Tag: Project Rebound

Receiving the Carl Greenberg Scholarship

At first, I figured today was going to be a day where I would talk all about the trailer that was dropped about the upcoming Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu & Eevee games.

But something much more important came up after I started writing that which feels like a better conversation topic for the day. So sorry Pokémon, you’ve been sidelined.

Today I received word from the Scholarship Chair of the Society of Professional Journalist’s Los Angeles branch that I have been awarded the Carl Greenberg Scholarship for Political and Investigative Reporting.

Frankly, that’s pretty kick-ass and I’m excited about it!

According to the SPJLA website, the scholarship is “awarded to a college student pursuing investigative or political reporting,” named after a LA Times political reporter “famed for being singled out by Richard Nixon as the only reporter who covered him ‘fairly.'”

So not only am I excited about the fact that I won something I applied for kind of out of the blue — mostly as something to do early on in the summer when I was sitting around — but I’m also humbled at the fact that I’ve been recognized to sit in a pantheon which sounds so prestigious. Helps give some perspective to the work I’ve had the pleasure of doing, and all those other clichés that must be expected from an awards acceptance speech of sorts.

Though to be completely honest, the $1,000 that comes with it certainly helps pique my interest.

What can I say, prestige is nice and all, but so is food and gas when you’re a broke college student.

As are plenty of new video games coming soon, but don’t tell the nominating committee that.

In celebration of my award, I figured I would throw out this short post as both a way of logging the fact that I earned this recognition and as a way of slyly promoting myself.

You’ve all seen those articles out of major newspapers that showcase stories which received accolades. Hell, I even wrote an article in that vein for the Daily Titan at the end of the Spring 2018 semester.

So consider the bottom of this blog post one of those for me. I submitted three articles alongside my scholarship application, and I’m going to link out to each of them here.

Before I do, I just wanted to thank the SPJLA Scholarship Chair Richard Saxton, who helped let me know what I needed to do to apply, and all the other members of the Scholarship Committee for this awesome opportunity. Here’s to many more hopefully coming in the near future!


This article has arguably been one of my proudest achievements as a journalist thus far. That could be said for most of the stories in this small list alone, sure, but there’s so much history to my coverage of Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit to CSUF that I consider it a saga.

Kicking the whole thing off was an article that was weeks in the making. It began as simple rumors that supposedly there were plans in the work to bring the conservative provocateur to campus based on a petition online to keep controversial figures off campus. Based on that rumor I talked to a myriad of sources and eventually put out this fairly large piece covering the entire process of how one can bring a speaker to campus in light of the confirmation that Yiannopoulos’ visit was in the works.

And that isn’t even going into all of the coverage of the Canin scandal from the semester prior that helped build my relations with the College Republicans Club enough to help them trust my reporting.

Even during that initial coverage I knew the plan was to bring the man to campus on Halloween. At the point this initial piece was published, however, I kept that to myself in case the reporting of that information changed the plans at hand in any significant way.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Our semester was thus far filled with coverage of Yiannopoulos’ visit from any conceivable angle from myself and other members of the news desk staff. Eventually that culminated in a massive three-story package of a paper that went on to receive a special edition reprint, got me a talking head spot on NPR’s ‘Take Two’ and earned a number of accolades at the most recent LA Press Club Awards.

Plus Milo himself said on Facebook that he liked how balanced I was with the story on his speech. Never would have expected that, but it’s something I’ll take on as a badge of pride considering I didn’t get that praise while also upsetting the other side of the aisle.

I could talk about this article all day, but then we’d be here all day. Nobody really wants that.

So check it out if you haven’t, and see all of the reporting that emerged as a result while you’re at it.

My coverage of Project Rebound goes back a ways. Multiple semesters, in fact, unlike the one-semester shots of the other articles on this list.

I was the person who covered the story when the program, which helps offer previously incarcerated individuals an opportunity to earn their degrees and avoid recidivism, first came to campus. At that point I made friends with the program’s director, Brady Heiner, and its brand new coordinator, Romarilyn Ralston.

At least once a semester I try to go back and see the Project Rebound folks because, despite obviously being objective in my reporting, I do feel the cause is an important and righteous one.

The story I used for this scholarship application is my most recent piece about the program: A profile of its coordinator, Romarilyn.

It started as an assignment for my Multimedia Journalism class, and the actual meat of where it originated comes in the form of the video I produced alongside the written article. It’s embedded within the story if you haven’t seen it, and it’s probably my most proud achievement in a multimedia realm.

Though that being said, her story is also incredibly powerful, and certainly one of those stepping-stones that I would argue got me more invested in the idea that Features are a powerful tool for telling other people’s stories more than they are extra avenues of reporting.

Another piece stemming from my work with the Daily Titan’s advisor as a part of her Investigative Reporting class, the homeless coverage I was a part of is another ‘saga’ in my reporting experience thus far that I remember fondly.

Certain specific events, like our coverage of the Point-In-Time count toward the beginning of that semester, are things I’ll never forget.

However, the coverage of Mercy House I did alongside Roxana Paul is another thing I’ll always hold dear. It fits into a similar vein as the Romarilyn story I talked about above, as it gave a hard news-focused kid the opportunity to do slightly more Features-based coverage by actually going out and talking with some of the homeless population in Orange County.

Yet it was also a story steeped in hard news, covering the numbers with how much help is available in the County and talking to the people who provide the aid on the ground.

There are plenty of other elements I could dive into regarding this story. It was one of the first time I took pictures for my own article, it had graphics and other multimedia elements, it was part of a wonderful series put together by a group of really talented reporters. On top of that, it helped me out further last semester when I assisted with the coverage of Santa Ana clearing out whatever homeless population was living along the riverbed.

It’s another story I would consider one of my most in-depth and powerful. So read it if you haven’t, and check out the other Homeless in OC coverage the Titan did as well!

May 9, 2018 Article Published

Welcome to the part of the semester where my stories are written on borrowed time.

Not because I’m dying, of course! Though with finals around the corner it certainly feels that way…

No, I would consider this piece written on borrowed time because, frankly, I was planning on being done writing for the paper this semester. More time to focus on the aforementioned finals along with projects and all that good stuff.

But when the call came over Slack to help cover an ASI meeting during a time I had available, I couldn’t resist the allure of extra points.

Okay that’s not true, I have more than enough points for the semester. It was mostly a feeling of obligation not to let the news desk fall apart without a story.

Despite the fact that I had to come in early for the two-and-a-half hour meeting, followed by another two straight hours of hardcore writing focus that really burned me out, I’d say it was pretty worth the ride.

This meeting was the last one for the 2017-18 academic year, so it was a huge housecleaning bonanza. Seriously, they passed 20 items ranging from resolutions supporting or denouncing things to bylaw changes.

Because of the huge range of topics covered at the meeting, there were a bunch of people there that made it more interesting than such a long event otherwise would have been.

I got to hand out a bunch of business cards for future sourcing and say goodbye to some members of the Board that I’ve talked before to who are graduating.

Plus, it does help that some important things went on at the meeting. In the story, I mainly focused on the fact that $12,000 were allocated to the Tuffy’s Basic Needs Center, a new firm was confirmed that will perform audits on ASI for the next three years, it was made easier to recall student government leaders and some policy statements were reformatted.

However way more happened at the meeting that I just didn’t have the space to focus on outside of a listicle at the end. For example, they supported my somewhat-consistent beat material Project Rebound through a resolution. That was pretty cool to see!

On top of that, they passed a resolution supporting victims of gun violence, approved the use of a consent calendar for future meetings and just so much more.

I also had a chunk of my article originally allocated to the graduating members passing the torch along to the upcoming leaders… But again, spacing required that be taken out.

It’s too bad, because I had a nice exchange where the current Board chair Nicholas Jakel reflected on lessons he’d learned, followed by the upcoming ASI President talking about lessons he’s taking from people who are leaving… But hey, that’s the business.

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

February 5, 2018 Article Published

This particular article has been a bit of a long time coming at this point.

Remember about a week ago when I was sort of live tweeting about the College Republicans club watch party for the State of the Union address I covered?

Well, the piece I wrote with Brandon about the address is officially live and in print as of today.

There was originally some confusion surrounding the article as I was expecting us to have something written the night of. However, apparently our plan was to go around and get some more reactions from various campus groups regarding what President Trump said.

It would have been nice if Brandon hadn’t forgotten to tell me that night so I didn’t show up to the newsroom, finding it empty… But that’s all water under the bridge now.

If anything, I do agree with the position now that we’re past it, since the story came out much better with some time to marinate.

Not only did we have plenty of reactions from the College Republicans (who had an interesting watch party that featured a number of extra guest appearances, such as Congressional District 39 candidate Andrew Sarega), I also talked with Romarilyn Ralston from Project Rebound about the comments made regarding prison reform and Brandon talked to a member of the Black Student Union to get a more generally left-leaning perspective.

In the end I think the extra opinions definitely made the piece better. I just hope we don’t get a lot of pushback for this coming out so late after the State of the Union… We wrote the bulk of the thing last Wednesday, but wanted to make sure it went through the full wringer before we put it out in the world.

Oh, also it’s worth noting that I took pictures for this event. Not a lot of them wound up getting used for the story proper, but it’s just one recent example of me trying to practice my multimedia skills.

Between that and a few other events I’ve been taking pictures for, I’ve found that I actually kind of enjoy doing photography more than I expected to. It’s weird to say having always categorized myself as such a hardcore print writing specialist, but it’s nice to just zone out and take photos for a while.

I also have way more respect for our photo desk and how much they do now that I have a better grasp on what it’s like.

The watch party was an interesting thing to cover and take photos for in part because there was a photographer from TIME Magazine there as well, apparently doing a longer-form piece on Republican college-level activism in California.

While that’s probably something to leave for another day, I thought it was kinda cool all the same. Even if having two people walking around made the room feel much more cramped than it already was.

With all that said, if you’re interested in reading our article, you can check it out here. But of course, if you want to see my full archive of work, you can look at it over in the archive to the right.

For now I’ve got to go. There’s class in about a half hour and I have three or four other articles on my back burner that I need to finish, so expect to see some more coming out soon.

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.

My current hiatus and updated article archive

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

And:

Maybe that sort of thing strikes your fancy, but if not I swear I’ll be back on a more active post schedule come Winter Break with some hopefully interesting content. Probably.

August 21, 2017 Articles Published

Happy solar eclipse day everyone!

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

Which by itself is pretty awesome to think about really.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can also see all of my work for the Daily Titan over on the right!

New Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Information: Plot lines, Pictures and Z-Moves

I’ve spent most of the day out in Fullerton covering a Project Rebound event for a story I’ll be publishing in the Daily Titan’s first issue insert on Monday. The event started at 9 a.m. so I had to get up pretty early to drive out, and then devote plenty of time to covering what was happening.

Frankly, I’m pretty tired after finishing it all and could use a bit of a break before jumping into more interview transcription. I’ve probably transcribed close to 2 and a half hours with of speech in the last couple of days so I’m a bit burned out on it.

Luckily, Pokémon has me covered in the quick distraction department.

The reveal of Lycanroc’s Dusk Form earlier this month was the first really substantial piece of information we learned regarding the upcoming releases of Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. However, more new information was apparently dropped during the Opening Ceremony for the 2017 Pokémon World Championships today.

And you know I’m all over talking about anything and everything Pokémon.

So if you’re anything like me and down to put the upcoming semester’s work down for a bit, let’s journey into some new business regarding our second venture into Alola.

Continue reading “New Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Information: Plot lines, Pictures and Z-Moves”

October 19, 2016 Article Published

When this article was published yesterday, I was a little bit distracted by other things to be able to talk about it.  Half of the newsroom is currently off in Washington DC for a conference, and my co-editor has been a bit under the weather as of late, so the rest of us who were still around had to work extra hard to get our issue with special third presidential debate coverage out for today.

However, with our last issue of the week out, giving me a bit of a break before our big weeklong political special issue production on Sunday, figure now is as good a time as ever to update my blog here with this new article.

Project Rebound is a program out of San Francisco State University that recently received a $500,000 grant from The Opportunity Institute, allowing it to spread out and open branches in seven CSU campuses – including Fullerton, naturally.  The program sets out to help previously incarcerated individuals who are looking to get a college degree, at the same time attempting to lower the prison recidivism rate in California (at 44.6 percent or so in the 2010 to 2011 fiscal year according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations) and beyond.

I found out about it from my professor, Dr. Jason Sexton, who also happens to be the editor of Boom magazine.  He’s an advisor for the program’s new branch, as I’m sure the push to do a California prison-themed issue of Boom helped bring some attention. The advisors for the program are there to help convey what resources are around that Rebound staff can point students to, though currently there are only two primary staff members on board.

Brady Heiner, Ph.D, is an assistant professor of Philosophy at CSUF and the Director of Rebound there.  Meanwhile, Romarilyn Ralston is the recently hired program coordinator for Rebound, and happens to be a previously incarcerated individual who sought out and college degrees herself.  In her own words, “An office like Project Rebound and staff that has prior incarceration histories who has walked the walk and accomplished what Rebound sets up to help their students achieve will be very helpful and supportive.”

The story honestly wound up being a behemoth at 1,600 words, since I couldn’t really figure out where to stop writing.  There was a heck of a lot of information to convey, and both Heiner and Ralston gave me tons of good quotes to incorporate.

Luckily we have an awesome Layout editor who was able to help set up the paper to fill that kind of extensive content.

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