Yes this is a silly sounding title, but I to distracted and missed a day so I have to catch up now.
Somehow I wound up publishing three articles this week. A breadth of articles for many different sections. It has admittedly been exhausting… But also fulfilling in a deeply personal kind of way.
But also ALSO good for the fact that it fills the coffers of points I need to pass Comm 471. So that’s a plus.
The first story I was working on is actually the second one that was published. Hopefully that won’t get too confusing as I try to lay things out in the order that it all happened.
My last 471 desk rotation was with opinion. Though I haven’t had the most time to work for that desk specifically, I did quite enjoy writing my surfing piece not too long ago.
Because of that I wanted to write another piece before getting switched over to the lifestyle desk. Unfortunately, it took me a while to come up with anything I actually had a serious opinion on that was worth writing… But eventually I came to the idea.
During the national walk-out high schools across the nation participated in to protest current gun control laws, something that happened which I found particularly interesting was multiple Viacom networks halting their programming during the time of the walk-out in support of the students.
One of those networks was famed Spongebob cash cow Nickelodeon. Now I love Nick. Or at least I have in the past, to be fair I haven’t exactly watched anything there in a while.
But I do love the fact that the children-centric network decided to support children in their political escapades.
Now, that’s not necessarily taking a stance for or against gun control. I do have my opinions on that, but to be frank I don’t feel like I’m knowledgable enough to be able to present a case one way or the other. I just happen to think that we should encourage everyone to be as active in our democracy as possible so it can continue to thrive.
If that encouragement happens to come from a television network, so be it. They certainly seemed to do everything amicably enough.
While I have been working on that opinion piece for some time, part of the reason it did not come out until today was because I got sidetracked doing a different story.
So I sat down with him this week to talk about it. And the information I got actually stood out enough that I jumped into high gear to get out a story that night.
That’s right, once again my sports clubs rabbit hole left me doing a rushed deadline night story. Gotta love the high pressure side of the job, am I right?
Following leads I got from my chat with Vigil in that he was overseeing the clubs and beginning the process to seek out her replacement, I started to reach out all over the school. Both over the phone AND on foot. I wandered around back and forth quite a bit that day.
Eventually I was able to get my hands on the Assistant Director of Student Life and Leadership, the financial chair of the Sports Clubs Inter-Club Council and the Director of C-real — an organization which handles things like external reviews that has a name I don’t really feel like writing out in full here. It’s in the story, don’t worry.
Oh, and did I mention, in the middle of doing these interviews I also got pushed off on a couple of others and got a call from the Cinema and Television Arts professor who I spoke to for some general background regarding my opinion piece.
Needless to say I was exhausted that night, and the exhaustion carried over to yesterday when I had a day packed with classes and Boom events.
So that should make the long story (relatively) short in explaining why I didn’t post about my news article yesterday, and am instead lumping it together with my opinion piece today.
God am I looking forward to Spring Break.
If you want to see my news piece in its entirety, you can check it out here. For my opinion piece on Nickelodeon, look no further than this link.
Or, in a radical twist, if you’re interested in seeing my whole archive of work for the Daily Titan, check it out over on the right!
Just like that, the daily grind begins once again.
After our first official deadline night of the semester yesterday, I can definitely say that it was a strange experience to once again be sitting in the center of the room as an assistant. Probably the most off-putting thing about it is the fact that I feel more disconnected from the overall workings of the paper than I have in a long time.
Though I did personally get out at a reasonable hour.
Leaving the newsroom at 10 p.m.? What madness is this? Living that #AssistantLife
Considering that’s going to be happening a lot more this semester, I suppose I can’t complain.
Plus, the usual positives of working at the Titan were at play as usual. Namely getting to spend time with my friends on staff, who for the most part carried over from last semester. In particular it was nice having lunch with our now Social Media Editor Lissete, who is at least one of the people on my list of those I’d like to spend more time with now that I actually have some free time available as an assistant.
I can also certainly never argue with the great feeling that comes with getting content out on that newsprint.
For this first weeklong issue of the semester, I wrote two pieces.
The first, published in the main paper, is an article about current president searches in the Cal State University system. The story idea was originally something I had been discussing with our advisor Bonnie toward the end of last semester when Mildred García announced she would be leaving. At that point, Bonnie had told me that there were four CSU campuses looking for new presidents all at once. I thought it was a really interesting story at the time, but unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to commit to it at that point.
So for our first issue this semester, I finally picked it up.
Granted, the first kick in the pants for me came thanks to a request from Dr. Sexton, who wanted to know the layout of presidents across the system for an article he’s putting together for the LA Times. Compiling that data for him offered me the perfect opportunity to take the work and use it for my own purposes.
After looking through that compiled data to sort out which schools were searching for presidents – CSU Bakersfield, Dominguez Hills and San Diego, for the record – I was also able to find a few other interesting details. For example, only three current CSU presidents started their tenure before 2012. That’s three out of 23, for those who don’t know.
This information is important because it effects CSUF directly. Our new president, Framroze Virjee (who also got a dedicated article in this issue that’s worth the read), is a temporary appointment until June 2019. One of the reasons why the search for the person coming after him doesn’t start until this fall is because the CSU wants to get the current three searches out of the way first.
Don’t know why I felt the need to advertise Hof’s Hut, but there you go.
If I had to guess, I’ll probably be pursuing this topic (the president searches, not Hof’s Hut) more in the future.
The second article I wrote went in the special first issue insert, themed after technology this semester. The topic I chose means a lot to me personally: video games.
My article for the Tech Issue is more specifically about the fairly recent addition of gaming disorder onto the World Health Organization’s beta draft for the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases. Or the WHO’s ICD-11 in much easier, abbreviated terms.
This one is actually the longer of the two pieces I wrote, since it wound up being more like an interesting little passion project for me. I won’t delve too deep into it here since you can check out the article for yourselves, but essentially I laid out exactly what this disorder would entail if it’s added into the ICD-11’s finalized version, talked about some of the history of looking at video games in a critical manner through other organizations like the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 and addressed some of the potential consequences of putting out an official potential diagnosis.
My two interviews, one with a Mihaylo College of Business and Economics professor who specializes in technological addiction, and the other with a School of Nursing professor who specializes in behavioral disorders and substance abuse. The prior wound up taking the most space in the story because I had a long, involved interview with him, while the latter was a little bit more specialized in individual places because we had some issues scheduling our time to talk. Her interview was shorter as a result, but I definitely got some interesting information all the same.
Of course, if you want to see any of my pieces for the Daily Titan, you can check out my archive over on the right. Since I’m a part of 471 this semester, you can probably expect me to be writing a bunch of articles to fill that up more than it already is. These two are just the beginning, and I have at least two more slated already for the next two weeks that I have to start working on.
However, for now my priority is getting some rest so I can be prepared for the first day of school tomorrow.
Or… Today technically, since this is coming out the morning of the 22nd. But hey, the human brain works in mysterious ways, so from a temporal standpoint I’m going to write how I feel like writing.
With all that said, good luck to anyone getting their school life going again this week. May we all survive the inevitable slog that is the spring 2018 semester.
Before I begin, I’d just like to take a moment to reflect on the fact that I told myself I would do a full week of blog posts to start off the new year and promptly dropped that burning ideation after one post talking about cleaning my room.
Nice going past Jason, your conviction astounds me endlessly.
That’s about enough self-flagellation for one day. This post is actually supposed to be at least somewhat congratulatory after all.
Today was the first day of training for the Spring 2018 semester of the Daily Titan, which means it’s time to begin the cycle anew.
This semester that phrase takes on a whole new meaning as I quite literally return to my DT roots. Like I’ve mentioned before I’m going to be taking Comm 471 this semester, and as a result I did not sign up to be an editor again. Instead I’m going to be an assistant because it offers me the opportunity to still be on the editorial board and cut down my work requirement for the class without being as big a time suck.
While I had been gunning for an assistant position at a desk like Lifestyle where I could get some more varied experience during my shortish break, we’re apparently somewhat short staffed this semester and as a result I was asked to help the news desk with my longtime expertise once again.
Though I’m admittedly a little disappointed at being pigeonholed to an extent, I really can’t complain about being well known enough for doing good work at my passion that I’m asked to go back and help out. The same thing actually happened last semester too when I was passed up for Managing Editor because of the lack of experience at news, so it’s at least nice to feel trustworthy.
On top of that, I am still going to be working with a great team, so it’s also hard to complain about that. I’m going to be an assistant alongside Breanna, who was one of my assistants last semester, and Brandon is coming back as the desk editor alongside Amy, who’s stepping up from being an assistant last semester.
Even though I’m apparently going to be on my own for part of every Tuesday shift thanks to certain scheduling conflicts, with that kind of team under the direction of Kyle and Sarah, it really does sound like it should be a good run of the paper.
I’d say the only thing I’m genuinely disparaged about is the fact that I’ll no longer get to experience that satisfying moment of switching the news desk email notifications off for the semester. Guess I’ll have to deal with incessant messages for just a little bit longer…
But that aside, I am ready to jump in again as we gear up for the semester starting in a couple weeks, and pretty soon I should update my archive here to reflect my different position. Today is only the first of three days of training I have this week (which compared to the five days editors have to go through is quite the blessing), so hopefully by the end I’ll be more prepared and back in a working mentality.
Which hopefully in the long run will encourage me to actually go back and finish more of these blog posts that I have sitting in my drafts.
From the state of this blog currently, I imagine some of you think that I totally dropped off the grid and lost my way in the world of Pokémon, never to return to this mortal realm.
That’s not totally inaccurate, honestly.
However, Ultra Moon isn’t the only thing that’s been taking up my time. Yeah, I have been spending extra time carefully combing through it than usual, absorbing everything that’s different from the original games (something I’m sure I’ll talk about eventually), but my Thanksgiving Break had a good amount more to it.
I cleaned my room for the first time since the summer, which was a great personal accomplishment. It seriously needed it.
I got ahead on a bunch of assignment for school, including a video project I had to come to campus to work on despite it being a week off.
I had a lovely Thanksgiving feast at my Aunt’s house, along with a few of their family friends (including a particularly interesting Egyptian man who had to escape as a refugee during the Arab Spring crisis, super cool guy).
There were also a few things I’m sure, but honestly those were the major highlights I can think of, since the rest was relaxing and catching up on some much needed sleep.
One thing I didn’t do that I had wanted to was write a few personal or more fun things here on my blog. I’ve been sitting on an idea for a Duel Links topic that’s been mulling over in my head for a few months, there’s some stuff for Gladeo and my work with Boom I’ve wanted to update for a long time and I figure it might be fun to do a ‘what I want for the holidays’ list given that Hannukah starts on Dec. 12 this year.
But I just never got around to it. Unfortunately, I might not have that much time to get to it in the near future either, since these last two weeks of the semester are going to be rather hectic with projects and exams. So, I at least wanted to put out something quick now to mention that things are probably going to be quiet for a bit.
… Unless I publish a story, of course. Or wind up having a 3 a.m. Fire Emblem Heroes binge again, which may end up happening soon with some big things on the horizon there.
Speaking of publishing stories, I actually wound up writing three articles just before Thanksgiving Break began. I meant to write something talking about it earlier, but like I said… Being lazy and forgetful came along with my relaxation.
Figured at the very least I should give the articles a little lightning round now in case anyone is curious:
My friends at Project Rebound invited me to a luncheon celebrating a new donor and bringing in the holiday spirit after I started working on my multimedia class final profile on the program director, Romarilyn. It was a nice little event that I wound up writing about because we needed the space filled. You can check that article out here.
On the same night that I wrote about Project Rebound, there was a four-car collision outside of the College Park building. I was the only news desk representative in the room, so I was sent out to cover it. It didn’t wind up being a super weighty story, but we got comments from the police so it was something. At the very least, it was an interesting experience doing two deadline stories in one night. You can check that article out here.
The day after writing the last two articles, we got an email from Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook letting us know that the school had tallied up how much Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit cost them through things like security. I talked with him and University Police Captain Scot Willey to find out exactly how it all broke down and wrote up a nice, meaty little story about it that night. However, I wasn’t done yet, as I still wanted to get comments from the Vice President of Administration and Finance Danny Kim (since he was the guy every other source pointed me to). I managed to get in touch with him, so we updated that article the Friday before break with more detail. I even got my hands on his personal number for future use and found out that his office really liked the original article I wrote. Felt really good, honestly. You can check out that article here.
As usual, if you want to see my full archive of work for the Titan, you can look over on the right.
For now, I’m going to go back to work, since we’re on our first post-break deadline. Like I said, I just wanted to basically let the world know that I might not be all too active for the next couple weeks.
If anything, you can maybe check out my Twitter for a little more activity. I’ve been trying to do more there, and recently that’s included doing some Pokémon posts as I make my way through the game. So, you can see such gems as:
Don’t know what it is exactly about this semester that has led to me posting about all these fairly important things I’ve been working on later than I should… But in this case it’s probably safe to assume my statistics exam had something to do with it.
Anyway, that’s not important. What is important is the fact that I wrote another article the other day, an article on a pretty significant topic in fact:
CSUF’s president Mildred Garcia took a new job and announced she would be leaving her current position in January.
That’s right, even though Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit was our big thing for the semester, life certainly hasn’t slowed down all that much since he came. The departure of the campus’ head official after nearly six years would certainly qualify as big news too, I’d say.
As soon as we heard about Garcia leaving to take a job as the president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, we immediately hit up Strategic Communications to see if we could sit down with her and talk about it. Much to our surprise, she was available to do so despite things obviously being busy thanks to her announcement, and that afternoon I went up to the top floor of College Park to do an interview with her and Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook alongside my EIC Zack, our photo editor Katie and our multimedia editor Mia.
From there the story is pretty straight forward. Went back down to the newsroom, transcribed everything and wrote an article outlining why she’s leaving, what she’s going to be doing now and how the end of the semester is going to be affected by her departure. That includes the overall search for a new president that will begin after CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White comes to campus to gauge the community (date to be determined) and the planning and implementation of a new University Strategic Plan.
Plus whatever else is being planned for CSUF’s 60th anniversary, of course.
I’m likely going to be following up on this article for some more general deep coverage on the abundance of president searches in the CSU system. Or at least that’s my current plan if I can get it while working through all of my classes, but until that comes you can check out my article here.
It even includes the multimedia piece put together by Mia, though I’ll admit It’s a little cringe-y hearing me acknowledge Garcia as she talks. Not very used to doing video interviews still, it seems. If videos aren’t really your thing, just seeing Katie’s photo of Garcia looking bittersweet about the decision is an incredibly powerful image.
You can also check out my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!
Obviously this is a couple days late given the title, but considering what it was I still felt like it’s worth talking about.
On Halloween, months of build-up and anticipation finally exploded at Cal State Fullerton when Milo Yiannopoulos came to speak. It was a long, long road starting from the first story I put together at the end of August when his visit was still in the works.
A road filled with a variety of stories from me, my co-editor Brandon, all our assistants and whoever else in the newsroom contributed that tackled all sorts of topics: The process getting him to come, the responses from campus and anyone writing us letters to the editor, all the resolutions that were passed, following local schools that decided to close because of his visit… On top of so much more.
Pretty insane stuff, and there was a lot of tension that I didn’t even realize was as intense as it was until we got to the very end. Seriously, the last week or so before he came had me more nervous than I ever thought I would have been considering my feelings during the months leading in.
Then the day came, and everything felt like it was over in a flash.
Okay that’s not entirely true, it was a very, very long night all things being equal. But our team planned things out well in advance and handled everything masterfully. Probably the first thing that really lead to our success was Brandon’s decision to check us out a secondary home base in the Pollak Library, somewhere more centralized that we could use to pop in and drop things off without having to cross campus and make it to the newsroom.
From the library we were able to hit everything, and we had teams all over the place.
Some of us were covering the Unity Block party, which was put on by Students for Quality Education and a number of on-campus organizations. The event was meant to be a peaceful, educational alternative to everything going on, and for the most part it kept that up quite well, there were only a few instances where some small arguments had to be broken up.
On top of that, the Block Party had speakers like Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva come out, so it was pretty interesting in that regard. Amy and Breanna handled that coverage well, and just about everyone got to chip in by wandering the quad and taking in the sights and people.
Unfortunately, all of the fairly good vibes and low key energy from this event made it arguably the least newsworthy part of the day. There was a hell of a lot more that happened.
The main event was, of course, Yiannopoulos speaking. That was the part I focused my energy on. After all, I’ve built a strong rapport with the College Republicans club, and as a result I got to get in free and sit with the press alongside our Photo editor Katie.
Oh also, our Social Media editor Megan Maxey was there too. She just happened to be in the regular seats because we could only get 2 media tickets, so she was there with a regularly purchased ticket.
Despite being probably the only print-centric reporter covered by a wall of massive video cameras for broadcast, I thought it was an awesome opportunity. I got to see people working from ABC7, CBS2/KCAL9, FOX11 and a whole bunch of other places – and I got to work alongside them.
Sure, I didn’t get to dress up for Halloween this year, but I did dress up quite a bit better than usual knowing I would be surrounded by professionals.
With my Tascam audio recorder plugged into the microphone at the front of the room and my laptop out ready to transcribe, I got through the whole hour of Yiannopoulos’ speech without a hitch.
I’ve heard stories of Milo and how… Controversial his talks are, to put it plainly, but it was definitely a whole different experience actually hearing him in person while seeing a crowd raucously cheer and agree. Sure, I might not personally agree with a lot of what he said, but it was definitely a fascinating thing to witness.
To be honest, one of my favorite things about this whole experience has been seeing the internet take the same basically informative article and run in completely different directions with it.
Yiannopoulos himself picked up my article and posted it to his Facebook page before we’d put it out on our own social media, and within 9 hours that sucker had nearly 1,000 views on his page alone.
Plus, the comments on that article were pretty hilarious to me in a lot of places, namely this one:
I even showed this off to Walt Barranger, a former New York Times editor and CSUF alum who now teaches at the university. He thought it was pretty hilarious.
All and all, I’m frankly just glad I was able to put a story together that wasn’t universally bashed in some way based on this controversial subject matter. That’s a win in my book.
These two stories weren’t even everything, however.
They didn’t cover the protests, which were a major part of the event. Really major in fact, as just about every news organization was leading with the headline that 8 people were arrested the next morning.
It didn’t just take an army however, it took a wildly committed and talented army. That’s definitely the kind of team we have. At least three reporters for the Daily Titan got hit with pepper spray over the course of the night, but they all picked right back up and kept going to get the stories.
It was incredibly inspiring to watch, and it was equally inspiring getting to work with everyone for probably over 15 hours on this one event. I’m not sure I’ve ever been more proud of what I do and who I do it with than I am seeing everything we all put together.
That sentiment doesn’t just go to the writers either. Megan and her assistants killed it on social media by live tweeting almost anything and everything going on to give our audience a play-by-play of events that night. Our photographers got some of the most gorgeous pictures I’ve ever seen, clearly tempered by the heat and pressure of the day. On top of that, anyone who wasn’t involved in the coverage of Milo got all the other work for this paper done in a timely manner that facilitated the rest of our work, and it was incredibly appreciated.
The paper itself still took until like 3:00 a.m. to finish… But in this case, that late deadline was really worthwhile.
In the end, everything came together beautifully. We got a hell of a lot of traffic based on our Milo coverage, and by the time I got to campus the next day at 11 a.m. or so, all the papers were already cleaned out of our racks across campus. Between that and all the praise we received on social media and in person, we were all glowing with pride.
Oh, and we’re also going to be coming out with a special souvenir version of the paper next week on fancier paper and with extra photo spreads to commemorate it, since we ran out of the papers so fast on day 1. Look forward to seeing that, I know I will.
You may think the story is over there, but you’d be wrong. After all, I also mentioned the radio in my headline here. You didn’t think I would forget about that, would you?
Part of what made this event so special to me was that it offered me a brand new opportunity. The producer for Take Two on Southern California Public Radio (89.3 KPCC) reached out to the Daily Titan and asked if we wanted to have someone on their show the morning after Milo’s talk to do an interview about it.
As the person who arguably has been following the Yiannopoulos visit, I decided to take him up on the offer.
So, after making it home at 4:00 a.m. or so, I got up again at 7:00 a.m. to prepare for an interview at 8:00 a.m. Needless to say I was pretty exhausted later, but it was oh so worth the effort.
Plus, experiencing radio as a whole was an interesting experience in its own right. For some inside baseball, they had me talking to the host via a landline phone while I recorded myself talking through my cell phone. All while I was underneath a blanket.
The extra effort putting together my audio made it so it sounds more like I was in the studio talking in person. Though it was weird, it definitely worked wonders. The audio in the piece sounds great, and I had people reaching out to me from all over saying I did a great job.
Okay, now that’s everything I have to say on the matter. Sorry this is such a long one, but I really felt it was necessary to capture the complete experience that was covering Milo Yiannopoulos. All of my pieces, as usual, can be found on the right, and I even included the cooperative pieces with mine just to give credit to the whole experience where it’s due.
I also added in my story about the conclusion of the ASI Board of Directors meeting from a week and a half ago or so, since I forgot to before. That story is long and drawn out in itself so I won’t go into it here… But reading the article should give a good idea of why it was so crazy.
On top of that, I’m adding a new section to the archive side of my blog for my radio appearance. Who knows, there may be more in the future, and I’d love to see that expand in the near future too.
I’m sure I’ve said this before, but it’s very rare that I get the pleasure of seeing my two passions – video games and journalism – meld so nicely together at this stage in my career.
So I really enjoy the times that they do come together, like with this review I wrote about the Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga remake.
After a couple of long, rough weeks dealing with a mass shooting and some crazy local fires, it’s been a blessing to have a game to unwind with recently, particularly a game that holds such a strong place in my heart.
Seriously, re-experiencing Superstar Saga has been an absolute joy, even if the whole time I feel like I’ve been focused more on deeply examining what’s different, both the good and the bad changes. That kind of critical eye did make it easier to pull things apart for a review, but it has certainly made the actual act of playing a whole different animal for me.
Oh, and pull things apart I did, as I focused this review much more on how things differ compared to the original game than I did on the game itself, since I figure that’s what should be done for something like the review of a remake.
While I did have a great time with Superstar Saga (and I’m not quite done yet – I’ve beaten the main story but I haven’t yet finished collecting everything 100 percent, and I’m still working my way through Bowser’s Minions), it isn’t perfect by any means. It is vastly improved upon compared to the original in almost every way imaginable, but there is a lot that feels like a backpedaling as well.
I try to address some of those points in my review, but the chief complaint I had with the game really boils down to the battle system. Compared to the original game, this remake has gorgeous sprite work that lends itself to really complex and over-the-top character animations, which are nice but make each action feel longer. On top of that, the battles are easier than I remember them being (much like the rest of the game in all honesty) and the music contributes to slogging battles down and making them grow to tedium faster by sounding far slower, seeming more eclectic within itself and has more synthetic tones.
If that makes sense. I’m not much of a music reviewer, but that feels right in my head.
Despite this issue, the game is still hilarious, beautiful and sounds great by all other accounts, and I’d highly recommend picking it up if you have experienced the story or if you haven’t before. It’s just too bad that the system you spend 90 percent of your time experiencing is arguably the worst part.
Oh, and when I say the game feels way easier than I remember, I’d say take the comment with a grain of salt. There are a lot of gameplay functionalities which have been vastly improved upon to streamline aspects of the experience, and those improvements do make the overall experience seem easier… But at the same time I also had the entirety of this game memorized like the back of my hand before walking in, so it might not be that much ‘easier’ for someone who’s never heard of the game before.
Plus the endgame still has a big difficulty spike when going through Bowser’s Castle in my opinion, so there’s always that.
Either way I certainly don’t mind an easy game here or there, if nothing else that ease helped this be a wonderful stress relief and trip down memory lane for me.
Unfortunately, I didn’t want to burden my editor Sarah with too much in regards to putting this article together (even though the 900 words I have can already easily be considered overkill), so much of what I wrote out in my drafting process got left on the cutting room floor.
Luckily this blog seems like the perfect place to rectify that. So, if I have the time, expect a more complete unabridged version of my thoughts on Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions sometime here in the near future. It’ll be long, it’ll be hella involved, but that’s the magic of a personal blog. It offers you a place to shout your endless opinions into the void.
At least, that’s how I like to use it anyway.
If you want to see my article in it’s entirety (the theatrical release version at least, as I like to put it), you can see it here. You can also see my full catalog of articles for the Daily Titan over on the right!
Turns out, the game review wasn’t the only thing I wound up getting published today. It was going to be, but then we decided to run an update on the Anaheim Hills Fire, and I got slated to work on that.
So, since I already had the entire gaming part written up early (shows me for trying to be ahead I suppose), I figured it’d be worth adding this portion to the bottom here.
I don’t really have a lot to say necessarily, this story was more of a straight-forward deal. I pulled together some tweets from the Anaheim Fire & Rescue department that gave the most recent updates on containment of the blaze, as well as some information from the California Department of Transportation talking about a local highway that was partially reopened on Friday.
Then, once I had those basics down, I got in touch with the Orange County Fire Authority, where I was directed to the Public Information Officer for the Canyon 2 Fire, Mike Yeun. The guy was real nice, more than willing to chat even while he was driving, and he gave me a bunch of good information to fill out my story. It definitely made things much stronger than the basic 200 word short update I had before.
For anyone curious, the fire was 75 percent contained as of 7 p.m. on Oct. 14, and authorities are expecting full containment by Oct. 17. Things are well on their way thanks to the effort of apparently over 1,600 firefighters at one point at least.
If you want to see that article in it’s entirety, you can check it out here. Or, once again, everything I’ve written for the Titan is over on the right, so you can check that out too if you want.
Though I usually relish my two days a week that I don’t have to drive out to Fullerton for school and production, today I spent my Saturday going out to CSUF so I could hang out in the newsroom all afternoon.
But not because of production this time around.
No, today was the Journalism Association of Community Colleges’ SoCal 2017 conference, and it was held on campus. With a large collection of journalistically-inclined community college students assembling at CSUF looking to one day apply for a four-year college, it only made sense that the Daily Titan had an open house of sorts in the newsroom to answer any questions and encourage joining the editorial board.
As one of the longest serving members on the Daily Titan – which is something really bizarre for me to consider since I’m still one of the younger people in the room on average – I figured it would do me some good to come introduce myself to some potential future colleagues, and lay their minds at ease with regards to working on a higher caliber paper.
Granted we did confirm a lot of their fears regarding balancing school and production life, as well as producing a paper on a daily basis… But we also found a lot of people getting really excited about what we do, and I was able to dispense a lot of valuable advice about things like news reporting (in my opinion).
In fact, I really think there were some people I met today from a variety of schools, including Citrus College, Cypress College, Orange Coast College, and way more that I can’t remember off the top of my head while writing this (sorry for that if anyone winds up reading this from those colleges), who I can definitely see joining the Titan in the near future.
Plus I got this very nice picture out of it that I saw on Twitter:
Beyond spending some time talking about my experience with fellow aspiring journalists, I also got to hang out with our Managing Editor Harrison, one of my News Assistants Amy and one of our Lifestyle Assistants Tanya in a non-production context, which was a lot of fun. Bonnie, our Advisor, and Walt Baranger, a Daily Titan Alum and former New York Times editor who teaches at CSUF now, also stopped by and spent some time with us and with the Community College students.
We even got some donuts and pizza out of the deal too, so all and all I’d say it was an afternoon well spent – Even if I hadn’t been expecting to waste a good 6 hours at Fullerton on a Saturday just a few days ago.
I’m so used to waiting for the day a story is in print to post one of these blog posts that I totally didn’t even think about the fact that this article went online only yesterday. We put out a special weeklong financial issue Sunday night, so the rest of our content has been exclusively on the Daily Titan website this week.
It’s been really nice having a break from producing a paper, though my internal schedule has been thrown all out of whack as a result.
So… Happy day after article published post, everyone.
California has been burning pretty seriously recently. The Anaheim Hills, specifically, has been close enough to have a very visible effect at Cal State Fullerton:
The cloud of smoke filled the sky throughout the afternoon yesterday, making it more of struggle to breath alongside already hot, windy weather. So while we had reporters covering the fire (My co-editor Brandon and one of our photographers Bailey went out near the blaze and did some amazing work), I was on campus getting some information about how the smoke might be affecting students.
The conversation I had with the Student Health Center’s interim director and chief staff physician Richard Boucher wound up being one of my favorite interviews so far this semester. He’s a real nice guy who was very interested in small talk before and after our business was conducted, and he had plenty of useful information for us to use without it taking a lot of extraction work.
I can definitely see myself talking with him more in the future.
The part of the interview that stood out most to me was his repeated advice to try and stay indoors as much as possible and avoid heavy exercise while air quality was poor. Not exactly novel advice or anything, but it felt poignantly ironic to me that he gave that advice after I had literally just crossed almost the entirety of campus three times over while setting up the interview.
Really I think that might be the first sign that this job is going to kill me one of these days.
Not that I can complain too much about that, since like I said we had reporters out next to the fire actually putting themselves somewhat at risk to do some awesome reporting. My portion of the article isn’t quite as exciting as the portion covering the fire itself, but I still like to think it’s information that’s important to spread for our audience. It fit well as a part of the overall package, and we got some praise around campus for the quick work and fancy online layout we tried out for the story.
If you want to check out the article in its entirety, you can see it here. You can also check out my full archive of writing for the Daily Titan over on the right!
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.
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: