Tag: Journalism

Opening a forum

Opening a forum

Not long ago, the University Honors Program gave me an opportunity to add “event planner” onto my résumé.

Now it let me add “forum moderator” to the list as well.

For the last few days, the program has been holding Open Forums to introduce students to the three finalists vying to be next year’s Associate Director.

Co-Curricular Coordinator Tyler reached out to see if I wanted to be a student representative and ask some questions, given I already had some clout with the Honors Center as an Ambassador.

I saw no reason why not. Sure there are superficial benefits to the event being résumé filler and something to do on a Friday (slyly for blog purposes), but it also seemed like fun! An extension of personally sitting on panels.

Plus I was slated to run the forum for Craig McConnell, who I know pretty well.

I’ve had a lot of classes with the guy, most recently my Evolution and Creation course last semester.

Perhaps that makes me bias. Especially considering I didn’t go to either Open Forums prior… But I was just there to ask questions, so I wouldn’t lose sleep over it.

At the same time as I was asking questions, I decided to take advantage of my recent training with SPJ by practicing image graphics for my social media feeds.

My role as a moderator meant I couldn’t Live Tweet as I often do, but I tried to put out at least two nice graphics at the start of the forum.

Here’s what I did for Twitter:

And this one is my piece for Instagram:

Figured having slightly different pictures to go along with the slightly different messages on each platform would make sense.

Perhaps I could have been more creative… But practice is practice.

Plus, there weren’t a lot of opportunities to get diverse pictures given the paltry audience we gathered on a Friday at the commuter college.

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The event was mainly for Dr. Perez (left) and Tyler (unpictured), as they are going to be voting on the new Associate Director soon. Other students were there mostly for McConnell to address and field questions from.

I featured two quotes in those social media posts, but those were drawn primarily from the start of the Open Forum.

We also went into specific ideas for improving the Honors student community engagement (because commuter campus) and the possible role of an Associate Director in helping students figure out their career trajectories beyond course adjustments.

Because you know. I work for a career oriented non-profit.

And wanted to write off this event as Internship hours.

Yet as vaguely self-serving as that was, Dr. McConnell had a good response:

“I think colleges should give students a few years to expand their minds,” he said of his concern that traditional schooling is too tunnel-visioned about post-grad careers. “But I’m also aware that it becomes more important every year for schools to help students find jobs as soon as they leave.”

He pivoted on my question quickly and easily, so I was impressed.

The only line of questioning I was unfortunately not able to delve into was arguably the most important.

I should have asked him what he thought of the Star Wars Episode IX teaser! It dropped about a half an hour before our event, so that would have been a perfect barometer of his cultural absorption.

But oh well.

Maybe next time.

Cretaceous developments

Cretaceous developments

Yeah that’s right, these developments are so monumental that they’re one step more advanced than the obvious ‘Jurassic’ developments joke I could have made to attract attention from Spielberg fans.

Unfortunately the dinosaur conceit is also just clickbait.

Sorry y’all, but the promise of this neat-o dinosaur ice cream waffle was too much of an enticing image not to use! I found the window graphic while wandering Del Amo Mall for lunch with Mom and Aly and fell in love.

Especially after my friend Mitchell suggested their potential ultimate marketing strategy of the Green Tea-Rex.

I have no idea if they actually capitalized on that idea because I never tried the Waffle-saurus Rex.

We were on a mission from Aly to instead eat boring old regular Taiyaki.

Even though dinosaurs > fish. Obviously.

In other words, no dinosaur ice cream waffle reviews. Arguably a worse travesty than my continuing to remind myself to talk about Shantae: Half-Genie Hero despite vehemently continuing to put it off.

Instead I’m going to talk about things on the horizon, most of which came to light while I was at the mall.

For instance, I’ve been invited to this year’s Comm Awards:

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Cut off the RSVP email just in case. Sorry party crashers!

Last year’s ceremony was a lot of fun (even if I’m not cringing slightly at my unkempt beard) and I’m excited to see what I’ll be awarded this time!

So much so that I made a great Tweet.

Gotta use one of the best gifs of all time to punctuate a self-deprecating joke.

Going further down the school-related rabbit hole, I also got an email today letting me know that CSUF Commencement tickets are officially available. As much as graduation-related stuff stresses me out, that is an important step in the process.

Or at least… It would be.

If the website worked.

For some reason the link to buy graduation tickets leads to an endless loop of security verification.

I wager the traffic of people going after tickets at once isn’t doing so great on the school’s website.

You’d think the network would be better prepared, but there must be too much energy going toward the development of more parking space. Another thing I got an email about.

The extra spaces are needed, even if it’s unfortunate that permit prices are hiking up $50 or so to facilitate the construction.

Luckily I’ll be a graduate who doesn’t need parking permits by then!

So hey, it’s not all intimidating and bad.

With those major Cal State Fullerton developments, the only other thing I can think to tease is a fairly big interview I scheduled for Gladeo Wednesday. Not sure I want to give it away because I’ve been pushed off once already, but let’s just say it’s a nice, recognizable name.

That’s about all I have for the night. My first day back to school tomorrow is going to be punctuated by a Cognitive Psychology exam, so I wanted to write-up something quick before I get back to studying.

Here’s hoping my lethargy in that department somehow pays off.

Racking up hours

Racking up hours

I promised something more exciting than hang-out escapades at the end of my post yesterday, but let’s just say I never got around to doing anything more exciting.

To be fair I made “more exciting” impossible by staying up until 1:30 a.m. playing Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice with my boys, finally learning why people love From Software games.

I seriously went from this:

To absolutely exploding with hype as soon as we began picking off mini-bosses with Sly Cooper levels of stealth.

But I also didn’t come up with something more exciting to talk about today because I spent most of it working.

I’ve hit that point (as always) where thinking about the things I have to do before summer turns me into a quivering mess of stress and food wrappers.

Except this semester has the added benefit of stress about graduation too!

My goal was to use Spring Break to catch up on homework. Namely my internship hours and Senior Honors Project.

Most of it has been spent throwing myself against those internship hours, much to the detriment of progress on my novel.

For now I’m hoping to hit my 120-hour mark so I don’t have to worry about that ever again, since I have a bit more time to finish my novel on the backend.

I have made decent progress (approaching 90 hours), and there are enough other things coming for Gladeo that I think I’ll be fine.

In fact, tonight I finished transcribing my interview with Dr. Nicole Wesley, the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the Redondo Beach Unified School District.

Also my ex-Principal at both Adams Middle School and Redondo Union High School. We’ve stayed in touch.

I transcribed almost 7,500 words for a good couple hours and still have to put the piece together, so she’s been a godsend. Alongside other stories in the works.

I probably won’t talk about her again until stuff gets published, so I figured I would leave y’all a nice teaser from the end of my transcript:

“I think that before you become a teacher, you don’t realize the level of difficulty and complexity that comes with the job. But as complex and frustrating as it can be, it is equally if not more rewarding in every other sense. Even on the worst day, you will experience a situation that brings joy and hope in a way that is inexplainable.

I think that may be the case with a lot of jobs. There are no perfect jobs and you’re going to work really hard, even beyond the seven hours you’re paid. But the memories and relationships and the impact you make are second to none.”

— Nicole Wesley

Great stuff. Can’t wait to pull the Profile and Spotlight together.

That was about the most exciting part of my day. Unless you want to get into my orthodontic adventure.

… Actually, I did talk about this problems, so it might be worth writing closure.

Toward the end of 2018 I broke my permanent retainer at a celebratory end-of-semester dinner with my friend Mimi. The cherry on top of an already relentless day.

I took a little too long getting to the Orthodontist after that, so my teeth had moved out of alignment. They told me to wear my plastic retainers 24/7 for a few weeks and come back.

School got busy. So I wore these bad boys all day, everyday for probably a good month or two.

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Just be glad I didn’t get a gross picture of the new brace in my mouth.

Spring Break offered the rest I finally needed to make a new appointment, so $250 later I am back at full capacity.

Only having to wear these at night again is a true blessing that I will never take for granted.

… Until probably half a year from now when I stop bothering.

But I’m hoping to be better about that this time around!

And that, ladies and germs, sums up my day. Lots of work and orthodontic care.

I’ll try to stop promising cool things on specific time frames because I seem to keep failing to keep my word.

At this point Shantae will be taunting me for the rest of my life.

All I’ll say is, don’t be surprised if I come out with a few more silly posts or life dump posts for a while as I attempt to keep writing through my imminent semester-end burnout.

God knows graduation will be the death of me.

Pay your Copy Editors

As of tonight, I break away from classes to celebrate Spring Break 2019.

It promises to be more of a workation this year. Not to say that I’ve ever been the hard partying Spring Breakers type in the first place, but I usually chill when I can.

However, 2019 is throwing all that out the window.

While all those peers I don’t know are off in Cancún, I’ll be at home writing my novel and racking up Internship hours.

My regular schoolwork has left me a bit behind on those projects, so the extra time is a godsend. For Gladeo, I have a bunch of work stored up that I just need to sit down and finish.

Editing a piece, completing my own piece, planning a video shoot for later and transcribing the interview I’ll be conducting, and more.

No idea whether my blog post tomorrow is going to be about that interview or the Fire Emblem Heroes banner that’s dropping.

Or I might do both. Who knows!

For tonight, all I know is I’m going to relax and write a nice, easy post.

At the end of writing about the SPJ guest speaker last night, I noted seeing an echo of things from my time at CSUF.

Today I’ve noticed a few other things. Including my love affair with Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links back during Spring Break 2017. 

It defined my life when I started back then, but I’ve completely abandoned the game after a nearly two-year streak.

I blame a combination of exhaustion with the gameplay and a distinct lack of time to pass around.

I’m not going to say I regret the decision necessarily. Plus it’s still on my phone, and can be reopened at any time.

But the timing felt poignant on the eve of this anniversary.

However, the more stand-out example of a recurring college experience happened when I stopped to get gas on the way home. Because I won’t be at that Shell station I use during my commutes for at least a week, I was thinking about how I might not have to use it much longer.

But don’t worry, I’m not actually getting sentimental about a gas station. Only a specific story related to that gas station.

About two-or-three years ago when I was News Editor at the Daily Titan, I found myself looking for things to drive our Copy Editors Kyle Bender and Ashley Haley crazy.

My favorite discovery was a completely misspelled word in the gas pump digital display. It was very obvious, and given the high traffic through that station I expected it to get fixed quickly.

But no.

Here we are in 2019 and that same spelling error is there:

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“… come indise and check out monthly specials.”

It’s astounding to me that this is still there. I’m 100 percent certain they’ve changed out all the pumps since I saw this the first time, yet nothing has changed.

This is why we need Copy Editors, folks. Otherwise these mistakes live on forever.

That’s all I had to say. Go pay your copy editors.

In the meantime, I’m going to go start whatever semblance of a break I have.

Jason finally learns how to make GIFs

Jason finally learns how to make GIFs

Look at that, folks from yesterday’s post.

This is what we in the business call “good continuity.”

For those of you who don’t care to dive into the rabbit hole: Hello!

Welcome to me talking about today’s Society of Professional Journalists — Cal State Fullerton chapter meeting.

I’ve been our branch Secretary for a year now, but last semester the meetings conflicted with my three-hour Visual Communications class.

So this semester I’ve been better about going. Even if that means commuting for just that, like today.

Doing so has offered me the chance to live tweet a guest presentation by Washington Post editor Gene Park:

Then it took me on a tour of the CBS2/KCAL9 Broadcast Center.

Today, the train of interesting things continued as we hosted USC Digital Journalism Professor Amara Aguilar.

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Here she is (right) with our chapter president, Harrison Faigen (left).

The funny thing is, I’ve attended one of her presentations.

Last year at the ACP Convention in Long Beach, I learned about Google reporting tools like the Cardboard VR camera from Aguilar. Wrote all about it here.

Today she went over a couple of different tools that are useful for journalists to create a better social media presence on platforms like Twitter and Instagram.

The presentation started with a few general tips, despite the idea that most content is tailored to the platform.

Primarily that social media content is best if it “awe” a viewer, provides them “laughter and amusement,” or instills some sense of “empathy” and “surprise.”

Then I jotted down this quote about how social media should be used to connect with people:

“When you’re looking at your device late at night before bed, people want to see personal content,” Aguilar said.

Personal stuff is particularly effective when it’s visual, so she spent her time teaching us about two apps anyone can access on their mobile devices.

First, the graphic design portion of the Adobe Creative Cloud: Adobe Spark Post.

If you’ve spent a lot of time on social media or digital news sites like Now This, you’ve likely seen the kinds of images with text overlays that Spark Post is good for.

Because CSUF students have free use of the Adobe Creative Cloud, we were able to practice creating our own.

For the purposes of goofing around, I reused this image from my post-Us Twitter freak-out:

And reimagined it as this baseless Peanut’s fan graphic:

Nice, huh?

I think that resource is pretty neat, but mostly because it’s good for cropping images to dimensions used by specific social media sites.

The piece above being perfect for Instagram, apparently.

Dunno about that… I’ll let you know if I get more than just four likes on the post I made using it.

What I can see as being more useful to me in the long-run was her introduction to the GIPHY CAM app.

See, I’m a man who likes a good GIF — and I pronounce it both ways, so don’t bother asking.

I’ve always been interested in making my own, but never enough to seek out good ways to do so.

When I’m on my phone, this app seems like a pretty decent approach.

For instance, check out this practice GIF I made attempting to create a looping image:

Isn’t it amazing how I’m not only chubby, pimpled, clearly sleep-deprived and unshaven, but also that I couldn’t get the camera to sit perfectly still even when I had it propped up on a table?

I love that about myself.

Probably not the most successful first GIF attempt, but now that I know about this app I can get more practice.

Perhaps one day I’ll be skilled enough to make silly comic book GIFs in a big news story like this UFC girl piece from Medium Aguilar showed us.

Funny enough, this SPJ meeting was held in Professor Frank Russell‘s Comm 201 class. There was an issue booking the Titan Student Union.

Almost three years ago I first started my Twitter account in 201 because he required it. I’ve come to both thank him because it taught me a lot about social media, but also resent him after spending hours mindlessly scrolling.

Now that I’m about to graduate, it looks like I’m still learning new things about social media with him.

Isn’t it amazing how things come full circle?

Under pressure

Under pressure

I told myself I wasn’t going to do this.

“It’s too cliché,” I said. “Everyone will make fun of you for capitalizing on a wave of popularity.”

But you know what? This is my blog and I can do whatever I want.

Also, I couldn’t come up with anything substantial enough to be a feasible alternative.

So. Taking inspiration from my pressure cooker as well as Queen after the music copyright lecture in my Comm Law class (a follow-up to lectures I watched this weekend), I decided to go with it.

Let’s talk about how pressure led to me not knowing what to talk about.

Yesterday I wrote about the cool things I learned from Archivist Therese Martinez during a brief visit to the Redondo Union High School Alumni House.

To be honest… I feel like I half-assed that post.

Everything I talked about is great, and I genuinely learned a lot from Therese. But I write the vast majority in ~30 minutes while sitting in the Main Branch Public Library with less than 20 percent battery.

The ticking clock of my power situation, on top of knowing it’s a topic I will return to, led to silly things like stuffing information into a slideshow.

However, in spite of my reservations about the execution, Therese loved it. So much so that (after I made adjustments to inaccurate dates), she shared the piece with Admin.

Then with the Archives’ Facebook group.

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I scratch her back, she scratches my back, I scratch hers.

Suddenly this interesting, somewhat half-assed look at historical goods in my alma mater made my dinky personal blog blow the hell up.

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As of 7:40 p.m., about four hours after she asked to share.

That’s pretty awesome.

Except…

I don’t know about you, but when I have a burst of popularity it comes with baggage. Most notably the desire to follow-up with something significant and not disappoint those newcomers.

I’ve been stressing over what to write for a while now.

My first inclination was to write about my recent purchase of:

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On the Nintandoh Splorch!

There’s a bit of a story behind that purchase.

Yesterday, WayForward announced that they are on the verge of releasing the fifth game in the Shantae series — a collection of games that have been around since the Game Boy.

I adore Shantae. In my Sophomore year I binged the first three games on my 3DS after finding the fourth on Kickstarter. Mostly while waiting for my history class with Dr. Paulo Simoes.

However I never got around to playing Half-Genie Hero when it came out because money.

So Shantae 5 was announced, and guess what I found out next:

It truly was a dangerously effective strategy.

That seemed like the perfect opportunity to write something about my adoration of video games.

Open-and-shut case for a blog post. Right?

Well… It would have been. If I had any time to play the game beyond the title screen. But I haven’t, and probably won’t until Spring Break.

Hold that thought. I’ll probably have a review of the game sometime soon.

With that struck down, it was onto idea #2: Honors Project stuff.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m writing a fantasy genre subversion novel for my big Senior Project — the equivalent of a thesis for the University Honors Program.

One of my favorite pieces of side-content for the project has been my world map.

You know the kind. Those continent overviews you see at the beginning of Tolkien books.

I wrote a whole long post all about my adventure in mapmaking this semester, so you can read that to catch up.

The important thing is that I’ve continued to make adjustments to my novel’s continent Drocux in the weeks since. Namely adding names to every location, but also adding details like rivers and roads for more realistic topography:

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HexTML continues to serve me well, and it has been fun writing out lore to explain outlandish names (such as the Xilbalar Canyon above being named after a prominent Elven activist).

But I’m still adding new ideas almost every day, and if I’m going to deep dive into my EXTENSIVE LORE, I would like to do so with the complete product.

Thus, two ideas have been struck down.

And I couldn’t come up with a decent third.

By the time I combed through possibilities, I was home and had my magical encounter with the InstaPot in my Featured Image.

The rest, as they say, was history.

Hopefully you newcomers don’t feel like this was a waste of time — or get too annoyed at my somewhat blatant attempt to throw a lot of my old posts at you. All I needed to add was something about my journalism awards to give the full flavor of Jason.

Speaking of, tomorrow I’ll probably have a more serious post about the next Society of Professional Journalists meeting.

Assuming I don’t change my mind, I’ll look forward to possibly seeing you there.

Perusing the RUHS Archives

Perusing the RUHS Archives

Editor’s Note: On March 26, 2019 I made a few corrections to dates throughout this post after the RUHS Archivist, Therese Martinez, offered some notes.

Now the piece should hopefully be even more accurate.


Sometimes work can take you to unexpectedly interesting places.

In my perpetual search for Gladeo interviewees (because internship hours), today I took my Mom’s advice and spent time with the Archivist at my alma mater, Redondo Union High School.

Apparently I’m just gravitating toward the school this weekend, be it for theatre or history.

About two years after I graduated in 2015, an old storage space for janitorial goods was converted into this fancy Alumni House.

The school has been around since ~1905, so there’s a whole lot of alum to keep track of.

But more importantly, the Alumni House became a space for memorabilia — old class photos, yearbooks, furniture, mascot costumes, etc.

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Much less dilapidated now.

Since this wasn’t a place when I attended high school, I never got to check any of it out.

Now that I did, I’m pretty upset that everything wasn’t so open and available back when I was working on the High Tide. Would’ve loved to peruse for a story or two!

Some of the archived pieces go way back to the 1920’s.

Like this mirror, a senior present for the school from the class of 1925:

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In that same vein, there were publications like yearbooks and newspapers from around the 20s, as the High Tide has been in business since 1920.

Old versions of the yearbook, called “The Pilot” (which had even earlier publications going back to 1915), were particularly cool because a lot of them had student signatures from all those years ago:

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It’s pretty incredible to not just see pictures of folks long since entering the cradle of old age, but to see what and how they wrote to one another.

Gotta love an age where everyone wrote in clean, precise cursive.

And where nobody wrote “HAGS” because they weren’t enmeshed in a culture of shorthand acronyms and emoji that have cursed our modern, digital age into regressed diction.

… Sorry, did I say that out loud? My old man is showing.

A few other specific items on display were of note.

Like this class photo from 1921 — the oldest one we have available, apparently:

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Or the old met version of our mascot, Sammy the Seahawk.

Apparently dubbed “Scary Sammy” because… Well…

Look at him.

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That is a terrifying mascot costume.

Though alongside the old costume, I also found out that the first time RUHS received the “sea hawk” as its mascot was in the banner of a High Tide issues from 1926.

A lot of the other things around the Alumni House were just as cool, but in the interest of not having a 3,000 word post I think it’s safe to share the rest in a neat little slideshow:

 

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However, don’t think this is the last time you’ll hear from me about the Alumni House.

I’ve already started the gears turning to get a video interview with the RUHS Archivist for Gladeo, alongside a Career Profile on being an archivist.

So whenever that’s coming together, assuming I’ll be on set as a producer of sorts, you know I’ll be sharing bits and pieces of it.

Stay tuned.


The content of most photos here are courtesy of the RUHS Archives.

My Interdisciplinary Networking Panel debrief

My Interdisciplinary Networking Panel debrief

After months of build up, today was the day.

Networking panel was a go.

Not even hail could keep me out of Fullerton this afternoon, where I finally got to follow-through on officially adding event planner onto my résumé (though I already technically did weeks ago).

I’m serious. It hailed in Southern California. An event so crazy that I scoured my car to find evidence of it once I got to campus.

Don’t think I’ve seen ice fall out of the sky since Elementary School.

But that’s not the point of why you’re all here. You’re here to read my writing on how the event panned out — assuming you didn’t follow my live tweeting (or you’re reading this years in the future).

I’ve discussed my road getting here numerous times in the past, but for the sake of catching everyone up quickly: I became a University Honors Program Ambassador after not nabbing a space on the Advisory Counsel, as the Co-Curricular Coordinator wanted to put the creative power of all us interested parties to good use.

Since then, I’ve been meeting with the Coordinator, Tyler, and a fellow Honors Program student Melina, once a week to plan a panel about interdisciplinary networking tips to find jobs and make connections within jobs.

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Here’s us, post-panel.

Today we finally got to take over the Honors Center on campus:

Unfortunately, the visual arts representative we invited got sick this morning and could not make it out. But she was gracious enough to send us documents with the kinds of tips she was going to share so we could lay it out for attendees.

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How gracious!

Without her we had three speakers and a moderator, Cassandra Thompson — College Career Specialist from the Career Center.

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Finally got to put that arts & crafts to good use.
  • Dr. Sandra Perez — University Honors Program Director and Pre-Doctorate Program Faculty Coordinator for the Graduate Studies Office
  • Dr. Shaun Pichler — Journal of Occupational & Organizational Psychology Associate Editor
  • Spencer Custodio — Reporter, Voice of OC

Spencer, true to form, was late to the event because he was covering a story. Even hung out a bit afterwards to turn in his copy before we went out to dinner.

Gotta love that man.

I’ll admit that I didn’t personally absorb a lot of what got discussed at the panel. I was too busy live tweeting.

But that said, I did get a lot of great tweets out of the event:

It figures I could only really enjoy my own event through the lens of journalistic objectivity.

After the panel, Justin Gerboc from the CSUF Alumni Association gave a presentation on the Titan Pro Network — which is essentially LinkedIn but concentrated to CSUF alum:

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He was pretty great, too. Real nice guy.

The only other hitch was that I was a dolt and forgot the Fandango gift cards that were planned to be prizes for our networking practice activity at home.

I’ll be bringing the winners their prizes within the next week or so. It was simply yet another reminder that you always have to be ready to improvise, because something perfect on paper might have some last-minute problems in execution.

However, as far as I could tell the audience we had was sizable and decently engaged, in spite of whatever problems we had with late/missing speakers and delayed prizes:

By the end of the afternoon we went well over the hour-and-a-half time slot planned out, and people were sticking around afterward to chat.

So… Yeah. I’d wager that my first ever adventure in event planning was some kind of success!

While I had a great time working with Tyler and Melina to set this whole thing up, I’ll admit that I’m glad it’s finally over. The Ambassador event was a decent time suck while I’ve been low-key stressing out about my Honors Project, Internship hours and midterms.

But hey, all that stress had to be worth it based on comments we got about attendees learning a lot.

That’s the whole reason we put this together in the first place.

So I’ll consider it mission accomplished.

Sacred Stones and The Dropout

Sacred Stones and The Dropout

Once again, a large portion of my day has been spent doing homework between a rock and a hard place.

I was feeling pretty lazy and had no desire to do work… But my weekend plans did not allow for procrastination.

Yesterday was the CBS Broadcast Center tour.

Tomorrow I have a St. Patrick’s Day party to attend over in Fullerton.

Both of which are great social things to do, so I cannot complain. However, my first paper for Gaming in American Culture is due tomorrow, so that became an assignment I was unable to push-off.

Luckily, in spite of my complaints about overwriting the other day, I was finally able to focus and cut the paper down. It’s now six pages exactly, with a bibliography and citations in Chicago Style — something I’ve never used before.

Long ago I wrote about my turmoil trying to decide what video game I should write about for this paper series.

That impossible choice wound up landing on Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, my favorite game in the turn-based tactical RPG. So far it has been a great one, as I’ve had a ton of fun analyzing how Sacred Stones is arguably one of the most replayable games in the series due to its unit variety, random stat distributions, intentionally restrictive player choice options, multiple pathways and Permadeath concessions.

All wrapped up in a polished, 32-bit handheld bow that I adore.

Perhaps when all three parts of the paper are finished, I’ll try to compile everything and post it on the old blog here. Seems like something that would fit.

I’ve also spent time working on my essay for Cognitive Psychology, which involves analyzing a study that corresponds with the presentation I gave in-class last Thursday.

While the paper was easy to pull together, having a 3-page maximum limit, I’m still kind of struggling with the finishing details because of how confusing the professor has made certain instructions.

Though I’ve talked about that before, so I won’t bore you here.

Something that has helped me work through all of this essay writing is a brand new investigative reporting podcast I recently discovered called: The Dropout.

Helmed by Rebecca Jarvis, the Chief Business, Technology & Economics Correspondent for ABC News, this podcast discusses the rise and fall of a company called Theranos and its female CEO Elizabeth Holmes — which basically defrauded millions of dollars from investors in promising a miracle medical test, also putting millions of people at risk.

Sounds like an ad, I know. But it’s not an ad.

Though… It could be an ad?

Hit me up, Rebecca. I’m sure you’re dying for these 10+ views/day.

Seriously though, it’s a fascinating story. I’m about three episodes deep and really looking forward to finishing the rest during my next couple commutes.

It’s another great addition to my growing collection of one-shot journalistic podcasts. Joining the ranks of Dirty John and The Butterfly Effect.

Because I could listen to Nando and DJ discuss movies on Mostly Nitpicking or Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman discuss celebrity news on Hollywood Babble-On for hours. But sometimes the real, raw journalism is far more of a fascinating subject to absorb.


Featured Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Live from Studio City

Live from Studio City

In case some of you weren’t around this morning to see what I’ve been up to today, here’s the real brief teaser I put out on social media:

However, assuming you might be reading this in some far-flung future date where Twitter is dead in the aftermath of terrible social media toxicity, I’ll lay it out in good, old-fashioned text:

The Cal State Fullerton branch of the Society of Professional Journalists got an opportunity to tour the CBS2/KCAL9 broadcast center in Studio City, California this afternoon.

However, assuming you might be reading this in some far-flung future date where the Internet is dead after a nuclear apocalypse…

Well you wouldn’t be reading this anyway. My entire joke would fall apart well before I started it.

So I’ll stop wasting your time.

My dad worked at the station for about three years as an Information Technology Manager, in-part helping to build out some of the infrastructure that we were able to see today.

In fact, I personally helped build bits and pieces when he took me to work with him. Crawling under tables to plug-in computers and stuff.

Because he still has some friends at CBS, he was able to get our club president Harrison in touch with Dan Haight, the Director of Broadcast Operations and Engineering.

As the Secretary for our chapter, I figured the least I could do was help us get a tour at a professional newsroom. Luckily it was a successful venture!

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The broadcast building from behind, on the sixth floor roof of the parking structure.

I got to Studio City pretty early and had the chance to look around at the entertainment side of the house first.

That included a whole host of fancy-looking lots as well as named buildings, street signs and more.

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But more importantly, it included a lot of brief looks at areas where different TV shows are currently being recorded.

The one that stood out most to me was Last Man Standing. Not because I watch the Tim Allen sitcom, but because of where the show was:

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The home of Seinfeld? Now that’s a sound stage that could tell some stories.

Even if most of those stories are technically supposed to be centered in New York.

~*~Hollywood magic~*~

Here are a number of other discoveries I made, all lazily compiled in a slide show because I’m pretty tired after a number of hours on the freeway.

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However, arguably the most important discovery I made was off the lot:

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Don’t know if this is a business officially affiliated with CBS, or if it’s just some business owner with a lot of ingenuity to capitalize on the major job provider in the area, but either way I’m a fan.

After my little self-driven tour, it was time to head back to the broadcast center for our official tour!

… Except traffic was apparently not great today, so I was the first one there and had to hang out for quite some time before the rest of the group arrived.

Gave me a lot of time to look around at the big stuff in the lobby.

It was actually a lot of fun watching folks wander in-and-out, usually stopping by the security desk to see what was on the news with the guard.

After Dan arrived to take us around on the tour, I didn’t take a whole lot of pictures. Got caught up in just checking everything out.

So the best I’ve got for visuals in this stage are the couple of pictures we took as a group that got posted on the SPJ account:

Obviously, that’s where I got my featured image from. I love the image Harrison got of us all looking into a news camera.

We found out that the area where we took that picture is going to be reworked soon for a new project CBS is working on to get live news broadcasts to mobile phones easier. All with the hopes of attracting that young audience that doesn’t watch traditional TV anymore.

Then we got a look around the newsroom, everything from the assignment desk to the online story stations and editing bays.

Afterward we checked out a couple of the shows currently recording, or preparing to record, during our tour.

First was the weekly Veteran’s Voices show, where a few actors were sitting in as the anchors so they could make sure all the shots were right.

After that we saw the end of the News at Noon with Sandra Mitchell, sitting alongside the weather lady Alex Biston.

Fun fact, this weather update was actually what we watched her record. Live. It was pretty cool, and she took some time to chat with us afterward!

The most interesting thing about watching the news broadcast was the fact that those two were the only people on the entire set. Everything else was fully automated.

I can’t help but feel it would be disconcerting to record an entire broadcast like that with nobody else around on a big sound stage… But I suppose it’s the kind of thing that Internet personalities do all the time in the 21st Century.

It was kind of cool to see how much technology has advanced I suppose, even if it wasn’t a great sign for getting jobs in the industry.

Finally, we were in one of the big control rooms just in time for Donald Trump’s speech on the New Zealand attacks — which I’ll use the CNN story for just for the sake of variety.

It was pretty amazing watching almost every screen in the room change to show the President’s face, both for the CBS channels and their competition.

While we were checking out the fully automated sound deck beside that control room, another one of my Dad’s old friends showed up. Bob and Dan got to talking, which led them to telling our tour group about how much they enjoyed working with Dad and missed him.

Which was a very sweet thing to see.

But that was pretty much all there is to say about my CBS tour. It was really cool, especially on the verge of graduation when I need to start thinking about things like work more avidly.

… Plus, I got to write it off as networking with reporters for my internship.

So I really can’t complain about that.