Tag: Newspaper

March 21 and 22, 2018 Articles Published

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.

On Tuesday, I sat down with Vincent Vigil, the Director of Student Life and Leadership at CSUF. When I covered Lydia Ayala’s resignation as sports clubs coordinator a few weeks back he was out-of-town, so I wasn’t able to sit down with him about it then.

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!

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My ACP Midwinter 2018 Convention Experiences – Day Two

My ACP Midwinter 2018 Convention Experiences – Day Two

Rarely is there ever a more poignant metaphor for how a day is going to go than waking up to a cloudy, rainy morning. Especially in Southern California, where rainy days are a dime a dozen at best.

The second day of my Associated Collegiate Press convention experience carried that unfortunate hurdle to overcome. Waking up was less than desirable with water drizzling down onto the windows, but there were early sessions I was interested in attending, so I dragged myself out of bed all the same.

Of course, Long Beach was not much sunnier than Redondo this morning. If anything, it was actually worse:

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Technically this was taken later in the day, but the point stands.

Luckily the conference is in a fancy hotel, so being out in the rain was not exactly a concern. Or that was the hope anyway.

My convention experience actually started out being more hectic than I had intended it to be. There was a 10:30 p.m. session I was interested in attending about covering geek culture, but as soon as I arrived that plan was subverted.

First, she handed out this semester’s business cards, which were delivered at the oh-so-inconvenient timing of late yesterday afternoon.

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Seriously, these couldn’t have arrived when we were first starting the conference?

Whatever. I figured at least I would have the opportunity to hand them out at the geek session I was going to join in a few minutes late.

Instead Bonnie asked me to help out with picking our Best of Show submissions, which were due at 4 p.m. this afternoon. That task first entailed me having to circle back around to the parking lot where she wanted me to rummage through her trunk to find a specific copy of the paper we wanted to submit.

Long story short, that paper was not there. But there were a couple of others that I grabbed for her. Frankly the strangest thing about that was just getting a brief glimpse into the strange world of ‘how other people organize their car trunks,’ in this case with one of my mentors. It was actually about as messy as my trunk is, so I’m going to take that as a positive.

I brought those issues back to the main foyer, where Bonnie was sitting down to do paper critiques with other schools. I (somewhat awkwardly) joined them at that table because she asked me to pick out the best paper to turn in.

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Here’s just a few of the papers I was deciding between. Ironically enough, none of them pictured above were the ones we decided to turn in. Guess that speaks wonders of my ability to plan ahead.

With the Best of Show paper chosen and a number of my friends at the Titan trickling in, it was time for the day’s keynote.


The Middle Keynote: Covering the Nassar Scandal

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Two students from Michigan State University who run their school’s newspaper were the big speakers of the afternoon. They began simply localizing stories from the Indianapolis Star regarding the huge movement of women coming out against Larry Nassar, the former US Gymnastics physician who also worked at MSU, for his string of sexual assaults.

Then their coverage blossomed into a much larger ordeal.

The two student journalists, Rachel Fradette and McKenna Ross, went through the timeline of their year and a half covering the scandal. Everything from talking to the students Nassar abused to dealing with a stonewalling administration to eventually coming out for the University President’s resignation – which came a week after their editorial, the same day Nassar was convicted.

An element of dealing with a national controversy also permeated throughout their talk. One of the more striking details they discussed was being asked how they felt about the situation as two women on their campus. Not as journalists, not as students, but as women.

Rachel’s comment to that was reminding them that she had no biases as a journalist.

Their story did not end with Nassar’s conviction however. It continued on when an interim President was hired and they began dealing with a reigning in of the message coming from the overall university to try and recover from their PR nightmare.

In the end, one message in particular stuck with me from the keynote as a whole. It was the very end (fittingly), where Rachel commented on the fact that their 2017 Yearbook featured no reference to Nassar in the slightest despite it being the largest sports scandal story in decades.

The blame was placed on the fact that the Yearbook has closer connections to the school than their independent newspaper. “I’m glad every day that we only answer to the students,” she ended on.


Breaktime

Doesn’t seem like I’ve gone over enough for there to be a break in the action, does it?

Well, once the keynote was over the convention schedule had an hour’s worth of a break for lunch.

Everyone who was at the event from the Daily Titan had come to the keynote speech, which is where I got the picture I used as the featured image from.

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With that hour break, a couple of us decided to go out and get some food together. It was still a little drizzly out, but it was much more fun to put up with that alongside friends.

The Islands in the shopping center nearby had a very long wait, so instead we wound up going to a Chili’s nearby. That visit was, of course, predicated on the fact that we all lost it remembering a meme from some years ago.

Classics.

Anyway yeah, I don’t have a good transition, so here’s the picture we took:

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Shout out to our Opinion Editor Sophia (left), our other News Assistant Breanna (middle) and our Copy Assistant Caitlin (right) for putting up with me being lame for social media engagement.

All we had was fries, but it was super fun to just get to sit around and talk. We even finished with just enough time to get back to the convention so we could deal with our newspaper and website critiques.

Those critiques were an adventure in their own right, but I don’t know that I want to share a lot of it here. It’s mostly personal stuff to work on among our newsroom staff.

I will, however, share that the man critiquing our online presence was wearing a scarlet tuxedo jacket adorned with negative newsy terms like ‘libel,’ and when he read our stuff he always put on a monocle.

So that was a thing that happened.


Translating Print for Social Media Engagement

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After we got through our critiques, everyone else decided to head home. But there were a few more sessions I was interested in attending, so I hung around.

The first one I went to revolved around social media. Admittedly, not the best thing to go to after feeling a little bit off following the online paper critique, but I managed to take some interesting stuff out of it all the same.

Granted I wasn’t able to get a lot because I didn’t feel like Jay Hartwell was a fantastic presenter, at least for how I enjoy to learn, but I did pull some things out of it. For instance, he talked about cropping photos in interesting and novel ways to make sure they catch the interest of people looking on their phone.

I frankly did not agree at all with some of the things he was pushing. Like more ‘clickbait-y’ headlines. I’m of the opinion that we need less of that sort of thing, but I suppose I am also somewhat in the minority of people willing to put up with text longer than 300 words in a shot.

If that wasn’t obvious enough.

I think the best part about this presentation was the fact that he sped through it so the latter half could be spent going through the social media accounts of different groups in attendance to judge how good their presence was.

My favorite part of that was an exchange that wound up happening between the presenter and a newspaper who only used their Instagram account to post memes as a way of drudging up more attention and interest. He was arguing that there were issues of fair use, they were arguing that memes are just memes…

It was kind of an unintentionally fascinating look into the difference between the mindsets of millennial versus the older generations.


Melding Artistic and Journalistic Skill Sets

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I didn’t have to move very far to start my last session of the day, since it was literally in the same room as the social media one.

This session, hosted by Andrea Heiss, admittedly caught me off guard. See, from all of the promotional material in the conference’s schedule, I was under the impression that her talk was going to be about the ways covering music, theatre and movies helped to bolster a reporter’s skills when it comes to covering… Well everything else.

Instead, I got a much more interestingly philosophical conversation.

The talk was not about a case of artistic review skills leading to better general reporting, rather it was about the deeper structural connections between skills it takes to be an artist and skills it takes to be a journalist. In essence, the similarities between reporters relying on language in the same way artists rely on their craft to express themselves.

Relating journalism to theatre, she discussed how news stories should construct a scene and embrace the two-way nature of working with your sources while you draft the piece.

Relating journalism to music, she talked about how music is its own language that creates immense emotion without words to implore that our writing should do the same thing in a duet with the people we talk to.

Relating journalism to film, she recommended we adopt the language of film into our work to establish scenes in more detail without breaking into stereotyping our subjects.

There were more points than that, but those were probably the main things in my recollection. However, I also appreciated the way she pointed out that our work as journalists allows us to help readers take scary new steps into novel realities that are being created every day. She also talked about how we, the newest journalists, do that work by melding a classical focus on logic and order with a more modern focus on romanticism, emotional and local story telling.

I honestly really like the way she described us blending those traditions, so I’ll probably hang onto that.


Once that last session ended, I quickly made my way our and headed back to Redondo, tired and ready to collapse… And start writing this post. A real exciting life I’m living, I know.

While the sessions and critiques I attended weren’t the most uplifting things compared to all the fun I had yesterday, I still appreciated the chance to learn a lot.

Though honestly, I think I appreciated the chance to spend time with my friends on the paper more. Pretty sure I was the only person besides Briggetta at the convention yesterday, so having everyone together today was super cool!

With that said, tomorrow should be even more interesting from that point of view. Not only am I going to be giving my Milo Yiannopoulos presentation at 3:30 p.m., but I should be receiving an award at the ceremony that’s going to be closing out the conference.

Whatever I write for tomorrow should be much more fun and excitable as a result, so stay tuned for that!

My ACP Midwinter 2018 Convention Experiences – Day One

My ACP Midwinter 2018 Convention Experiences – Day One

Today has been one of those days.

See,  the 2018 Associated Collegiate Press National Midwinter Convention started today, and as anyone who follows me on social media knows I’ve been trying to more actively post about it than I usually would.

But my day started well before the Convention did, so let me just run that down real fast before I get into the meat of this.

On top of the many things I’ve been juggling lately, one of the most attention grabbing activities has been putting together some College of Communications scholarship applications.

The applications have been sort of a long, involved process that I won’t bother going too deep into. It basically boils down to having some questions to answer, printing out my school records for all four of the scholarships I applied for (talk about a waste of paper there), selecting a couple of my articles for the Daily Titan and getting a letter of recommendation from Bonnie, our advisor.

Today was actually the deadline for applications, and that fact caused me undue amounts of stress when my late night media history class left me unable to drop the materials off yesterday because the office was closed.

For context, what that means is that this morning I had to drive ~45 minutes to Fullerton from Redondo Beach to make sure I could turn everything in before coming to the Conference this afternoon. Long Beach is actually closer to Redondo than Fullerton, so I basically drove a large crescent around Southern California.

 

Fun stuff.

But that’s all ancient history at this point. I made it where I needed to go on time in all accounts! I just felt like throwing that all out here because everything was a real headache while I went through it.

So with my complaining out of the way, let’s talk about this Journalism Convention.



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I went to New York a couple of years ago to represent the Daily Titan, and though I did not get the opportunity to go again this year I have had the pleasure of a much shorter trip over to Long Beach for the ACP Convention.

I don’t get over to Long Beach too often, but it is a lovely town. I kind of wish I had a little more time to just wander the city proper, but the sessions I attended kept me rather busy.

Registration came first, and I got all the cool swag that comes along with that:

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Nothing like another Convention name tag to add to my collection.

Once I was registered, then I got to go through the sessions I picked out.


Google News Tools

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My first stop of the night was the longest, as it was a 3 hour hands-on introduction to various reporting tools that can be accessed through Google via their News Lab.

To be completely honest about it, I believe I’ve actually seen the talk before. There was something very similar not too long ago at CSUF at least, so I didn’t necessarily learn a lot that I wasn’t already aware of.

But that’s not to say I didn’t learn anything at all.

The presenter, Amara Aguilar from the University of Southern California and the Society of Professional Journalists (and apparently a CSUF alum who still works with the university), introduced a number of tools.

These tools included:

The last one was particularly cool because she also brought along some Google Cardboard VR headsets to try out while pitching the Cardboard Camera App software. Honestly, it’s something I can see myself potentially using.

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The only serious downside to this whole presentation was… Well…

The internet was really bad.

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As I’m sure you can imagine, it’s hard to give a hands-on presentation of online reporting tools when everyone at the session cannot get online to use them.

Luckily, all things ended on a high note when I won the small raffle at the end and got a Starbucks gift card.


The Opening Keynote: Covering San Bernardino

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The opening keynote of this convention was particularly interesting to me.

Back when I first started working for the Daily Titan, my very first front page dominant article tied into the shooting in San Bernardino in late 2015. I wrote about how police on campus were stepping up their training following the shooting, and it got linked to the more important revelation that a former CSUF student was one of the shooters.

I still have a copy of that story hanging up on the wall in my room.

So, when I found out that the keynote’s panel was going to be four LA Times reporters who covered the shooting and received a Pulitzer Prize for their work, I was very interested.

I wasn’t the only one.

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I was also joined by our current Opinion editor Briggetta at this part of the afternoon, which was nice because she was the only other Fullerton representative I saw all day.

Also because she’s cool. Go follow her stuff.

But putting that aside, I think the only unfortunate thing about this keynote in its execution was the fact that… To put it bluntly, I didn’t get anything especially novel out of the panel.

Now don’t take that the wrong way, they were a fascinating panel to listen to, and I genuinely enjoyed everything they had to say. Apparently, they updated their day one story 22 separate times and were pointed to by the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department as the main source of news on the subject.

There was also some good general advice, like keeping food, phone chargers, clothing and road maps in one’s car in case they ever have to go out and cover something. Or keeping things like masks and tools to charge tech through one’s car in case of a natural disaster.

But part of what they wound up emphasizing was the fact that shootings like San Bernardino aren’t exactly a rare thing anymore. As a result of that, advice when it comes to covering horrible tragedies unfortunately isn’t all that hard to come by.

One thing that Sarah Parvini said in particular that stood out on the subject was this: “I hate the fact that this has to be done, but I love getting to be the one that does it.”


South American Newspaper Design

My 4:30 p.m. session with Cal State Long Beach professor Danny Paskins was a nice change of pace after the downer that was the San Bernardino panel.

As a Rio de Janeiro native, Dr. Paskins brought his bias (with open admission) to showing us the fact that newspapers in South America are way more creative and fun with their front page designs than North American papers like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal that focus on fitting as much text as possible up front.

To do so, he showed us examples of papers from Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Peru and more with various other countries in the region that had qualities he valued.

These are just a few examples of the pieces he showed us that I was able to screen shot.

His pointers boiled down to this. In South America, newspapers use more:

  • Cut-out pictures
  • Colors
  • Overlapping images
  • Sports coverage

All in typically fun, creative ways.

He pointed out specifically that “if nobody has tried something before, don’t let that be what stops you” because if something doesn’t go over well, there’s always a paper the next day to wipe the slate clean.

The pointers he gave were so nice and interesting actually that I’m planning on bringing a bunch of the specifics back to our Layout and Photo editors as possible things we can try out on the Titan.

I had a nice conversation with the professor after his talk where I expressed exactly that, and he was very happy to hear it. We exchanged business cards and I’m planning on hitting him up if we actually wind up doing some of those things.


Writing Tips from an LA Times Editor

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So this session actually didn’t go quite as planned.

It was supposed to be a talk on “Covering the New Activism” by a representative from the Iowa State Daily. But apparently he couldn’t make it out.

Instead, Assistant National Editor Steve Padilla of the LA Times came out and gave us writing tips.

Not to sound inherently rude about it… But I think that turn of events was for the best. The talk we got felt way more fun and interesting than anything we would have gotten otherwise.

He took 30 years of experience at the LA Times and distilled it down into three major writing tips:

  • Read all of your work out loud
    • He even recommended composing stories out loud, that way they sound better.
  • End your sentences with a bang
    • With only a few exceptions, he recommended putting the best details at the end of a sentence. However, the ‘best details’ can vary depending on the context. Ending a sentence with a time detail, a place detail or a strange detail can each have different effects on the overall tone.
  • Always pay attention to verbs
    • A large part of his writing technique philosophy is focused on making impactful verbs showcase a sentence. Overall one of the most useful tips in the bunch, and he spent a lot of time on it.

Steve also emphasized another philosophy he follows rather closely: “If you know what you want to say, you’ll figure out how to say it.”

In other words, let your meaning create your words, not the other way around.

After that portion of the talk he went on to give us a bunch of tips about how to write better anecdotal ledes, how to use quotes more efficiently and how to end stories well.

Then, to end things off, he gave us three challenges:

  1. End a feature story not with a quote, but with your own words.
  2. Get a writing buddy to share stories and teach one another interesting stuff.
  3. Become a careful reader who can discern WHY something is good or bad, not just that it is good or bad.

This was the one talk I attended where everyone who came stayed afterwards just to talk to the presenter. He was just that fun and charismatic the entire time.

Seriously, I just loved this guy. He was awesome to listen to and I got some one-on-one time with him to just chat afterwards. Totally the kind of networking these conventions are meant for.


The Afterparty

As soon as Steve’s talk was over (and it was over about a half hour to an hour later than scheduled because everyone was talking with him), we all emerged to find food waiting.

Though there wasn’t a lot, what was available was much more delicious than it had any right to be for a small college journalism convention reception. Pasta with chicken and spinach, mac and cheese with caramelized onion strands and coconut-fried shrimp.

Plus, there was a truly terrific surprise:

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I got to it kind of late, but Homer Simpson would be proud of this donut wall.

Even if I’m awkwardly over on the side taking a picture of it. Hi there Jason.

Fun fact, as a side note, I ran into Steve again at the dessert table and we wound up chatting even more. I just couldn’t get away from the guy, because later it turned out he was parked right behind me in the garage. Not that I’m complaining or anything, I just thought it was funny.

During this reception period, I also took the opportunity to take a look at all of the other school papers laid out.

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It’s a bit of a tradition at the Daily Titan for us to collect up other school papers so we can look over what they do right and what they do wrong. In our opinions of course.

Once I gathered everything up, however, it was time to head home.

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I ended the night where I began. But more than anything else, the experiences of the day just made me more excited for the next two.

Tomorrow, at 2:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., we’ll be receiving critiques for our newspaper and website designs.

Then on Saturday I’ll be on a panel alongside a couple of other Daily Titan staffers to talk about our Milo Yiannopoulos coverage last semester.

I’ll probably put out a late night update for my next two days of journalism-ing as well, so look forward to that!

January 22, 2018 Articles Published

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.

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.

With all that said, I don’t want to give away my entire article here and now, so go ahead and give it a look here if you want to see some more detail and my interview with a CSU representative. I sort of sat on the piece for a while, but I wound up really liking how it turned out – even if it was basically the sum of an hour’s worth of work particularly finished on the drive to Hof’s Hut on Saturday.

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.

If you want to check out that story, you can here. I’d highly recommend that one actually, in part because I got to do a really fun photo illustration to go along with it.

Essentially, I just brought a lot of my video games and accompanying memorabilia to school so I could do a photo shoot.

The photos turned our phenomenally well thanks to one of our two photo editors this semester, Gabe Gandara, who I remember having a good time with when he came with me to the ASI Board of Directors meeting where they discussed the Milo Yiannopoulos resolution a few months back. Those photos in the story are so good, in fact, that I’m considering using them for my own personal ventures.

We’ll see if that pans out.

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.

Starting off the Spring 2018 Semester

Starting off 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.

#callback

New Year, Fresh Room

Is it tacky to start off two blog posts in a row with the same kind of title?

While I’ve spent some time working on a few video game-themed posts today that I want to get out this week, I wound up taking a little personal detour. As we begin 2018, I figured why not start the year off right by straightening up my room?

Okay so this is definitely a weird set-up for something to write about, I’ll admit. But I’m not putting together because I want to write about cleaning my room necessarily.

Rather, I’m looking to use this post to fill the sort of secret third purpose of my blog. Outside of archiving my professional work and giving me a space to blather on about video games, I also like to think I’ll be able to one day use this place as a time capsule. You know, look back to see how things were or take inspiration from my past or… I don’t know, anything like that I suppose.

So, why not take a little look at my bedroom as it is now? After all, this point of my life is likely not too far away from the point where I’m going to wind up moving out on my own, abandoning it as a result.

If anyone is interested in seeing the place where I spend most of my time, I guess this is your chance to do so while I feel good about it looking nice. But if not, just know that this one is more for me.

So let’s start out with the place I see the most: My desk.

Overlooking my desk are some nice collectible posters of mine, which you’ll find are a frequent sight in this little tour. Super Mario Galaxy and the region maps for Kalos and Alola are the prime examples here.

There’s also a photo of my high school class up top, opposite the photo I have of my middle school class as a matter of fact. I was pretty proud of the way I laid that out when it first came about.

Some of the most notable things on my desk itself are a Kirby plush bought by my friend Jonathan in Japan and my Rowlet McDonalds toy next to the desktop computer I admittedly don’t really use. There’s also a four-star dragonball that Megan gave me for the holidays in 2016 when we were news editors together, a very dried out flower that I wore at my high school prom, a newton’s cradle that has some written out Pokémon team ideas on top and a piece of quartz that… I don’t remember where I got.

I just really like how it looks, honestly. So its been there for about as long as I can remember.

On the other side of the entryway in is my bed.

The bed itself obviously isn’t much to talk about, but above it are a number of posters and pictures and such. Among them are a map of the Hoenn region, an XKCD webcomic, a table of elements and a Terminator-inspired self portrait I drew for my high school art class.

Oh, and you can see the laundry room outside too.

Meanwhile, in the other corner…

Right now there are some more self-explanatory posters on the leftmost wall, but probably some more interesting things on display for the rest of the space.

I have my original Twilight Princess poster from an issue of Nintendo Power in 2016 – still arguably my favorite Zelda game I might add – and the Pikachu/Mimikyu picture I got for my birthday last year that’s usually up in the Newsroom is currently housed here.

Oh, and I have a signed photo of Yvonne Strahovski, who played Sarah in one of my favorite, seemingly somewhat underrated shows, Chuck.

Gotta go back and watch that again one of these days.

The floor space in that corner is also what I like to call “the piles of no return.” It’s more or less all of the binders I’ve used for different school subjects going all the way back to middle school. I say that I keep them around on the off chance I ever need the information inside again, but frankly I think I just don’t know what to do with it all since throwing it out would be a waste.

In my opinion at least.

Moving on, we get to to the next corner of my room, notably featuring my over-stuffed book shelf and the papasan that winds up being extra storage space rather than a seat more often than not.

From this angle, you can also see the orange hat I wore when I dressed as Willy Wonka for Halloween in 2016, the Porg I got as a secret Santa gift from my assistant Breanna this semester, a piece of artwork I bought of one of my favorite Pokémon Gym Leaders (Roxie, from Black 2 and White 2) and the second half of my school-year class photos. On the opposite side of the room as promised.

A little more interesting to me are some of the things hanging up on the wall here.

The Star Wars poster is pretty self-explanatory, it’s just a cool Star Wars poster.

The two hanging pieces of print, however, are special for their own reasons. The smaller one up top is the first article I ever wrote for the Daily Titan (about an upcoming ‘Pizza with the Presidents’ event) that was framed by my friend Lissete because she’s great. The one below it is actually my first major front page article for the Titan, a story about campus police preparedness following the San Bernardino shooting.

On the other wall, stuck to the closet door, is a painting my friend Tiana made for me showcasing my favorite Pokémon, Gardevoir. There’s a whole set that she made for each of my other friends in our little group too, which is pretty sweet. Above the closet is also also an award I got in 2014 for “Excellence in Newswriting” at a Journalism Education Association Write-Off Competition. Pretty cool stuff.

Oh, and I’m sure some people must have noticed the metal weapons hanging up on the jutting out part of the wall too.

Yeah… I don’t have too much of a story for these. Basically, I’ve been the Anime Expo a couple of times, and one of my favorite things to see there is the video game weapon re-creations with real metal.

So I got myself a Master Sword and a Keyblade. And they look dope.

Next up, around the room’s one window, are my main display sources.

These two pieces of furniture are combined drawer and display spaces, and are obviously part of a set with my desk that are some of the oldest things I own.

The main drawers, with my longtime backpack resting in front of it, has a couple of notable mainstay items, including a collector’s Tanuki Suit Mario figure wearing the special Mickey Mouse ears that I got during our senior end-of-ear trip there in 2015, my high school yearbooks and diploma and my Amiibo collection.

Because yeah, I have a bit of an Amiibo collection.

Don’t ask me how this got to where it is now, because frankly I’m not totally sure. I started with Smash Brothers Link, but enjoyed the display value enough that I kept it boxed, and eventually I got it in my head that I wanted to collect every single Smash Brothers Amiibo to make a nice set.

However, I have neither the space nor the resources to really do that, so for now it’s just a little wall of Amiibo that my sister likes to make fun of me for.

The T.V. cabinet and drawer space has a good amount of collectibles on top of it as well. I have a series of trophies from my time doing chess tournaments back in elementary school that are cool because they’re shaped like chess pieces, I have some goodies themed after my favorite mythical Pokémon Jirachi – including a cardboard art piece that I made in my senior high school art class, I have some Lego builds from some time ago of the Fallingwater building, Obi Wan Kenobi’s ship from the Star Wars prequels (Episode III namely) and of the Space Needle in Seattle.

The last one in particular fits in well with some of the other landmark/history-themed goods, like a model of the White House I picked up during a trip to Washington D.C. for a journalism conference some years back and a Ronald Reagan diorama of sorts dating way back to the days of a President report in elementary school. Still proud of how nice that one looks to this day.

There are a bunch of other things I like to keep out on display which mean a lot to me, but that piece of furniture is also where I keep my yearly calendar. Though I often wind up falling a week or so behind when it comes to changing the month over, it’s definitely helpful to keep it so close by in my main workspace so I can jot down important dates if necessary.

Plus, I always like to have something theming the calendar that keeps me happy. For instance, between 2017 and 2018, I went from this:

To this:

Because how can you ever be truly stressed out when you can just turn your head to the left and see some dogs being adorable?

That just about concludes my tour. I could probably go into more depth about a ton of little items strewn throughout the room, but that would honestly take forever.

I do have stories about a lot of stuff, so who knows. Maybe I’ll get to that another day.

Now, as a final note. Is this the silliest thing I’ve ever written about on my blog? Or the dumbest thing? I’ll leave that up to you likely few viewers out there to decide.

On top of that, as a side final note, if this is me from the future looking at this while going through a small nostalgia trip, I hope you enjoyed it most of all.

That said, I’ll catch everyone next time.

The Daily Titan’s romp through the lights

The Daily Titan’s romp through the lights

I had a really great time tonight strolling through a few blocks of Christmas-decorated houses with a few members of this semester’s Daily Titan staff at the invitation of our advisor Bonnie.

(From left to right) Our Editor in Chief Zack, me, our Copy Editor Kyle – who will be our Editor in Chief in the spring I might add, our Managing Editor Harrison behind him, our Sports Editor Kat, our Layout Editor Tracy and Zack’s boyfriend Jose all had a wonderful time together wandering the rather well-lit streets.

At least I assume we all had a good time together. Obviously I can’t speak for everyone, but I’d like to believe everyone enjoyed themselves.

Of course, we were also joined by Bonnie’s angel of a dog Cokie, who I believe she said is 16 years old.

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What a freaking trooper she is. Even if she wouldn’t look at my camera for a photo from her stroller, which is honestly one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen.

But I’ll let it slide because she’s the best.

I figure I should add that when the event was first getting started, Harrison and I were the only ones who arrived, and we had the chance to decorate Bonnie’s home a little bit for the holidays.

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I said it in a twitter post when this first happened, but I think we set up a nice, appealing scene for a couple of guys who aren’t super visual people.

Plus, Tracy gave us a seal of approval, so we must have done something right.

We also had dinner together before the walk, with lasagna, salad, bread and coffee cake I brought (made by Aly I later found out). Plus sparkling cider. You can never go wrong with a nice glass or two of sparkling cider.

Especially given I don’t drink wine, or any alcohol for that matter, I’m sticking to that.

But of course, the highlight of the night post-story telling over the dinner table was the walk. I took pictures of everything, so I figured it would be worth sharing them here for anyone who wanted to see some great decorations:

It really was a blast, and a great send-off for this semester’s run of the Titan.

Plus, when we got back, Bonnie had made us chocolate chip and pecan cookies, which we sat around and ate while the Sound of Music was on.

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Really, all and all it was a wonderful night. Although Zack won’t be coming back next semester, I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone else on a regular basis once we get into the swing of things after the new year.

Oh, but don’t even get me started on the inconveniences coming home from the party.

I won’t dwell on it for too long, but there were two lane off-ramps I usually use that were closed, and on my alternative route down the 405 freeway, there was a 20 minute parking lot after an accident that closed down like 4 lanes. Talk about a nightmare.

In other words, I meant to put this post up sooner, but unfortunately didn’t get home until later, so… Enjoy this midnight release of Jason having a nice time with his friends. Be sure to join me tomorrow morning for Fire Emblem Heroes, which I luckily had the foresight to start earlier on so I won’t have to be up all night writing it.

Hopefully.

December 11, 2017 Article Published

Here we are, my last Daily Titan article of the semester. It holds a special distinction not just as my final piece for 2017, but also as the first opinion piece I’ve written for the school paper.

The story didn’t exactly start off that way, however. You see, things started with the overall theme of our last, special issue focusing on millennials. Everyone on the editorial board had to come up with an idea to potentially run, something that was either a profile or that related to millennials in some way, shape or form. I wound up imagining something for the latter that generated some interest, and as a result I started researching whether the trend of young people being ‘nostalgic’ is problematic.

Initially I was approaching the story as a news piece, looking to experts in the psychology department who focus on memory as a source of information regarding the effects of memory and looking to the past. I sat down with Dr. David Gerkens, who did a study presented in 2015 that found positive memory recall frequently over a week leads to higher levels of happiness and lower levels of depression. On top of that, he had an interesting perspective on the idea that looking into the past is an excellent grounding agent in a time when rapidly advancing technology can leave people feeling lost or anxious.

Admittedly, that result was not what I was expecting. I had started investigating under the impression that being stuck in the past might have more negative repercussions (despite the fact that I too look to things like old games and cartoons for inspiration often), so my whole focus shifted somewhat after that conversation.

In fact, it was about that time when I realized I might not have enough content to write a full news piece on the topic I’d set out to do, or enough time to gather more before we went to production, so I changed gears and wrote an opinion instead. After doing some extra online research to back up what I decided I’d want to say, the opinion boiled down to this:

Nostalgia is a concept that’s overwhelmingly discussed today, especially through the return of old analog technology and the mindset behind now somewhat infamous gags like the ‘only 90s kids remember’ trend, and it’s annoying to see. However, there are benefits to the concept and what it can do for you, so realistically it’s dumb to try and restrict people. To each their own, in essence.

As someone who’s strictly hard news, it was fun writing something that embellishes on my opinion (luckily with a not-so-controversial topic). I did a fairly good job with it too, or better than I expected given the feedback from our opinion editor Rishu. It was a fun, experimental little romp in our feature-y final issue that I can maybe jump off of next semester when I’m in 471 as another writing avenue to practice.

If you want to check out the article in it’s entirety, you can read it here. You can also see my full catalog of writing for the Daily Titan over on the right!


While I’m here, I also wanted to comment quickly on the end of the semester. Sure, I’m studying for finals as I write this, but with our final publication comes the end of my paper responsibilities for now. It’s been an absolute blast working with a phenomenal team, writing high caliber stories that really reached far into the collective consciousness like all of my Milo Yiannopoulos coverage.

Like I said above, next semester I’m going to be in Comm 471, the capstone class for the Journalism major at CSUF that requires you to be a staff writer for the Daily Titan. Because of that, I’m no longer going to be a News Editor for the paper. At least, not next semester. You can’t be in the class and get paid, so it’s not worth taking the pay cut and having to balance the work of both an editor and a staff writer.

After a year and a half of editorship, it’s a little bittersweet, and I felt odd packing up the desk I’ve been sitting at for so long yesterday. However, I’m still going to apply for the editorial board of the paper as an assistant. Likely at a different desk, like Lifestyle, A&E or something along those lines. A desk where I can get some experience at doing something different than hard news. While it’s my overall passion, I’m going to relish the break from dealing with budgets and daily production, as well as the opportunity to learn and write a different craft more often.

It’ll be a whole different kind of adventure, one I’m looking forward to taking. My friend Kyle is going to be our Editor in Chief, so it should be a fantastically run publication once again following on the coattails of Zack. 

Here’s hoping you all stick with me as I take that journey, because it should be interesting to watch at the very least.

December 5, 2017 Article Published

Taking Comm 325 – Multimedia Journalism – has been an interesting experience this semester. I’m definitely far more of a verbal/textual person than I am a visual person, so I’ve always argued that stuff like broadcast and video aren’t really my forte.

However, I think my time doing this multimedia class might have changed my perspective on that just a bit.

Not enough to drive me to change my focus entirely, since there’s still plenty about doing video versus print that bugs me (namely having to get good audio, focusing on that part sucks). But enough to give me enough confidence to hopefully try and do more multimedia content in the future.

You see, while there’s been some minor gripes with the scheduled times we’ve had to complete our projects in the class, I honestly feel like I’ve learned more in 325 than any other video-themed class I’ve taken. Or at least I’ve learned more about how to apply those skills to the kind of work I prefer doing, rather than everything being strictly broadcast news focused.

That learning culminated in one of my last stories of the semester: A profile of Romarilyn Ralston, the program coordinator for Project Rebound.

I’ve talked about Rebound a number of times in the past, since they’re one of the organizations I enjoy following, but this time I went more in-depth with Romarilyn herself for my final project. I interviewed her and a number of Rebound scholars and volunteers at the Luncheon I attended a few weeks ago, and used that information to pull it all together.

I really like the story I wrote, and I’ve found it to be quite the confidence boost during the stressful pre-Finals week, since all of my friends on the paper have told me they really liked it too. Our Multimedia Editor, Mia, told me it was far better than anything she would have expected (which is somewhat of a dig hiding inside a compliment, but not one that’s wholly unexpected considering my lack of multimedia content generation), and the most surprising support came from my co-editor Brandon, who despite being known for his huge ego and self-love (sorry man, you know it’s true) went on a five minute tirade in our front page meeting advocating for my piece to be our dominant story.

I blushed a little bit at that one, I admit.

Though the support is wonderful, I personally liked my piece a lot even before it got its praises sung. All-and-all I thought the video I produced was awesome, and definitely a hell of an improvement than anything I put together back in my Adams Middle School news days. There’s probably some embarrassing stuff there if I go back to find it honestly, but I did learn a lot of great basics apparently.

Man, now I kind of want to do a post about my old middle school videos… If they even still exist. But that would be a project for another day.

For now, go see my profile! I personally feel like it’s a very powerful story, and I think the multimedia element came out way better than I expected.

If you want to see the article in its entirety, you can check it out here. It also doubles as my Comm 325 Final Project, so consider it a look into what that class has helped me accomplish as well.

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

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!