Tag: Mildred Garcia

Saying Sayonara to 2017

Saying Sayonara to 2017

Looking back at my 2016 end-of-the-year post before starting this one off was a pretty interesting little experience. Mostly because I reflected on the fact that last year was a pretty universally divisive time with a lot of personal accomplishment that made things worth it all in the end.

This year, I have essentially the same thing to say. Except I would argue that the divisive part of things had been turned up to 11. Plus, while things have been great for me, a lot of things also have not been so great.

Spoiler alert, I’m basically just ready for 2017 to end.

Unlike in last year’s discussion, I won’t go too far into detail about my video game playing experiences this year. I kind of already did it with my top 10 games list the other day, even if that was in order of my personal enjoyment rather than the chronological order I played things.

I’m going to just leave this off as a ‘check that list out here‘ note rather than talking too much more about it, especially since I’m probably going to do a few more video game-centric posts soon enough.

Namely tomorrow when Fire Emblem Heroes New Year units are released.

To cover all of my bases in this post just in case you guys don’t want to look back, just know that I didn’t play nearly as many games as I would have liked this year, and while I thoroughly enjoyed just about everything I did play, it’s a shame I couldn’t have done more due to my time commitments.

Speaking of, those time commitments wound up bookmarking my 2017 more than my video games did in that respect.

The Daily Titan has been the main driving force of that throughout the year. While last spring semester was my first time being an editor for the paper alongside Megan Maxey, I continued on in that role both semesters this year, only getting better and better at the job (in my opinion, at least).

During the fall semester, I worked together with Sarah Wolstoncroft – who had been one of my amazing assistants the semester before. Then this last semester, I worked together with Brandon Pho – who again had been one of my amazing assistants the semester before. Amazing how that pattern works out in the smaller College-level news industry, especially when you’re one of the younger starting people in the room to observe it.

Looking back at my archive, I’ve written a total of 40 stories between these last two semesters combined. That’s a lot of writing, even kind of overwhelming to think back to considering everything else I balanced, and there are some of them I’ll probably never forget working on.

A couple of articles were really serious last minute things I’ve had to do, such as our reporting the night of the Las Vegas shooting. A couple of them have been little passion projects for things like video games, such as my reviews of the Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga remake and Fire Emblem Heroes. I’ve even done a few things I never quite expected to do at this point in what is a burgeoning career, like writing entire articles off of my phone while translating documents at Downtown Disney. The policies put into place by President Donald Trump, as well as things like the CSU-wide tuition increase, played big parts in the overarching issues we covered.

However, I think the stories I especially won’t forget are the massive projects I helped lead during my time as an editor.

During the spring came the work we did on Homeless in OC, a series that blossomed out of the Daily Titan advisor Bonnie Stewart’s Investigative Reporting class where I got to participate in the all night Point-In-Time count and do extended research into the Anaheim shelter system, particularly under Mercy House.

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Spring was also the semester of the Eric Canin incident that shook up Cal State Fullerton. For those who don’t remember, at an anti-Trump rally early on in the year, an anthropology professor reportedly struck a member of the College Republicans club as both the protest and counter-protest made their way through campus. There wound up being many months worth of stories to follow as a political shitstorm erupted over the altercation, eventually resulting in the Professor coming back to teach as the verdict came out that he did strike the student, but there were enough caveats to the moment given it was his first offense that no harsh action was taken outside a few month’s suspension. That last story in particular was special for me in that our Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook reached out specifically to give us information ahead of time so I could write a substantial story over the summer wrapping things up.

Part of the Canin story involved me growing a close relationship with members of the College Republicans club, which was extra useful come the fall semester when I got to be the lead reporter in our work on Milo Yiannopoulos coming to CSUF.

Granted, that whole experience did kind of wreck my Halloween this year, but the aspect of working on and learning from such a high-controversy story was something I wouldn’t change for the world.

Plus, I got to be on NPR because of it, so I definitely can’t complain about that.

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The fall semester was also bookmarked by dealing with (current) University President Mildred Garcia. I got to be part of the team that did an interview with her toward the beginning of the semester, and I was also the person that covered the fact that she would be leaving at the end of the semester. In my opinion, it’s never a bad thing to build a good reputation with the higher-ups in an organization. Makes it easier to do things like get comments down the line.

Those big stories weren’t the only things that made this such a hard-working year for me. I also kept on with Dr. Jason Sexton as a part of Boom, which led to me becoming the inaugural editor for an offshoot publication called California Connections in the spring. That project did get off the ground, but most of the work in creating a publication is going to flourish in 2018, so stay tuned for that.

I also started on probably my first major internship over the summer by joining a non-profit organization called Gladeo. Gladeo’s goal is to create a database of business profiles and job descriptions that can all be in one place and help students decide what they want to do for a living. A pretty noble goal, and one that I likely would have benefitted from if I haven’t found my place as a Journalist.

Even if certain other events (that I’ll go into in a bit) got in the way of working hard for that group over the spring semester as well, I’m sticking on with them too and will continue to produce profiles as the organization revamps its web presence in the early months of this upcoming year.

There are still a few interviews I did with people who work at DreamWorks animation that I have to pull together into articles… But I will get around to that soon enough.

Among my journalistic ventures this year, I also got to do some cool things like visit the LA Weekly office. It was a great place and I got to meet some cool people as a result… It’s just too bad they were given a bad break just a few months later. It’s a shame, really. Especially since we know people who worked there personally.

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On top of that, I’ve also had a few other fun trips throughout the year. Revisiting Old Fort MacArthur Days comes to mind, as does events I’ve taken part in at places like The Autry Museum. Plus, I got to go to the Fox studio lot for a movie screening – though I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures there, unfortunately.

Being a journalist is only half of my professional moniker, however. The other half is being a student, and I have to say that my classes have been quite enjoyable this year… For the most part.

During the fall I took California Government and got a wider understanding of just how crazy things are in the old Golden State I’ve grown up in. I also took Primate Anthropology, which gave me a pretty deep appreciation of our mammalian ancestors that I never exactly expected to care so much about. My aforementioned Investigative Reporting class allowed me to work with Bonnie and other members of The Daily Titan and journalism majors in general to do some really fascinating and personally perspective-changing research into Homeless populations. Finally, I also thoroughly enjoyed my honors class, which delved into the history of the modern world from a deep perspective, offering in part some really interesting connections to today’s political and social workings.

When spring came along, for some reason I decided to kill myself further by kicking things up a notch and taking five classes.

I coincided my work on California Connections with an internship class out of the English college under the instruction of our internship advisor in Communications, since I was able to get extra credits toward my degree despite not being able to take the Comm-focused internship. Beyond that, I picked up my minor in psychology and jumped right in with a Statistics course (with its corresponding lab) and a course in Developmental Psychology. Both were undoubtedly great entry points into the minor… Even if I admittedly was not the strongest stats student, at least in part due to the fact that I wasn’t a huge fan of my professor. However, my Multimedia Journalism class under Bonnie once again gave me a great opportunity to practice doing video journalism, which at one point helped me bolster my working relationship with the Project Rebound program on campus, and my Junior Honors Colloquium course began me down the journey of preparing for my inevitable Senior Honors project.

Plus, I was in the same class as the president of the College Republicans club, which made things vastly easier to keep up on the Milo coverage than it otherwise could have been.

Sheesh, just writing all of that out was a bit exhausting. Like a lot of people have asked me in the past, I too kind of question how I’ve been able to do all of this with enough competency not to necessarily fall on my ass in any of it.

Who knows, maybe I’m just a bit better at this whole life thing than I give myself credit for.

Despite this wealth of academic and real-life opportunities that have flourished for me over the last year, not everything in 2017 has been all sunshine and rainbows.

Namely, health has been a major concern for my family all throughout.

A lot of the beginning of the year focused on some of my dad’s diabetic complications, which led to him being off his feet for a long, long time due to the introduction of a number of foot surgeries into his life. Luckily, he’s way better now and did not have to go through anything seriously traumatic, so he’ll be apt to tell you that the big take-away from it all was the ease that comes from now having a handicap permit.

My mom and sister also went through their own little arcs, the prior dealing with bronchitis and badly scraping up her knees and the latter dealing with tendinitis that has minorly inconvenienced her blossoming career in music.

However, the other big medical complication of the year came from one other than yours truly.

I haven’t exactly talked about this little chapter of my life too publicly because it was a very personal thing, but at this point I’m well past the blunt of it and figure now would be as good a time as ever to recount the details for posterity.

During a blood test as part of my routine check-up in September, the doctor found that my blood platelet count was abnormally, if not dangerously low. When that result continued to show itself, I was sent to a Hematologist, where we tried a number of treatments to resolve the issue, such as taking steroids over a long period of time in hopes of correcting what was believed to be a potential issue with an overactive immune system.

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When that didn’t show as promising a result as expected, I instead took part in an Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IvIG) treatment. After two days worth of a number of hours sitting in a chair, I wound up being in the lucky .01 percent minority that suffered from aseptic meningitis as a result of the treatment.

It was a viral form of the problem, which meant it wasn’t nearly as serious, life-threatening or contagious as a potential bacterial strain would have been. However, I landed in the hospital for a couple days as a result.

On the one hand, I will admit that it was kind of nice getting a reprieve from the world and some quiet time to catch up on work while I was there. Though, on the other hand, it obviously put a wrench in… Basically everything. Even after I got out of the hospital, where I got to try a bunch of new things like a spinal fluid tap, there was at least a week afterward that I still had to rest at home and couldn’t look in the light for more than a few minutes.

Once my life began to normalize again, I was still a little fuzzy-headed for a while, but eventually I got to a comfortable place again, where I continue to stay today.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that my blood platelet count normalized perfectly after the IvIG (a rather ironically perfect twist of fate I’d say), the number has fallen back down since. It’s an issue I might be dealing with for the rest of my life as things go, but for now I can happily report that things are going fine.

That long, drawn-out experience which interrupted a part of my 2017 was only one part of why I’d say things were so rough. Among them were the echo chamber of news that I now tend to subject myself to as a semi-professional journalist.

I don’t like to get very political on my blog here. Or anywhere, in fact. My whole choice in career is built upon the ideal that I should simply be a reporter of things, as objective as possible about as many things as possible. So, I’ll leave it at this. Watching things happen in the world of national politics that I don’t agree with has been a constantly draining force in 2017, especially given that it seems to be all we hear about day-in and day-out for months on end.

Though as usual things like video games and time with my friends are a great escape from that endless grind, as I mentioned before I’ve found myself busier than ever with the work that keeps me immersed in that world, so it’s been a fairly relentless cycle.

Even with all the negativity that has defined 2017 for me, however, I can’t help but continue to look optimistically into the future.

2018 has some big projects in the works, such as the hopefully successful publication of California Connections toward the end of this spring semester.

On top of that, I’m going to be working as a staff member of The Daily Titan through the journalism concentration capstone class, Comm 471. Alongside that opportunity for a break from the hard-working job of editorial board that I’ve hammered at for the last year-and-a-half, I’m also going to hopefully be an assistant on a more feature-focused desk to give me a better grasp of the newspaper as a whole.

Past that, 2018 should hopefully be a year where I find myself less downtrodden by things like medical concerns. With a Nintendo Switch in my possession for the whole year ahead, it should also be a good opportunity to try even more games should I find the time to do so.

As I like to get meta with this site as well, I’ve put together 103 posts throughout this year (this one included), and I’ve gotten a good chunk more views in the process.

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I’m looking forward to watching this little passion project of mine grow about as much as everything else, since it really has developed into something I enjoy doing. One thing I’d like to do in the coming year is hopefully diversify what I post just a bit more, but we’ll see what my time permits.

Lastly, for now at least, 2018 will also be the year that I turn 21. A typically sought-after time where I’ll finally be able to round-out the governmental privileges of adulthood like drinking. Though I don’t plan to do a whole lot of that, I admit I am looking forward to a certain sense of prestige that comes with it.

If you have any favorite, or I suppose not-so-favorite memories from 2017, feel free to let me know about them in the comments section. I’m hoping it’s been an overall happier year for all of you out there than it has been for me, since I’m just about ready to leave everything behind for something better around the corner.

Here’s to a Happy New Year for everyone who continues to stick around on this little journey I call my life!

November 7, 2017 Article Published

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!

October 2 & 3 Articles Published

I think it’s probably pretty needless to say that the last few days have been rather hectic to be a journalist.

The mass shooting that happened Sunday in Las Vegas was a truly horrific event that frankly threw everything for a loop. The most recent estimates for what I was working with last night were saying that at least 59 have been killed and at least 527 were injured in the attack.

It’s honestly still unfathomable to me that one person could do that much. I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around the sheer number of people that were directly affected.

On top of that, the old adage of “everybody knows somebody” when it comes to these kinds of events has never rung more true for me than it has now. Me, my co-editor Brandon and a few other members of the Daily Titan have been covering the story the last couple of days (which has been a hectic enough time to hopefully explain why I’m lumping these two article posts into one) and we’re gathering more and more stories of people here in Orange County and at CSUF that were involved in one way or another.

I’ll admit it has been a bit harrowing and, frankly, quite disheartening to be barraged by all these details via work and in just about every form of media relentlessly over the last couple of days. Yet… At the same time, I can’t say I remember the last time I’ve been this proud of the work I’ve been doing.

The night of the shooting, while only a few of us were left in the newsroom wrapping up production, news started to trickle out of Las Vegas. At first we weren’t sure we were going to do anything about it, since there was lots of confusion about exactly what was going on as the Route 91 Harvest festival quickly broke apart. However, once we saw just how big the story was becoming, we knew we had to add something to our front page for our readers to be informed.

We wound up staying until 3:00 a.m. or so to finish that front page banner. Though Brandon, our copy editor Kyle, our managing editor Harrison and myself were working on compiling everything we could that was confirmable for some time leading up to then, the real linchpin we wanted was the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department media briefing that was going to give us as much up-to-date information as we could before we had no more leeway to let the printer extend our deadline.

That meeting was originally scheduled to happen at 12:45 a.m. It wound up happening closer to 1:45 a.m.

Granted it did give us the treasure trove of everything we needed to put a solid piece together, but it still kept us rather late. I can’t really say I’m complaining about it, however. Sure I was tired for class and I’m still pretty tired today, but being able to get that breaking news on the front page was an awesome feeling, and I really felt like I’m working with some of the best people in the business more than ever before.

Then the next day we did a follow-up piece on the shooting, extrapolating on CSUF President Mildred Garcia’s statement about members of the Titan community being present at the concert to write something about people who were there.

Alright, to be completely accurate about it, technically that’s more what Brandon wrote for our front page today. Originally that was also going to include a portion about the campus police department and how prepared they are to deal with active shooter situations. But we wound up having so much information that we split those into two separate articles, with me mostly writing the campus police story. We did both give each other contributing lines in our respective stories, though, since we helped each other gather the information together.

I think both articles turned out great, as his packed a serious emotional punch with first-hand accounts from a student about what it was like to be at the shooting while mine was an informative and, hopefully, comforting piece about the fact that these are things our officers have thought of and are prepared to deal with. They went together under a single banner framed by a picture of the flags on campus at half mast, and I’d say they really made a great package.

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Our last two front pages from Oct. 2 and Oct. 3 side-by-side

Plus, I personally found it a little funny that the story I wrote feels like a callback to my first big front page article for the Daily Titan, a story about campus police preparedness following the San Bernardino shooting.

Funny in as much as something can be considering the subject matter, of course.

If you want to read these articles in their entirety, and I recommend it for some of the powerful stuff we’ve pulled together – even if I’m sure everyone’s rather worn down on the subject by now – you can check them out here:

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

I’m sure there’s going to be more to come as far as covering the aftermath of Las Vegas goes, so be sure stick around if you want to see more coming down the pipeline.

September 7, 2017 Article Published

I had the opportunity to sit down with Cal State Fullerton’s President Mildred García yesterday alongside my co-editor Brandon, our Managing Editor Harrison and our Editor-in-Chief Zack.

While it has been an event I’ve been invited to take part in throughout my last few semesters as a News Editor, time constraints have always inhibited my ability to go. Being able to be a part of the small panel this time around was wonderful, both because the team I got to go with was great and because we got a lot of really solid stuff just from some brief conversing on current affairs. It’s the sort of thing I definitely want to see happen more in the future.

Though we only got about a half hour of her time (as it is safe to say that being the President of a University can be a busy job), I feel like we managed to get a hell of a lot of questions in to sustain a rather beefy little interview. At least 3,500 words worth of content from my last count.

Basically about as long as one of my wordy video game postings but with a subject matter that actually means something more substantial.

In regards to topics, we mainly talked about five things with García:

  • The recent decision to rescind DACA.
  • The possibility of Milo Yiannopoulos coming to campus later this semester.
  • Current plans for the University’s next Strategic Plan, given that the last one is set to end this year.
  • Issues with parking on campus – one which I tend to experience frequently, I might add.
  • Her thoughts on the issue of Lecturer Eric Canin.

Rather than writing a story specifically about these elements, we decided to do something a little different by offering readers a Q&A formatted piece so they can see everything that was said. With only some minor editing for things like grammar and clarity, the full transcript is available in print (on shelves for this weekend at least) and online (for presumably all weekends until the internet collapses).

Oh, and for those of you looking to appreciate some extra behind-the-scenes flavor, the picture we have as a featured image on the website actually has me sitting to the left of García with my freshly shaved beard and more dress-y shirt. Harrison and Brandon are to her right and Zack is taking the picture, so naturally I was on my own at that side of the table for just about the whole interview. Made things both engaging and perhaps a smidgen more intimidating when she focused her attention to my side and didn’t have to split her gaze between a number of eyes.

I was going to have a similar photo cameo in our print edition, but the transcript is so long that we had to eliminate a lot of that visual flair just to make room for it.

What you would have seen, however, was kept alive thanks to our Instagram post in which you can still very clearly see the back of my head:

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Special thanks to my friend Lissete, one of our social media assistants this semester, for helping me get my hands on this considering I don’t have an Instagram account.

Looking good there, scamp. Looking good.

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

September 6, 2017 Article Published

So technically this article does not have my byline, and I’m not looking to take credit for it by any means, but the story is important enough that I definitely feel like it’s worth sharing here.

Yesterday, the White House announced their plans to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and sent everyone into a tizzy – for lack of a better term with more gravitas. My co-editor Brandon and I jumped into action right when we found out, as he had preempted the possibility of things happening with a small story the day before.

Not only did we spend most of the afternoon out and about trying to do interviews with DACA-related officials and student activists responding on campus, we also scowered through Trump’s press statement, the statements released by higher ups like CSUF President Mildred Garcia and CSU Chancellor Timothy White and we staked out the Dreamers center to try and get some raw opinions on the subject. We did wind up succeeding on that front, where we also got access to some officials from other campus clubs and organizations who were visiting to give their condolences and support.

This was also the story that contained my little adventure trying to get an interview with Pollak Library Dean Clem Guthro. I elaborated on that in my last post about the Autry event I attended, but I still can’t get over the wonderful serendipity of it all. So why not call back to it again, am I right?

Unfortunately, that break at the Autry for Boom meant I had to spend a solid 5 hours of the night outside of the newsroom. Thus, while I did stay on call to help pass along sources (such as the extra Guthro interview) and edit the story, I was not able to be involved in actually writing the story.

The decision to go wound up being hard to make, as DACA was such an important story last night that I felt like it might even be worth skipping out on the Internship-based event I’d RSVP’d for at least three weeks ago. Brandon said he could handle it however, so I decided to go anyway. Luckily the event ended early enough that I was able to swing back to Fullerton to help close out the night, so I didn’t feel as bad by the end.

That’s why I don’t have a full byline in the story, as I wasn’t actually a serious part of writing the piece. Instead I got a contributing credit for all the work I helped put into it.

However that should by no means be taken as a complaint. Brandon did a phenomenal job pulling together all of the elements we collected into a succinct, engaging story. I actually had next to nothing as far as corrections went when I looked over it from the Autry. He wholeheartedly deserves the credit he got, and I’m happy just being a part of it.

I just happen to appreciate a little self-promotion, so I figured it was worth pushing this one out on my blog for the sake of my part in writing it. On top of the massive emotional impact and great reporting, of course.

If you want to read the article in its entirety, you can see it here. Brandon really did a wonderful job and it’s definitely worth the look. Beyond that, if you want to see my full breadth of writing for the Daily Titan, you can find it over on the right!

August 28, 2017 Article Published

I’m pretty exhausted.

Between adjusting to new classes, a couple doctor’s visits for things like physicals and working on the Daily Titan, I already feel like I could use a break. It wouldn’t be exaggeration to say that this one week alone has felt like a month in its own right.

At least watching people read the title to my article and pick it up the school paper throughout the day has been a significant little energy boost.

For those of you that are at CSUF, I’m sure you have all noticed the super cool newspaper gracing every shelve and pick-up booth today. At least I hope you have all noticed. However, for those of you who are not on this campus, I figure I should show you all what’s going on:

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Though the beginning of school has been a major part of my stress and exhaustion lately, certainly working on this big story has been a significant contributing factor, despite it all being worth the effort in the end.

I’ve done at least eight or more interviews within the last week alone to put this piece on controversial conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos potentially coming to CSUF and how close the process is to securing it. In the end I’d argue I accumulated enough content to fill up five completely separate articles on different subjects related to this event in the works.

Thanks to my assistant Amy for some help transcribing and to our Editor in Chief Zack for helping me work through putting it all together in a cohesive way, I’d say things turned out pretty wonderfully.

The story essentially begins with my delving into the College Republican club’s plans to bring Milo Yiannopoulos to campus and confirming that they have been doing what they said they have been doing. That meant going to every source that club president emeritus Chris Boyle mentioned to confirm that they had been in touch with the club on the subject.

Once all of those confirmations were in place I was able to delve into what got us started on this investigation, a petition put online by the Students for Quality Education (SQE) organization on campus. While the fact that a member of the Administration supposedly leaked them this information ahead of time despite the College Republicans not making any formal announcements as they finish the process is another story, for now there was not enough information available to really delve into it.

They hope to put the message out to the school’s President Mildred Garcia and a number of others that they don’t want alt-right speakers like Milo on campus, though as I explain throughout the piece it really isn’t up to the Administration to decide that.

That said, the next big chunk of my piece revolves around how campus organizations and clubs, registered through Student Life and Leadership, can get guest speakers on campus to hold events. It’s an interesting process in that it’s almost entirely up to the club themselves to work out any contracts and agreements with both the speakers and the University, so everyone else essentially acts in advisory roles more than anything else.

With all that said, I end off on a note that the College Republicans feel this kind of speaker has been called for by a large amount of conservative-leaning students on campus, and some of their reasoning is interesting to consider. From here on we simply wait and investigate more, as you know we’ll be looking to get our hands on whatever contract is signed between the College Republicans and Milo to confirm what we understand is the day he will be coming.

If that information does end up panning out in the final agreement, it’ll be a pretty big story in itself. So stay tuned.

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


While this is clearly a moment of self-promotion, as I’ve been chatting about my front page article for this weeklong edition, I also wanted to spend a moment talking about how cool the rest of this paper is from all of our elements put together.

Our new layout editor did a great job re-arranging the banner at the top of the paper this semester to make it look way more clean and pretty. The cut-out teaser next to the paper’s name is also a neat touch, in my opinion.

Our new Illustrator has been killing it so far this semester with an abundance of drawings in just our first two issues alone. This one for Milo Yiannopoulos is pretty spot on, and the way we have it so that the podium looks like it continues all the way down the stack of papers creates a nice effect.

I’ve also got to give some props to Brandon for his article in the Front Page 1 slot next to mine, as it’s a really good little investigative piece that easily could have been Front Page Dominant if it had as potentially appealing an eye-drawing visual or name to accompany it. Unfortunately Milo happens to be one of those figures that sells papers, but the hard work he put in is really great either way.

Between all of this and more, like an opinion piece on NASA post-eclipse and a reflection on the CSUF Massacre in 1976, I’d have to say this issue is one of my favorites that I’ve had the chance to work on in my two semesters (plus two weeks) as an editor for the DT. It’s just a really solid paper.

Plus it’s on the shorter side and didn’t keep us here until 2:00 a.m., which is hopefully a trend we can keep up with once our daily production starts next week.

In fact, I’d recommend checking out our entire issue this week, which you can see on our digital Issuu archive. I’d say it’s definitely worth a read.

August 21, 2017 Articles Published

Happy solar eclipse day everyone!

For those of you who are somehow unaware, a total solar eclipse is happening in North America today, which NASA says will leave 14 states in the U.S. totally dark for two minutes in the middle of the day. Unfortunately California is not one of those totally dark states. We do get a partial eclipse at least, so with special glasses I’ve been able to see the sun look like a crescent moon.

Which by itself is pretty awesome to think about really.

However, I’m certainly not the expert in the subject, so for all of your cool space stuff needs I’d say go check out NASA’s website directly. They’ve got a bunch of cool information and photo galleries, so it’s definitely worth a look.

In the meantime, this cool astro-phenomenon happens to come on the same day as the first day of the Fall 2017 semester. Summer is officially over and classes are beginning, but nothing suggests that better than the 2:00 a.m. Daily Titan deadline we went through last night/this morning.

Yeah… Hell of a way to start off the semester. Good thing I have a fairly late starting class on Mondays this time around.

The reason we went so late more or less boils down to the special insert we had. On top of an 8 page normal paper we also put together a 20 page extra “welcome back” guide. That was the real time suck, adding in enough stories to fill an extra 20 pages when we only have enough staff available for the minimum amount of work. I feel especially bad for our two copy editors who had to read and re-read half a billion stories on their own.

Luckily this is a weeklong issue, so we only had to put up with it for one day this week. Now we’re free to deal with new classes and getting accustomed to a scheduled life again.

That said, even though I’m pretty exhausted as I get ready to make my way to school again for day 1, this issue was nice in that I actually wrote two articles for it.

First, I wrote an article about CSUF President Mildred Garcia’s annual Convocation Address. It’s sort of like a State of the Union-type deal where she’ll update the campus community on what’s been happening over the last year and what’s going to happen going forward into the next.

Though the content of the event sometimes tends to lean more toward fluff and school propaganda, in my opinion, there was definitely some newsworthy stuff in it. This year marks Cal State Fullerton’s 60th Anniversary, so there was a lot of talk about celebrating that and bringing in ex-Titans from when the school was brand new.

She also mentioned that she will be announcing a new overarching strategic plan for the University at next year’s Convocation Address, as they need to spend the rest of this year… Actually coming up with it. The fact that part of this speech was used to announce that an announcement will be happening in 2018 was certainly strange as a concept, but the current five-year strategic plan has affected the school quite a bit, so just knowing that they’ll be working on a new one is pretty newsworthy in itself.

If you want to check out that story in its entirety, you can see it here. There’s something about it that I’m actually going to be investigating for our next week-long issue, so stay tuned for some of that.

The second story I published for this issue, and quite frankly the one I care about more personally, relates back to Project Rebound.

I covered Project Rebound when it first came to CSUF about a year ago, and I would still argue it’s one of the better stories I’ve ever put together. Not only was it one of the more in-depth and long articles I’ve written, but it also got an overwhelmingly positive reception – especially from the people in charge of the program.

They’ve still got that first article pinned up on the wall of their office, in fact.

While I meant to go back and talk with them more last semester, Eric Canin kind of wound up being a bit too much of an overwhelming force in my life and I didn’t have the chance. This semester, however, I was made aware of an orientation-esque event being held for new and returning Rebound scholars on campus, so I went and covered it.

I got some great quotes from the event of course, but I also got plenty of fodder to take back to our Features editor for some potential profiles. Just about everyone in that group has a really inspiring story honestly, so I’m definitely going to have to work on getting him in touch with Romarilyn to try and do something to get those stories out there.

The event was also quite nice in that it was probably the only event I’ve covered where I wasn’t necessarily a “fly on the wall” as much as usual. After that first article went live I apparently made a good enough word for myself that Romarilyn and Brady introduced me to the group a number of times while I was there and even encouraged them to talk with me. While I didn’t wind up getting a lot of them to for this article in particular, the sentiment was quite nice by itself.

If you want to check out the Rebound story in its entirety, you can see it here. It’s super long, since I honestly just banged it out real fast and knew we needed extra content to fill the welcome back guide, but I’d say it’s worth the read.

You can also see all 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!

March 15, 2017 Article Published

You may be wondering to yourself, “Jason, how do you find the time to do all of your homework with all of the articles you’ve been involved with writing so far this month?”

If you are, I first of all just have to say thank you for being so concerned, I really appreciate it. However, secondly I also have to add that I’ll have to answer that question whenever I figure it out myself, since I still have a take-home quiz and about 100 pages in a book I have to read both due tomorrow.

So that’s going to be fun.

There’s also the matter of a few recent updates in Fire Emblem that I’ve been meaning to write up but.. That’s neither here nor there. The video game stuff is important to me intrinsically, but it’s probably not going to hurt anybody to have to wait an extra couple of days to hear what my thoughts are on an event that’s already a few days past its prime as is.

Anyway, that’s enough complaining about my personal life for one post that shouldn’t even be about that. Onto the news!

The story I published today is a pretty important one after all, all things considered. In our continual coverage of the suspended lecturer Eric Canin case, I’ve written an article regarding the resolution that the College Republicans club are currently trying to get in front of the student government on campus (ASI) calling for University Presidet Mildred Garcia to make a statement on the issue and ban Canin from campus for good.

Pretty serious stuff.

The President of the College Republicans club, Chris Boyle, has been in talks with the Chair of the ASI Board of Directors and estimates it’s going to be about 3 to 5 weeks before there’s a substantial amount of progress, but it’s still something we’re going to be following up on in the near future whenever the gears start to seriously turn.

This article was much more fun for me to write than the last one I did for a number of reasons. First and foremost… It was not in a language I didn’t understand.  Always kind of a negative point, even if the subject matter was interesting and even if I got good feedback on the final article. Second, I got to spend a fair amount of time with the College Republicans preparing the story, since I was able to get the full text of their resolution, which we printed in full. Third, this story really is like our baby at the News Desk this semester.  It’s something I personally have adored following so far, and I’m looking forward to doing more coming up.

There’s also a fairly interesting back-and-forth between the California Faculty Association and the College Republicans club that I included in this story that’s pretty worth looking at, I’d say.

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

P.S. – I also contributed to an article about the Affordable Learning Solutions Expo that was held on campus yesterday, since I did a couple of the interviews and some of the data gathering for one of our A&E assistants Sarah El-Mahmoud. So if you wanna check that story out too you can see it here.

An exciting first day as a News Editor on a college newspaper

If you saw my last post about the article I had published today, you’ll know that the fall 2016 semester has started for me, the first semester that I’m serving as one of the editors for the News page for Cal State Fullerton’s Daily Titan newspaper.

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My credit as a News Editor in the masthead on page 2 of the Aug. 22 issue of the Daily Titan.

Toward the end of the summer there was a little bit of stress building up at the thought of having new responsibilities on the paper, ones that would make me accountable for not only large amounts of content needing to be created, but also for the grades of students taking Comm 471 (The Daily Titan staff writing capstone class for Communications majors) and, more importantly, for making sure the issues present on campus get addressed.

I probably won’t be writing a long post about every issue we publish considering there’s going to be four issues a week starting in a couple of weeks, but the first deadline night we had was pretty special, so I figured I would ramble a bit and talk about the struggles of putting together a college paper.

This particular issue was special in that it was a week-long issue, so we only had our Sunday production and not our usual Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday productions.  Just because we have a lower workload as a while this week doesn’t mean the deadline was easy, however.

We finished production on this issue at 2 A.M. this morning, the morning of our first day of class for the semester.  The night ran that late – early? – despite the fact that a few of us on the editorial board arrived three hours early to get work done on the paper.  If that doesn’t tell you about what kind of issue it was, I don’t know what else will.

While the work was long and tough, the end result is always sweet to see in print.  Especially when I have friends living on campus who will message me about my name and work being on the front page before I even get up to get ready for school.

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The front page of the Aug. 22, 2016 issue of the Daily Titan.  Notice how 3/4 of the main stories on the page are News section articles written by me, my co-editor and our assistants.

Now, there were a few overarching problems plaguing our deadline night from the offset that I would argue were the main contributors to the 14-15 hour runtime.  For one thing, we got a little screwed over as far as advertisement space goes.  Normally we get quite a few ads from the Ads department to fill up room on the admittedly large print space for the paper, but we got nearly nothing for this issue.  As a result, it took far longer to figure out how to stretch our content into the space we had, a burden mainly on the Layout desk that clearly seemed to take it’s toll.

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Pages 2 and 3, the News section for the Aug. 22, 2016 Daily Titan.

We also had a fairly sizable group of “new recruits” that had to learn the ropes of being on the paper, as actually working on the paper is a much different experience than talking about it through orientation.  Finally, there were some technological updates done prior to the semester starting that caused problems with printing pages and opening things on certain computers in the newsroom, extending the wait time for finally sending the final paper to be printed by quite a bit.

While there were overarching problems affecting the paper as a whole, there were also some issues specific to stories in my own section.  First and foremost, the stabbing story that fills the top banner on the front page.  Out of all the exciting ways to start off the semester, two students getting stabbed the morning of the deadline is certainly pretty high up there.  We obviously had to do some last minute coverage on what happened, and even with two reporters working on the story it wasn’t able to be completed until later on in the night thanks to some difficulty with sources and Fraternity politics.

Megan Maxey’s story on the Poverty Simulation for Nursing Students suffered a similar last minute deadline story fate, and my own story about the TSU and Western State College was very, very long, requiring some last minute word cuts even with the extra space we had from a lack of advertisements.  You also may have noticed that I wrote all three of the briefs on the inside edge of page 2, a symptom of a lack of people available to work.  They’re not necessarily hard – just 100 words on a story we’ve found online – but still.

The last big challenge of the stories in the issue was the story Jillian Salas wrote about CSUF President Mildred Garcia’s Convocation Address.  While her work was perfectly fine in its own right, I personally screwed up the coverage a little by forgetting to send a photographer to cover the event.  Without our own photos, we were stuck either having to use courtesy photos (something we don’t use on the front page) or creating a graphic to address the four points of CSUF’s Strategic Plan – a major talking point in the President’s speech.  Obviously we went with the former, but even then trying to fit it onto the page was a bit awkward and we needed a very large photo caption to help fill the space.

Finally, we came to the problem of story headlines.  Now inherently, headlines aren’t such a terrible thing.  They’re quick and meant to describe the content of the story it accompanies in some capacity.  The problem comes when there isn’t a lot of room to write a headline in, making it harder to find the right words to use.  That’s not all either, for stories on the front page that bleed into another page – such as Garcia’s speech and my buildings update – you need to make two headlines that have to be totally different in content.  Add to that a third “deck” subheading that also has to be different than the other two and you wind up struggling to come up with a variety of things to say.

This issue also included a special insert, our New Student Orientation (NSO) guide.

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The Fall 2016 Daily Titan NSO guide alongside the semester’s first paper.

Why the guide wasn’t passed out during the actual NSO over the summer that we created it for is beyond me, but here it is included along with our first major production for the semester.

While the creation of the guide is admittedly more of a way to sell a lot of ads to kick off the semester, it does have a few articles written by members of the Daily Titan Editorial Board.  More fluff stories than hard news, but technically it was meant to come out well before the semester started, so there was understandably not all that much to cover.

A bit of pride I personally draw from the NSO guide comes from this page, which depicts a map of the places you can park on campus and a few advertisements.

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Typically we have our Layout editor and his assistants put our page’s structures together, but for the NSO guide the ads department did most of the initial work.  This page, however, was incredibly awkward in how it was first constructed.  There was very little room for the map, and the way our illustrator made the image itself didn’t lend itself to the space we had.  So, while our Layout editor was off doing other things, it was up to someone else to help try and put the page design together.

That someone, if the build-up didn’t make it obvious, was me.  I was able to show off the skills I accumulated through my editorial years on RUHS’s High Tide newspaper by editing the page design so everything could work, and I greatly impressed the Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor as a result.  All and all not a bad thing to do.

If nothing else, probably the best thing I can say about our deadline night last night was that it was a wonderful bonding period.  Now matter how frustrating and drawn out the work tended to become, at least I was suffering with friends who were all going through the same thing.  On top of that, things like lunch/dinner and the inevitable delirium that snuck in once the witching hour came around made for wonderful chances to get to know the people I’m working with better, especially those who are going to be helping out at my desk.  Even though CSUF is a commuter campus, lots of people still like to give me skeptical or disappointed looks when I mention that I’ve been a commuter since day one, having not decided to try the on-campus dorm experience for my undergraduate life.  It’s mostly a monetary concern that led to the decision in the end, but most people cite the lack of connection to other people at school as reason why it was a poor choice.  While I can understand the concern, I’d argue that my early and ongoing level of involvement in school institutions like the Daily Titan really offset them in a big, bad way.  I am involved and making friends, and I probably spend more time on campus than a lot of other people who don’t live there – so who cares if I decide to save a little extra money in the meantime?  Besides, having some extra quiet drive time is nice if you ask me.

However, there is one final thing of note about this particular production that I think is pretty amazing:

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This semester’s run of the Daily Titan is the 100th volume.  The paper has been around for 50 years and runs two volumes for the fall and spring semesters, thus we’ve reached 100 volumes.  It’s a heck of a milestone for the paper as a whole, for sure… But what stands out about it most for me is that I get to be a part of the hundredth volume.  My (admittedly very long) buildings update story is part of the front page for the first issue of this special milestone.

And that’s pretty amazing to me.


As another slightly unrelated note, one thing I learned from being at the CSUF campus late is that all the Team Instinct players like to take command of the gyms in Pokémon GO when they know nobody will be awake to overturn their rule.

Plus, it’s a really good place to find some real life Pokémon at 2:30 in the morning.  Just saying.

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Excuse the lousy lighting, there’s a rabbit hidden in the shadows there somewhere.