

As far as premise goes, this application simply asks for an autobiographical essay to tell the hiring staff something that cannot be garnered from the surrounding questions in the application. Given the fact that it already asks for degree-earning information, references and work samples outside of the essay, that leaves a vague opening for what can be written.

That somewhat vague nature exacerbates a potential pitfall in writing the essay. Or at least it does in my head where I’m more than likely over thinking things, but that’s another story.

If you have an essay for a fairly serious job application essentially asking you to write about anything you want outside of your direct work experience, where is the line in terms of being too casual or not casual enough?

Obviously the whole thing can’t just be the tale of how you won X reward or accomplished Y task, but it’s also probably not great form to do something jokey or entirely non-serious since the serious aspects might be in one’s resume off the bat. Looking like you take the job not at all seriously while applying to it seems like a quick way to lose a potential job.

Now all of this is more of a theoretical thought experiment, as the pragmatic side of me has already sorted out the balance of serious-versus-personal qualities to write about. But seeing my personal preference lean so heavily in the direction of a structured, serious or even academic paper versus one that lets me express myself in an open, even goofy way is interesting. Introspective even.

Perhaps all those years of AP classes really did screw me up for the rest of my life, just like I joke about.

This seems like the perfect opportunity to ask an actually interesting question at the end of one of these blog posts. Where do you feel you stand on the spectrum I described here?

Do you prefer if a job (or anything for that matter) asks structured, serious questions of you? Or more open, vague questions?

Let me know somewhere on the internet, I’d love to hear it!

Home Improvisement

Home Improvisement

I just spent the last few hours locked in a small room with my family inhaling paint fumes, so excuse me if this post isn’t super verbose or coherent.

See, when Aly was about seven years old, she asked for a room that was pink-and-purple. Because when you’re that age everything is all about princesses and cute Disney stuff and she loved it.

But then she went full goth.

Then, shortly after that, she became a band geek. Who is also pretty much a goth still, just more deeply buried.

A deeply-buried goth band geek who, somewhere along the way, lost sight of her true purpose in life by giving all of her 3DS game cartridges back to me the other day during her room cleaning process.

Though that’s a tangent for another day.

Or at least just one to show her that I still talk about video games in every post she’s involved with.

The reason she was cleaning everything out is because all those life transitions I mentioned led to her eventually despising the pink-and-purple. So now that she’s finished with her summer Spanish class and has a few weeks before band stuff starts, she decided to finally go through with what she says has been a two-year-long planning process and start painting.

There she is.

Since I wasn’t doing too much today, I decided to let myself get roped into it.

Mom and Aly were up half the night last night starting on the base coat, this sort of grey-ish blue. I only came in this morning to assist, mainly getting those high up places that these other short people can’t.

We’re just starting to set up to do the lighter grey trim paint by taping up everything we don’t want to cover, so I figured it would be as good a time as any to just get this blog post for the day out of the way.

Seeing Aly’s determination, I imagine this task will probably be taking up the rest of my afternoon. Or if not, the rest of the day I’ll spend continuing to set up some interviews I’m finally lining up for Gladeo.

The whole thing is kind of funny to me, honestly. Can’t help but think of my buddy Spencer, the first news editor for the Daily Titan when I arrived on that scene.

Before he graduated and took a mantle reporting full time for Voice of OC, he was freelancing some while also working as a house painter.

Obviously this situation is not at all similar to that one, mostly considering I’m not getting paid for my time.

But what can I say, there’s still some sort of strange feeling of kinship there.

A Novel Writing Tool

If there’s one thing I haven’t talked about nearly enough around here, it’s Fire Emblem.

Nah, just kidding. I talk about that way too much.

But I don’t talk about my Senior Honors Project as much as I probably should. Doing so would probably encourage me to make more progress than I have been.

Though that said, I’m here today to talk about the progress I have made, because I have honestly done a good bit outside of hunting for a mentor to approach once the semester kicks off. Like I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I wanted to ensure I had some sort of basic product to approach my future mentor with as a showing of faith.

That’s meant interacting with some writers to know exactly what a fictional novel’s book proposal might look like so I can emulate it.

But that’s also meant working on actually starting to lay out and write my novel. Characters were the most difficult hurdle for me to get over, as I had a general idea what kind of plot line I wanted to go with but no serious image for who would be going through it.

Since passing that hurdle I’ve made it a good chunk of the way through my book’s first chapter. I’m hoping to at have at least two done as an example of the eventual overall product.

Outlining has been rather important to me on this current venture. I’ve attempted to write books before you see, but most of them falter when I get less than a chapter in because I don’t actually have a clear idea where I’m going with it. Usually my outings have begun with a vague idea of something that sounds cool with no substance around it.

Also they’ve usually started with the amnesiac protagonist cliché.

I’ve come to see the error of my ways. This book does not start that way, I assure you.

To help avoid a faltering in my progress and keep my thoughts better organized, I’ve turned to a new tool that mom introduced me to after using it for her editing work.

She actually wrote her own blog post about this ‘Master Outlining and Tracking Tool,’ but I wanted to give it my own separate endorsement because it has been a really great thing for me personally and I figure it might be for some of you out there too.

The full, in-depth explanation of how the tool works (and a place to download it) is here on the creator’s website. It undoubtedly does a far better job explaining all the intricacies than I could right now in my Hollow Knight-ed daze, so it’s worth going right to the source.

But I figured I shouldn’t cop-out entirely on this blog post by just pointing to other blog posts. After all, there are many different things in this outlining tool, and I’ve primarily been using only a few of them.

Most notably, like I mentioned, is the story outlining stuff.

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Surprise, an actual sort of sneak peek of part of what I’m planning. Don’t tell nobody, though!

It’s honestly hard to explain how invaluable this kind of section is for someone like me. Out of all the words of advice that the Daily Titan’s advisor Bonnie has given out for improving writing in the three years I’ve known her, the one nailed into my head the hardest would have to be the idea that a story should be able to distill down into a sentence.

There are so many stories for the newspaper I’ve written that have been far better once I knew how I wanted to focus them down.

Thus I’ve been approaching my basic outline here with the same mindset. If I’m able to distill the story down into just a sentence, both for the overall product and the individual chunks of that product, then I can more easily stick to one idea and run with it.

Then there’s the characters, both keeping track of how many are floating throughout the story as a whole and accounting for individual details of the characters in question.

This tool offers both:

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I haven’t personally written out the details for my characters yet since I’ve been focused on the outline. Consider this a secret surprise for later!

There are lots of other things that are helpful in this tool as well.

Tabs to keep track of what different plots are intersecting when.

Tabs to track word count per chapter.

Tabs to organize what chapter hosts what information.

It’s just… Really good stuff. I don’t know what else to tell you guys.

Check it out, use it if you need help keeping organized like me, support the creator… And thank my mom. Because she’s great and finds some cool writing/editing stuff in her free time.

Receiving the Carl Greenberg Scholarship

At first, I figured today was going to be a day where I would talk all about the trailer that was dropped about the upcoming Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu & Eevee games.

But something much more important came up after I started writing that which feels like a better conversation topic for the day. So sorry Pokémon, you’ve been sidelined.

Today I received word from the Scholarship Chair of the Society of Professional Journalist’s Los Angeles branch that I have been awarded the Carl Greenberg Scholarship for Political and Investigative Reporting.

Frankly, that’s pretty kick-ass and I’m excited about it!

According to the SPJLA website, the scholarship is “awarded to a college student pursuing investigative or political reporting,” named after a LA Times political reporter “famed for being singled out by Richard Nixon as the only reporter who covered him ‘fairly.'”

So not only am I excited about the fact that I won something I applied for kind of out of the blue — mostly as something to do early on in the summer when I was sitting around — but I’m also humbled at the fact that I’ve been recognized to sit in a pantheon which sounds so prestigious. Helps give some perspective to the work I’ve had the pleasure of doing, and all those other clichés that must be expected from an awards acceptance speech of sorts.

Though to be completely honest, the $1,000 that comes with it certainly helps pique my interest.

What can I say, prestige is nice and all, but so is food and gas when you’re a broke college student.

As are plenty of new video games coming soon, but don’t tell the nominating committee that.

In celebration of my award, I figured I would throw out this short post as both a way of logging the fact that I earned this recognition and as a way of slyly promoting myself.

You’ve all seen those articles out of major newspapers that showcase stories which received accolades. Hell, I even wrote an article in that vein for the Daily Titan at the end of the Spring 2018 semester.

So consider the bottom of this blog post one of those for me. I submitted three articles alongside my scholarship application, and I’m going to link out to each of them here.

Before I do, I just wanted to thank the SPJLA Scholarship Chair Richard Saxton, who helped let me know what I needed to do to apply, and all the other members of the Scholarship Committee for this awesome opportunity. Here’s to many more hopefully coming in the near future!


This article has arguably been one of my proudest achievements as a journalist thus far. That could be said for most of the stories in this small list alone, sure, but there’s so much history to my coverage of Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit to CSUF that I consider it a saga.

Kicking the whole thing off was an article that was weeks in the making. It began as simple rumors that supposedly there were plans in the work to bring the conservative provocateur to campus based on a petition online to keep controversial figures off campus. Based on that rumor I talked to a myriad of sources and eventually put out this fairly large piece covering the entire process of how one can bring a speaker to campus in light of the confirmation that Yiannopoulos’ visit was in the works.

And that isn’t even going into all of the coverage of the Canin scandal from the semester prior that helped build my relations with the College Republicans Club enough to help them trust my reporting.

Even during that initial coverage I knew the plan was to bring the man to campus on Halloween. At the point this initial piece was published, however, I kept that to myself in case the reporting of that information changed the plans at hand in any significant way.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Our semester was thus far filled with coverage of Yiannopoulos’ visit from any conceivable angle from myself and other members of the news desk staff. Eventually that culminated in a massive three-story package of a paper that went on to receive a special edition reprint, got me a talking head spot on NPR’s ‘Take Two’ and earned a number of accolades at the most recent LA Press Club Awards.

Plus Milo himself said on Facebook that he liked how balanced I was with the story on his speech. Never would have expected that, but it’s something I’ll take on as a badge of pride considering I didn’t get that praise while also upsetting the other side of the aisle.

I could talk about this article all day, but then we’d be here all day. Nobody really wants that.

So check it out if you haven’t, and see all of the reporting that emerged as a result while you’re at it.

My coverage of Project Rebound goes back a ways. Multiple semesters, in fact, unlike the one-semester shots of the other articles on this list.

I was the person who covered the story when the program, which helps offer previously incarcerated individuals an opportunity to earn their degrees and avoid recidivism, first came to campus. At that point I made friends with the program’s director, Brady Heiner, and its brand new coordinator, Romarilyn Ralston.

At least once a semester I try to go back and see the Project Rebound folks because, despite obviously being objective in my reporting, I do feel the cause is an important and righteous one.

The story I used for this scholarship application is my most recent piece about the program: A profile of its coordinator, Romarilyn.

It started as an assignment for my Multimedia Journalism class, and the actual meat of where it originated comes in the form of the video I produced alongside the written article. It’s embedded within the story if you haven’t seen it, and it’s probably my most proud achievement in a multimedia realm.

Though that being said, her story is also incredibly powerful, and certainly one of those stepping-stones that I would argue got me more invested in the idea that Features are a powerful tool for telling other people’s stories more than they are extra avenues of reporting.

Another piece stemming from my work with the Daily Titan’s advisor as a part of her Investigative Reporting class, the homeless coverage I was a part of is another ‘saga’ in my reporting experience thus far that I remember fondly.

Certain specific events, like our coverage of the Point-In-Time count toward the beginning of that semester, are things I’ll never forget.

However, the coverage of Mercy House I did alongside Roxana Paul is another thing I’ll always hold dear. It fits into a similar vein as the Romarilyn story I talked about above, as it gave a hard news-focused kid the opportunity to do slightly more Features-based coverage by actually going out and talking with some of the homeless population in Orange County.

Yet it was also a story steeped in hard news, covering the numbers with how much help is available in the County and talking to the people who provide the aid on the ground.

There are plenty of other elements I could dive into regarding this story. It was one of the first time I took pictures for my own article, it had graphics and other multimedia elements, it was part of a wonderful series put together by a group of really talented reporters. On top of that, it helped me out further last semester when I assisted with the coverage of Santa Ana clearing out whatever homeless population was living along the riverbed.

It’s another story I would consider one of my most in-depth and powerful. So read it if you haven’t, and check out the other Homeless in OC coverage the Titan did as well!

May 9, 2018 Article Published

Welcome to the part of the semester where my stories are written on borrowed time.

Not because I’m dying, of course! Though with finals around the corner it certainly feels that way…

No, I would consider this piece written on borrowed time because, frankly, I was planning on being done writing for the paper this semester. More time to focus on the aforementioned finals along with projects and all that good stuff.

But when the call came over Slack to help cover an ASI meeting during a time I had available, I couldn’t resist the allure of extra points.

Okay that’s not true, I have more than enough points for the semester. It was mostly a feeling of obligation not to let the news desk fall apart without a story.

Despite the fact that I had to come in early for the two-and-a-half hour meeting, followed by another two straight hours of hardcore writing focus that really burned me out, I’d say it was pretty worth the ride.

This meeting was the last one for the 2017-18 academic year, so it was a huge housecleaning bonanza. Seriously, they passed 20 items ranging from resolutions supporting or denouncing things to bylaw changes.

Because of the huge range of topics covered at the meeting, there were a bunch of people there that made it more interesting than such a long event otherwise would have been.

I got to hand out a bunch of business cards for future sourcing and say goodbye to some members of the Board that I’ve talked before to who are graduating.

Plus, it does help that some important things went on at the meeting. In the story, I mainly focused on the fact that $12,000 were allocated to the Tuffy’s Basic Needs Center, a new firm was confirmed that will perform audits on ASI for the next three years, it was made easier to recall student government leaders and some policy statements were reformatted.

However way more happened at the meeting that I just didn’t have the space to focus on outside of a listicle at the end. For example, they supported my somewhat-consistent beat material Project Rebound through a resolution. That was pretty cool to see!

On top of that, they passed a resolution supporting victims of gun violence, approved the use of a consent calendar for future meetings and just so much more.

I also had a chunk of my article originally allocated to the graduating members passing the torch along to the upcoming leaders… But again, spacing required that be taken out.

It’s too bad, because I had a nice exchange where the current Board chair Nicholas Jakel reflected on lessons he’d learned, followed by the upcoming ASI President talking about lessons he’s taking from people who are leaving… But hey, that’s the business.

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

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.

April 30, 2018 Article Published

So fair warning, this story feels like it’s probably the most self-serving thing I’ve ever written and I don’t have too much to say about it.

As I’m sure anyone who follows my exploits on this blog knows, I spent a good amount of time this weekend at awards banquets (the Comm Awards and SPJ for those who missed out). That time I spent was actually just the tip of the iceberg as far as what the Daily Titan has seen this year in terms of awards, however.

Despite the fact that I would argue the whole exercise of having someone write an article about awards who has been involved in said awards seems a bit conflict-of-interest laden, we were inspired by papers like the New York Times who always point out stories they’ve won awards for and decided to do it ourselves.

Naturally I was thrown the piece on deadline since I was the news assistant on shift.

Overall it wasn’t a difficult story to write. The really difficult part was compiling the list of every award we’ve won over the last year or so. Forty is the magic number, for anyone curious.

Yours truly is involved in a number of them.

However the stand-out award was easily the Hearst that our former Sports Editor Bryant Freese won for the story on a former women’s basketball coach that he essentially got fired for being bad. While you’re over on my article please check that out, it’s definitely worth the read.

I say that genuinely too. It’s probably one of the three sports stories I’ve read in the last… Seven years of doing journalism.

Anyway though, that’s enough plugging someone else. I’m here to plug me.

If you want to see me fellate our newspaper and talk about things I’ve won and things my colleagues have won, you can check it out here. It’s actually pretty worth it to see the list of everything, which my editor Amy and I used as an opportunity to link out to all of the stories involved.

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

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.