Tag: Journalism

Interviewing on Location

Interviewing on Location

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 18, 2017 Article Published

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The perks of being in business

Check out what I got in the mail recently:

That’s right, business cards! Arguably one of my favorite perks of doing new things, in this case for my internship with Gladeo. I suppose there’s just something really satisfying about having your name on an official piece of affiliation, showing that you’re a part of a bigger whole and all that. I know I still have my first two semesters’ worth of Daily Titan editor business cards on me in case I need them.

These cards are particularly interesting in that they have the organization’s mission statement on the back. Making it white text on a black background creates an interesting dichotomy with the white on the front. Plus, having been asked by both of my main interviewed sources just what I was doing with Gladeo, it’s certainly useful to have the official version of the story readily available like this.

Though I’ve only done over-the-phone interviews thus far, I’ll definitely start to carry a few of these on my person as well so I can happily hand them out whenever I get the chance.

On that note, I do have my first two pieces for Gladeo more or less put together and turned in, so once they’re edited and I’ve been given whatever notes I need to improve upon or fix, I should be able to talk some more about the work I’ve been doing. After it shows up online, of course.

So hopefully look forward to that in the near future.

The old ball game

The old ball game

I may not be the biggest sports fan in the world, and that extends to my general lack of interest writing about sports for journalistic purposes…

But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good game of baseball. Hell, it’s hard not to enjoy America’s pastime, especially when you grow up going to games with your Dad, taking in all the clichés. The first pitches and national anthem. The seventh inning stretch. The acceptance of normalcy that comes with the potential of being hit in the back of the head by a rogue beach ball. The sheer scale of the stadium and mass of people all sharing the same experience you are.

And, of course…


The food.

Can’t go wrong with a dodger dog and a bag of peanuts. I’m also partial to having a frozen lemonade toward the latter half of the game, that’s something of a tradition for me.

It’s been some time since I’ve gone to a game, and I definitely have to thank our family friend, my uncle David Liebling for getting us in to this Dodgers/Mets showdown (with some pretty good seats at that).


Since it has been some time, and my interests have been developing continuously, I’m definitely noticing different things around the stadium this time around.

Namely, the interesting interplay between the sport and my area of focus, the media.


In all the times I’ve gone to ball games, I’ve never noticed the pre-game reporting being done on the field. It’s actually pretty hilarious to see the two anchors in a fancy suit and dress contrasting with the sea of jerseys and colloquial game-attending attire. Plus they set up and took down the desk and camera equipment real fast, so that was interesting to watch.

On top of that, if you’re really paying attention, you can catch some of the interesting shots that help make the game a media sensation but might not be so easy to understand the scope of from behind a screen.


Not sure why I thought this was so interesting, but something about the intertwining of being live and seeing media being created spoke to me today. Figured I would share that little observation.

However, I’m going to cut things short, because I am still in the middle of a game, and as much as I enjoy writing I probably look a little stupid. Plus, the Dodgers just caught a fly ball in the outfield and managed to throw it to home for a double play that ended the top of the second inning.

It was pretty hype, to be completely honest.

New Opportunities with the Gladeo League

Today I had the pleasure of attending orientation for an internship I’m taking part of over the summer with Gladeo, a non-profit organization that is putting together a database of career profiles and highlights meant to help high school and college-age students figure out what they want to do for a living and what the path might be to get there. Got to spend the day in Little Tokyo over by the Japanese American National Museum, so I certainly can’t complain about that.

Beyond just getting to spend the day in a nice place, however, I also had quite a nice time at the orientation itself. I had the pleasure of hearing from Jo Kwon, who has worked doing just about everything one can do in the field of Journalism, including print writing, broadcast, radio, social media, podcasting and more. As she is one of the advisors for Gladeo, I’ll likely be working with her and others more going forward, which I believe will really help me improve my writing repertoire.

Speaking of, the opportunity isn’t just a way to spend my free time over the next couple of months (though not sitting around is quite the draw). As a reporter for the organization, I’ll have the chance to spread my wings a little further than the hard news I tend to focus on. Instead I’ll be focusing more on feature-y business profiles, though still with a more informative edge. I’m looking forward to it, and next Friday is about when we’re really going to start kicking things off.

Throughout the summer I’m going to try and update my blog here with the stories I’m going to write for Gladeo. I would probably expect some rearranging of menus and such in the next couple of weeks so I can post more about my experience outside of the Daily Titan as well, like how I added more when I updated this place with all of my articles from the High Tide back in January.

So, keep your eyes open for more coming down the pipeline in the near future. Between the internship and my extra free time to play games, I’m sure there should be plenty of things to write up.

Two articles published the week of May 8, 2017

So I suppose I should address the elephant in the room. Or at least I would if there was an elephant here, but there isn’t because the elephant has been on hiatus much like I have.

Does that metaphor make sense? Does it have to?

Probably not, it was just a silly way to transition into a thing that doesn’t have much to do with it in the end after all.

Yes, it has been quite a while since I posted anything here on my blog. I would go into the reasons why, but admittedly it’s not all that complicated. School has been extra busy, life has been extra busy… Doesn’t really leave too much time to talk about silly things like video games, as much as that’s what I do almost all the time anyway.

This post itself is a bit of a red herring though, as I still have finals next week and will probably be back on hiatus at least until those are done with. However, with two big articles of mine getting published over the last week, I figure this little quiet period over the weekend is a good a time as any to drop them off here. Everything else –  new card packs in Duel Links, the near release of a new Fire Emblem game, the fact that I just watched Guardians of the Galaxy 2, internships I’m potentially taking part in over the summer… All that kind of stuff can wait for later.

For now, let’s talk Titan. Early on this week, my co-editor Sarah and I worked together on an article about members of the CSUF College Republicans club creating a fake Instagram account parodying the Students for Quality Education (SQE) group on campus. The account wasn’t sanctioned by officials in the club itself, College Republicans club president Chris Boyle said, but he did acknowledge that he knew which members were responsible for act and had no intention of telling them to stop exercising their free speech. However, the story got tricky, as the fake Instagram account put out a fake advertisement regarding a fundraiser on Cinco de Mayo that was considered hate speech by some, particularly those in the real SQE, and it wound up going in front of the Academic Senate with the intent of passing a resolution against the account.

For as small and, frankly, hilarious a story as this one was to start with, it wound up getting a little hectic to pull together. We had to talk to all involved parties and get comments building upon the already complicated web or involved organizations, as not only was there the controversy behind the Cinco de Mayo post, but there was also other things happening concurrently like a whodunnit-style mystery behind exactly who was in charge of the account given accusations and denials across various individuals. In the end it was a fun article to work with alongside Sarah, and it was almost a last hurrah for us working together since she’s graduating. Though we did get some backlash from the Republicans on campus accusing our article of being biased, I think we did a good job staying neutral and just reporting what we were told and what we saw.

If you want to check out the article, you can see it here. It’s certainly a fun one to read, in my opinion.

The second piece I had published came at the end of the week, and it was a bit more of an adventure to put together. While the fake Instagram story came together in about a weekend, this article was quite literally a whole semester in the making.

As part of the Investigative Reporting class I’ve been taking, we have been collectively looking into homelessness in Orange County as our big project. Over the past couple of weeks, the stories we’ve written for the class have finally been coming out, including the one I wrote with Roxana Paul on the Mercy House emergency shelter in Fullerton and the Check-in Center that feeds into it. Admittedly I wrote most of the final article, since English isn’t Roxana’s strongest suit, but all of the work leading up to the end product was undoubtedly a group effort.

The article essentially follows a night in the life of the homeless who make use of these Mercy House services during Armory season (from about November to April). They can check goods in or out of storage at the La Palma Check-in Center in Anaheim during the afternoon shift (from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.), take a bus to get priority registration at the shelter in Fullerton, spend the night there and then go back to the center once the shelter closes at 6 a.m.

We not only talked to officials working at the two facilities, we also talked to homeless individuals making use of the services and looked through documentation on the amount of people that are homeless in Orange County (courtesy of things like the Point in Time count I participated in early on this semester) to try and weave a narriative of how hard it is to support people who can’t easily support themselves as well as the immense amount of work people that are really passionate about helping are putting in.

Fun fact, this was also the very first article I’ve taken my own photos for, pretty cool right? I think so, at least.

I’m super proud of this article and think it’s a great way to wrap up a semester, and I’m hoping you’ll agree. I spent extra time setting up the online edition of this story in particular as well, so be sure to check it out here!

You can also check out a full archive of my work for the Daily Titan over on the right.

April 10, 2017 Article Published

Last Thursday was a busy day for me. I alluded to most of what happened that day in my post about the CFA Lobby Day story I published, but didn’t go into too much detail about it there.

On the one hand, I went to the first annual University Honors Program banquet, and had a blast spending time with professors, faculty and other students who I’ve been in multiple classes with at this point. Always a fun time, and I’m glad I went. I didn’t wind up getting a lot of photos, and it wasn’t necessarily an outwardly exciting enough event to warrant talking about it extensively here, but I figure having it mentioned at least should be good.

However, the main reason I was busy happens to be the focus of this post here today. While I was in my history class, the Cal State Fullerton College Republicans club President Chris Boyle called me up and let me know that they were going to be talking at an Associated Students Inc. (ASI) Committee meeting about their resolution to get suspended lecturer Eric Canin terminated from campus after a University investigation came back saying he struck a student on February 8.

The Daily Titan, and specifically the news desk, has been following the Canin incident pretty closely for more than two months now, it’s pretty much been our big story and it really does feel like my baby at this point to be completely honest. So, when the chance presented itself thanks to my connections with the republican groups on campus, I had to jump at it, even though it meant missing my Investigative Reporting class that day.

Really, this pretty much is like a long-form investigative piece anyway from how I see it, so I suppose I can’t really complain about that.

While the coverage started off a little rocky, as there was some confusion regarding the meeting the Republicans club thought they wanted to attend not actually existing anymore and having to figure out when the meeting they needed was, in the end it all worked out and the club was able to address the ASI Board of Directors Governance Committee regarding the resolution they need a Board member to author so it can be reviewed and potentially passed.

The story itself goes into more detail about what they talked about, namely the feeling among club members that CSUF President Mildred Garcia and the school’s administration have not done enough in regards to the Canin incident, that they don’t feel their safety and freedom of speech have been protected adequately and their desire to have ASI stand with the students if the California Faculty Association (the teacher’s union) is standing with the professor.

However, it also delves a little more into why a resolution is significant and what it takes to pass one, as I had a nice talk with the Board of Directors Chair after the meeting ended. On top of that, there are comments from the CFA and from the University in regards to things that have been said… So it’s a pretty meaty story, and one I’m pretty happy about now that it’s done and printed.

Granted, it was a lot of work to pull it all together because of how much more information I had to incorporate than I expected… But that’s what having great friends and fellow editors is for: helping me turn my rough work into far better pieces than they ever would have been without the help.

The work we’ve been doing following this story has honestly been one of the highlights of my semester. It’s one of the first times I’ve really felt that feeling of being a journalist covering something truly important, covering it from all angles and making connections along the way that have only helped broaden my horizons.

It’s been great, and it’s nowhere near done yet. Everything is still going through the motions and there’s more going on even later this week in regards to the case. I continue to look forward to it, and I continue to look forward to working with a great team that’s only helped facilitate covering such a big issue to the best of our collective abilities.

However, this particular piece is all mine, and 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!

April 6, 2017 Article Published

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 3, 2017 Article Published

To be honest, I wouldn’t necessarily consider this to be a full article published in the same vein as the other stuff I’ve posted up here on my blog. If anything it’s more of a small update I pulled together, but it is on the front page of the Daily Titan today and it does have my byline on it so… I figure why not mention it.

Over Spring Break, our student government (Associated Students Inc., or ASI) announced who are going to be the headlining performers for the annual Spring Concert that’s happening this upcoming weekend. Rapper and producer Lupe Fiasco and electronic musician ZHU will be performing for Cal State Fullerton students, alumni and other guests on April 8 alongside two student groups that won competitions throughout the semester.

The announcement was significant in part because Spring Concert is a pretty well beloved event by the student body, and this is the eleventh annual one being held. It was also significant because there was talk of the announcement happening before spring break that had to be postponed due to issues regarding the artist’s contracts. We wrote an article on that too, so check it out if you’re interested.

That’s really all there was to what I wrote besides filling in ticket prices and such, so to be honest I’ll probably have more words written up for this post about the story than I wrote for the story itself.  Funny how that works sometimes.

If you want to check out the article in its entirety (not that reading it will take you that long), you can see it here.  You can also check out my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!

Visiting the L.A. Weekly

Visiting the L.A. Weekly

Today I had the chance to visit the office of the L.A. Weekly in Culver City.  I know the publisher, Mathew Cooperstein, because he’s the father of one of my younger sister’s good friends, so we’ve been talking about the possibility of my coming over to tour their office for some time.  With Spring Break this week, everything just so happened to line up perfectly for me to check the place out, and I’m really glad I finally got to do it.

Not only did I get to tour the office, which is housed in a pretty awesome looking building as I’m sure you can see in the featured image I have above, I also had the chance to sit down and chat with both Coop and the L.A. Weekly’s Managing Editor Drew Tewksbury. Both of them were really receptive and nice, and it was great to be able to swap stories and get some advice from people who have been entrenched in the news industry longer than I have.

Drew and I talked more about the writing side of things, both for short-form daily (or in their case, weekly and heavily online-based) reporting and for deeper investigative stories. Meanwhile, Coop talked with me more about the advertorial side and about things like community outreach, audience demographics and search engine optimization.

While I was at the office, I also picked up a couple copies of their two most recent publications: A regular issue with the cover story about deportees sent to Tijuana and their special 99 Essential Restaurants issue.

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Jason McGahan‘s story on the deportees is really stellar, and I’d recommend reading it here if you have the chance.

All-in-all I had a great time going to the L.A. Weekly, and I’d love to get the opportunity to go again one day.