From the state of this blog currently, I imagine some of you think that I totally dropped off the grid and lost my way in the world of Pokémon, never to return to this mortal realm.
That’s not totally inaccurate, honestly.
However, Ultra Moon isn’t the only thing that’s been taking up my time. Yeah, I have been spending extra time carefully combing through it than usual, absorbing everything that’s different from the original games (something I’m sure I’ll talk about eventually), but my Thanksgiving Break had a good amount more to it.
I cleaned my room for the first time since the summer, which was a great personal accomplishment. It seriously needed it.
I got ahead on a bunch of assignment for school, including a video project I had to come to campus to work on despite it being a week off.
I had a lovely Thanksgiving feast at my Aunt’s house, along with a few of their family friends (including a particularly interesting Egyptian man who had to escape as a refugee during the Arab Spring crisis, super cool guy).
There were also a few things I’m sure, but honestly those were the major highlights I can think of, since the rest was relaxing and catching up on some much needed sleep.
One thing I didn’t do that I had wanted to was write a few personal or more fun things here on my blog. I’ve been sitting on an idea for a Duel Links topic that’s been mulling over in my head for a few months, there’s some stuff for Gladeo and my work with Boom I’ve wanted to update for a long time and I figure it might be fun to do a ‘what I want for the holidays’ list given that Hannukah starts on Dec. 12 this year.
But I just never got around to it. Unfortunately, I might not have that much time to get to it in the near future either, since these last two weeks of the semester are going to be rather hectic with projects and exams. So, I at least wanted to put out something quick now to mention that things are probably going to be quiet for a bit.
… Unless I publish a story, of course. Or wind up having a 3 a.m. Fire Emblem Heroes binge again, which may end up happening soon with some big things on the horizon there.
Speaking of publishing stories, I actually wound up writing three articles just before Thanksgiving Break began. I meant to write something talking about it earlier, but like I said… Being lazy and forgetful came along with my relaxation.
Figured at the very least I should give the articles a little lightning round now in case anyone is curious:
My friends at Project Rebound invited me to a luncheon celebrating a new donor and bringing in the holiday spirit after I started working on my multimedia class final profile on the program director, Romarilyn. It was a nice little event that I wound up writing about because we needed the space filled. You can check that article out here.
On the same night that I wrote about Project Rebound, there was a four-car collision outside of the College Park building. I was the only news desk representative in the room, so I was sent out to cover it. It didn’t wind up being a super weighty story, but we got comments from the police so it was something. At the very least, it was an interesting experience doing two deadline stories in one night. You can check that article out here.
The day after writing the last two articles, we got an email from Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook letting us know that the school had tallied up how much Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit cost them through things like security. I talked with him and University Police Captain Scot Willey to find out exactly how it all broke down and wrote up a nice, meaty little story about it that night. However, I wasn’t done yet, as I still wanted to get comments from the Vice President of Administration and Finance Danny Kim (since he was the guy every other source pointed me to). I managed to get in touch with him, so we updated that article the Friday before break with more detail. I even got my hands on his personal number for future use and found out that his office really liked the original article I wrote. Felt really good, honestly. You can check out that article here.
As usual, if you want to see my full archive of work for the Titan, you can look over on the right.
For now, I’m going to go back to work, since we’re on our first post-break deadline. Like I said, I just wanted to basically let the world know that I might not be all too active for the next couple weeks.
If anything, you can maybe check out my Twitter for a little more activity. I’ve been trying to do more there, and recently that’s included doing some Pokémon posts as I make my way through the game. So, you can see such gems as:
Don’t know what it is exactly about this semester that has led to me posting about all these fairly important things I’ve been working on later than I should… But in this case it’s probably safe to assume my statistics exam had something to do with it.
Anyway, that’s not important. What is important is the fact that I wrote another article the other day, an article on a pretty significant topic in fact:
CSUF’s president Mildred Garcia took a new job and announced she would be leaving her current position in January.
That’s right, even though Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit was our big thing for the semester, life certainly hasn’t slowed down all that much since he came. The departure of the campus’ head official after nearly six years would certainly qualify as big news too, I’d say.
As soon as we heard about Garcia leaving to take a job as the president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, we immediately hit up Strategic Communications to see if we could sit down with her and talk about it. Much to our surprise, she was available to do so despite things obviously being busy thanks to her announcement, and that afternoon I went up to the top floor of College Park to do an interview with her and Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook alongside my EIC Zack, our photo editor Katie and our multimedia editor Mia.
From there the story is pretty straight forward. Went back down to the newsroom, transcribed everything and wrote an article outlining why she’s leaving, what she’s going to be doing now and how the end of the semester is going to be affected by her departure. That includes the overall search for a new president that will begin after CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White comes to campus to gauge the community (date to be determined) and the planning and implementation of a new University Strategic Plan.
Plus whatever else is being planned for CSUF’s 60th anniversary, of course.
I’m likely going to be following up on this article for some more general deep coverage on the abundance of president searches in the CSU system. Or at least that’s my current plan if I can get it while working through all of my classes, but until that comes you can check out my article here.
It even includes the multimedia piece put together by Mia, though I’ll admit It’s a little cringe-y hearing me acknowledge Garcia as she talks. Not very used to doing video interviews still, it seems. If videos aren’t really your thing, just seeing Katie’s photo of Garcia looking bittersweet about the decision is an incredibly powerful image.
You can also check out my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!
Obviously this is a couple days late given the title, but considering what it was I still felt like it’s worth talking about.
On Halloween, months of build-up and anticipation finally exploded at Cal State Fullerton when Milo Yiannopoulos came to speak. It was a long, long road starting from the first story I put together at the end of August when his visit was still in the works.
A road filled with a variety of stories from me, my co-editor Brandon, all our assistants and whoever else in the newsroom contributed that tackled all sorts of topics: The process getting him to come, the responses from campus and anyone writing us letters to the editor, all the resolutions that were passed, following local schools that decided to close because of his visit… On top of so much more.
Pretty insane stuff, and there was a lot of tension that I didn’t even realize was as intense as it was until we got to the very end. Seriously, the last week or so before he came had me more nervous than I ever thought I would have been considering my feelings during the months leading in.
Then the day came, and everything felt like it was over in a flash.
Okay that’s not entirely true, it was a very, very long night all things being equal. But our team planned things out well in advance and handled everything masterfully. Probably the first thing that really lead to our success was Brandon’s decision to check us out a secondary home base in the Pollak Library, somewhere more centralized that we could use to pop in and drop things off without having to cross campus and make it to the newsroom.
From the library we were able to hit everything, and we had teams all over the place.
Some of us were covering the Unity Block party, which was put on by Students for Quality Education and a number of on-campus organizations. The event was meant to be a peaceful, educational alternative to everything going on, and for the most part it kept that up quite well, there were only a few instances where some small arguments had to be broken up.
On top of that, the Block Party had speakers like Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva come out, so it was pretty interesting in that regard. Amy and Breanna handled that coverage well, and just about everyone got to chip in by wandering the quad and taking in the sights and people.
Unfortunately, all of the fairly good vibes and low key energy from this event made it arguably the least newsworthy part of the day. There was a hell of a lot more that happened.
The main event was, of course, Yiannopoulos speaking. That was the part I focused my energy on. After all, I’ve built a strong rapport with the College Republicans club, and as a result I got to get in free and sit with the press alongside our Photo editor Katie.
Oh also, our Social Media editor Megan Maxey was there too. She just happened to be in the regular seats because we could only get 2 media tickets, so she was there with a regularly purchased ticket.
Despite being probably the only print-centric reporter covered by a wall of massive video cameras for broadcast, I thought it was an awesome opportunity. I got to see people working from ABC7, CBS2/KCAL9, FOX11 and a whole bunch of other places – and I got to work alongside them.
Sure, I didn’t get to dress up for Halloween this year, but I did dress up quite a bit better than usual knowing I would be surrounded by professionals.
With my Tascam audio recorder plugged into the microphone at the front of the room and my laptop out ready to transcribe, I got through the whole hour of Yiannopoulos’ speech without a hitch.
I’ve heard stories of Milo and how… Controversial his talks are, to put it plainly, but it was definitely a whole different experience actually hearing him in person while seeing a crowd raucously cheer and agree. Sure, I might not personally agree with a lot of what he said, but it was definitely a fascinating thing to witness.
To be honest, one of my favorite things about this whole experience has been seeing the internet take the same basically informative article and run in completely different directions with it.
Yiannopoulos himself picked up my article and posted it to his Facebook page before we’d put it out on our own social media, and within 9 hours that sucker had nearly 1,000 views on his page alone.
Plus, the comments on that article were pretty hilarious to me in a lot of places, namely this one:
I even showed this off to Walt Barranger, a former New York Times editor and CSUF alum who now teaches at the university. He thought it was pretty hilarious.
All and all, I’m frankly just glad I was able to put a story together that wasn’t universally bashed in some way based on this controversial subject matter. That’s a win in my book.
These two stories weren’t even everything, however.
They didn’t cover the protests, which were a major part of the event. Really major in fact, as just about every news organization was leading with the headline that 8 people were arrested the next morning.
It didn’t just take an army however, it took a wildly committed and talented army. That’s definitely the kind of team we have. At least three reporters for the Daily Titan got hit with pepper spray over the course of the night, but they all picked right back up and kept going to get the stories.
It was incredibly inspiring to watch, and it was equally inspiring getting to work with everyone for probably over 15 hours on this one event. I’m not sure I’ve ever been more proud of what I do and who I do it with than I am seeing everything we all put together.
That sentiment doesn’t just go to the writers either. Megan and her assistants killed it on social media by live tweeting almost anything and everything going on to give our audience a play-by-play of events that night. Our photographers got some of the most gorgeous pictures I’ve ever seen, clearly tempered by the heat and pressure of the day. On top of that, anyone who wasn’t involved in the coverage of Milo got all the other work for this paper done in a timely manner that facilitated the rest of our work, and it was incredibly appreciated.
The paper itself still took until like 3:00 a.m. to finish… But in this case, that late deadline was really worthwhile.
In the end, everything came together beautifully. We got a hell of a lot of traffic based on our Milo coverage, and by the time I got to campus the next day at 11 a.m. or so, all the papers were already cleaned out of our racks across campus. Between that and all the praise we received on social media and in person, we were all glowing with pride.
Oh, and we’re also going to be coming out with a special souvenir version of the paper next week on fancier paper and with extra photo spreads to commemorate it, since we ran out of the papers so fast on day 1. Look forward to seeing that, I know I will.
You may think the story is over there, but you’d be wrong. After all, I also mentioned the radio in my headline here. You didn’t think I would forget about that, would you?
Part of what made this event so special to me was that it offered me a brand new opportunity. The producer for Take Two on Southern California Public Radio (89.3 KPCC) reached out to the Daily Titan and asked if we wanted to have someone on their show the morning after Milo’s talk to do an interview about it.
As the person who arguably has been following the Yiannopoulos visit, I decided to take him up on the offer.
So, after making it home at 4:00 a.m. or so, I got up again at 7:00 a.m. to prepare for an interview at 8:00 a.m. Needless to say I was pretty exhausted later, but it was oh so worth the effort.
Plus, experiencing radio as a whole was an interesting experience in its own right. For some inside baseball, they had me talking to the host via a landline phone while I recorded myself talking through my cell phone. All while I was underneath a blanket.
The extra effort putting together my audio made it so it sounds more like I was in the studio talking in person. Though it was weird, it definitely worked wonders. The audio in the piece sounds great, and I had people reaching out to me from all over saying I did a great job.
Okay, now that’s everything I have to say on the matter. Sorry this is such a long one, but I really felt it was necessary to capture the complete experience that was covering Milo Yiannopoulos. All of my pieces, as usual, can be found on the right, and I even included the cooperative pieces with mine just to give credit to the whole experience where it’s due.
I also added in my story about the conclusion of the ASI Board of Directors meeting from a week and a half ago or so, since I forgot to before. That story is long and drawn out in itself so I won’t go into it here… But reading the article should give a good idea of why it was so crazy.
On top of that, I’m adding a new section to the archive side of my blog for my radio appearance. Who knows, there may be more in the future, and I’d love to see that expand in the near future too.
It’s starting to feel like I’m going to build myself a “breaks apart federal documents” niche the way this semester has been going.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR – not to be confused with the Orange County Register, since I did get that question during deadline night) announced Friday that they are withdrawing two documents that contain statements about policies and guidance for handling Title IX.
The documents, a Dear Colleague Letter from 2011 about sexual violence and a follow-up Q&A regarding the same subjects from 2014, received legal criticism and were apparently imposed “without affording notice and the opportunity for public comment” according to a Dear Colleague Letter put out by the OCR.
I go more in-depth into exactly what the original documents talked about in the article, as well as some finer details like what is still considered in place as far as policy goes, but it took long enough to get something together that was simplified down for print, so I think it’s really just worth pointing right to that for anything too intricate.
The other part of this story that was important involved the California State University system. Because part of the OCR’s message talked about how they’ll be starting a process to create new guidelines with more public input, CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White’s statement in response to the Title IX changes mentioned that the school system will be a strong participant in the process.
So, of course, we reached out to CSUF to see if they specifically would be a part of that effort, or whether it was something better left to the systemwide representatives. Our answer from the university’s Chief Communications Officer was essentially the latter, with a hefty agreement to the Chancellor’s message to boot.
Honestly that just about sums up the whole thing, and it wasn’t necessarily much of an exciting development process to get there. We waited for a bit to get the CSUF response, but otherwise everything relied on information from the OCR and the CSU statements, so it was more a matter of taking a couple hours to scour out the wording and pull it all together. It felt good to pull this kind of an information-heavy story in such a quick manner, don’t get me wrong, but I’m just not proclaiming any sort of fireworks were going off as it happened.
At least I got to show off my document scrubbing skills, like I said. Plus I didn’t have to do it while sitting in Downtown Disney like I did for that DACA article earlier this month, so I certainly can’t find any reason to complain.
If you want to see the article in its entirety, you can check it out here. You can also see my full breadth of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!
Pulling this story together was arguably one of the more interesting reporting experiences I’ve ever had.
Over the weekend, the University of California Office of the President announced that they had filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security over the Trump administration’s decision to rescind DACA last week.
As soon as we heard about that (though we heard about it a little late, admittedly) I jumped on the story. The CSU system and the UC system are totally different entities, but together they comprise a large majority of the higher education in California, so what one does tends to affect the other. Thus, even if the CSU didn’t make the decision to file a lawsuit, it was imperative to get an idea of just what the lawsuit was and whether or not our school system would follow suit.
Pun not necessarily intended.
Of course, as it turned out, the day that we found out about the lawsuit and I began to work on the article was also the day I had pre-arranged plans to spend time with a family friend. We were all having lunch out in Anaheim at Downtown Disney as both a way for my Dad to catch up and for me to network with some journalists.
Thus, I spent all day reading through and translating the text of the UC system’s lawsuit off of my phone while wandering Downtown Disney and trying to talk with people all at the same time. It was, frankly, a mess. The fact that I was wearing a black shirt in the blazing heat didn’t help either… But it was a mess that wound up working out really well.
I’m pretty proud of how I took the lawsuit apart bit-by-bit to really elaborate out the reasons why it was being filed. I think it turned out pretty comprehensive in that respect, despite the majority of the piece just being that discussion of the lawsuit itself.
In terms of the localizing details, that was a little trickier simply for getting information together than it was for translating legal jargon. Something was wonky with our news desk email, and that made us miss the message from CSUF’s Chief Communications Officer until yesterday afternoon before we published. We also weren’t able to hear back from the larger CSU Office of the Chancellor over the weekend, which meant we were essentially running off of our University’s perspective of what was happening.
And our University’s perspective was that it would be something handled at the systemwide level by the Chancellor’s office.
Ironically enough, in the midst of me writing this blog post we did get a response from the Office of the Chancellor. I was able to update the story accordingly, so now the text available online reflects that addition.
It wasn’t much of an addition considering the Office of the Chancellor essentially mimicked what our school’s representative said, but I suppose I wouldn’t have expected much more than that. If nothing else it served as a good argument for the magic of the Internet as a means of updating things as they go along.
If you want to see the article in its entirety, you can check it out here. You can also see my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!
Though the DACA-related article was the only one I wrote for our paper today, I did also want to point out that I actually took photos for a separate story running on our page.
As part of my Multimedia Journalism class I have a multimedia kit checked out for the whole semester. Though it has become a hell of a nuisance to carry that thing, my backpack and a tripod around campus whenever I have class, it turns out that having a professional camera available to me is a pretty useful thing.
When I went with our new assistant news editor to cover the Humanities and Social Sciences Inter-Club Council meeting (since SQE was presenting to them hoping to argue against Milo Yiannopoulos coming to campus), we realized we had forgotten to call a photographer to come. Luckily I had my multimedia kit so I could work on another assignment, as it let me take the pictures for that event.
Though I got some complaints about my camera shutter being too distracting (which at a public meeting did not mean much… But I still apologized), I think it wound up being good practice for my homework later and I was able to get credit in the paper for taking photos.
I really haven’t taken photos for anything beyond the Homeless Investigation last semester, so having the extra experience was kind of fun for someone so print-and-word oriented. I’m thinking I might try to take photos more often in fact, and if I do I might even try to reflect that here on the blog archives.
Guess we’ll just have to see.
If you want to check out the photo I took to represent the story, you can look over here. It is our first follow-up on the Milo Yiannopoulos stuff before getting the official confirmation of his coming by the College Republicans club president, so it’s probably worth reading for that too if you’re interested in following through.
Bet you weren’t expecting to see this in your feeds in the middle of the summer, were you? Well news never sleeps for the Daily Titan, so here we are.
Okay that’s not totally true, things have been fairly dormant for a while, but when there’s big enough news we jump on it to be online content at least.
In this case the news relates back to Eric Canin, who you’ll likely remember as that guy I wrote a billion stories about with my co-editor Sarah last semester. An extraordinary moment of serendipity presented itself yesterday as the news desk got an email early in the day with an update from CSUF’s Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook. He was making good on his word from before the spring semester ended to keep us up to date on the latest happenings in the Canin case.
He gave us early access to the university’s official statement on the outcome of the arbitration that settled the debate between the school, who apparently looked to terminate Canin after the altercation in February, and the California Faculty Association (CFA), the union looking to fight back and have Canin keep his job based on their collective bargaining agreement.
Because I’ve been working on this story for so long – I still call it my baby in friendly company – I just about immediately jumped on the scoop when I had it in my hand. It was admittedly a little bittersweet working on it without Sarah, as she graduated from CSUF last semester, but the show must go on as they say.
Knowing who were the big players in the case leading up to this point, I did a fairly quick interview with Cook over email to clarify some points about this leg of the investigation before hitting up Tyler McMillen, a representative of the CFA, and members of the College Republicans club (Who we’d hoped to get a statement from for this initial breaking news… But since we didn’t get a response had to pass on in favor of, well, breaking the news. We’ll inevitably get a response article out, I’m sure).
However, arguably the biggest success of this piece was getting comments from Eric Canin himself. That’s right, Ashlyn – a reporter (also now graduated from CSUF) and friend of mine from the editorial board – had access to Canin’s cell phone number because she helped him out a little after the initial incident. Because she was so on the ball that day, we were able to stay in touch with him up until the investigation really heated up and he wasn’t able to talk anymore.
Now that the investigation is over, I figured it would only be right to hit him up and ask for his statement, especially given the fact that Cook suggested he intended to return this semester to teach at Fullerton. Thanks to the good standing he had with Ashlyn, I was able to get some comments over text and was eternally grateful for it.
Seriously, you would not believe how gleeful I was when he actually responded favorably. I was quite literally over the moon about getting that first-hand comment in the story.
Given the fact that the investigation’s results only came out yesterday, it seems like I had one of the more comprehensive pieces on the update given my advanced notice, which just goes to show you how important connections are in this line of work.
If you want to check out the story in its entirety (and for this one I definitely recommend you do as I’m honestly really proud of this piece), you can see it here. You can also check out my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over at the link on the right, where you can get completely up to date on the Canin saga!
A saga which I can only imagine will be entering another stretch as we get into the reactions to him returning to campus. Hoo boy I’m sure there are going to be some reactions.
Thus, I leave off with that old cliché – don’t touch your remote. I’m sure it’s going to keep being interesting, and you’ll find more updates here in the future. Same bat time, same bat channel.