Tag: School

Helping inspire the next generation

Helping inspire the next generation

Though I usually relish my two days a week that I don’t have to drive out to Fullerton for school and production, today I spent my Saturday going out to CSUF so I could hang out in the newsroom all afternoon.

But not because of production this time around.

No, today was the Journalism Association of Community Colleges’ SoCal 2017 conference, and it was held on campus. With a large collection of journalistically-inclined community college students assembling at CSUF looking to one day apply for a four-year college, it only made sense that the Daily Titan had an open house of sorts in the newsroom to answer any questions and encourage joining the editorial board.

As one of the longest serving members on the Daily Titan – which is something really bizarre for me to consider since I’m still one of the younger people in the room on average – I figured it would do me some good to come introduce myself to some potential future colleagues, and lay their minds at ease with regards to working on a higher caliber paper.

Granted we did confirm a lot of their fears regarding balancing school and production life, as well as producing a paper on a daily basis… But we also found a lot of people getting really excited about what we do, and I was able to dispense a lot of valuable advice about things like news reporting (in my opinion).

In fact, I really think there were some people I met today from a variety of schools, including Citrus College, Cypress CollegeOrange Coast College, and way more that I can’t remember off the top of my head while writing this (sorry for that if anyone winds up reading this from those colleges), who I can definitely see joining the Titan in the near future.

Plus I got this very nice picture out of it that I saw on Twitter:

Beyond spending some time talking about my experience with fellow aspiring journalists, I also got to hang out with our Managing Editor Harrison, one of my News Assistants Amy and one of our Lifestyle Assistants Tanya in a non-production context, which was a lot of fun. Bonnie, our Advisor, and Walt Baranger, a Daily Titan Alum and former New York Times editor who teaches at CSUF now, also stopped by and spent some time with us and with the Community College students.

We even got some donuts and pizza out of the deal too, so all and all I’d say it was an afternoon well spent – Even if I hadn’t been expecting to waste a good 6 hours at Fullerton on a Saturday just a few days ago.

 

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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!

July 18, 2017 Article Published

Bet you weren’t expecting to see this in your feeds in the middle of the summer, were you? Well news never sleeps for the Daily Titan, so here we are.

Okay that’s not totally true, things have been fairly dormant for a while, but when there’s big enough news we jump on it to be online content at least.

In this case the news relates back to Eric Canin, who you’ll likely remember as that guy I wrote a billion stories about with my co-editor Sarah last semester. An extraordinary moment of serendipity presented itself yesterday as the news desk got an email early in the day with an update from CSUF’s Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook. He was making good on his word from before the spring semester ended to keep us up to date on the latest happenings in the Canin case.

He gave us early access to the university’s official statement on the outcome of the arbitration that settled the debate between the school, who apparently looked to terminate Canin after the altercation in February, and the California Faculty Association (CFA), the union looking to fight back and have Canin keep his job based on their collective bargaining agreement.

Because I’ve been working on this story for so long – I still call it my baby in friendly company – I just about immediately jumped on the scoop when I had it in my hand. It was admittedly a little bittersweet working on it without Sarah, as she graduated from CSUF last semester, but the show must go on as they say.

Knowing who were the big players in the case leading up to this point, I did a fairly quick interview with Cook over email to clarify some points about this leg of the investigation before hitting up Tyler McMillen, a representative of the CFA, and members of the College Republicans club (Who we’d hoped to get a statement from for this initial breaking news… But since we didn’t get a response had to pass on in favor of, well, breaking the news. We’ll inevitably get a response article out, I’m sure).

However, arguably the biggest success of this piece was getting comments from Eric Canin himself. That’s right, Ashlyn – a reporter (also now graduated from CSUF) and friend of mine from the editorial board – had access to Canin’s cell phone number because she helped him out a little after the initial incident. Because she was so on the ball that day, we were able to stay in touch with him up until the investigation really heated up and he wasn’t able to talk anymore.

Now that the investigation is over, I figured it would only be right to hit him up and ask for his statement, especially given the fact that Cook suggested he intended to return this semester to teach at Fullerton. Thanks to the good standing he had with Ashlyn, I was able to get some comments over text and was eternally grateful for it.

Seriously, you would not believe how gleeful I was when he actually responded favorably. I was quite literally over the moon about getting that first-hand comment in the story.

Given the fact that the investigation’s results only came out yesterday, it seems like I had one of the more comprehensive pieces on the update given my advanced notice, which just goes to show you how important connections are in this line of work.

If you want to check out the story in its entirety (and for this one I definitely recommend you do as I’m honestly really proud of this piece), you can see it here. You can also check out my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over at the link on the right, where you can get completely up to date on the Canin saga!

A saga which I can only imagine will be entering another stretch as we get into the reactions to him returning to campus. Hoo boy I’m sure there are going to be some reactions.

Thus, I leave off with that old cliché – don’t touch your remote. I’m sure it’s going to keep being interesting, and you’ll find more updates here in the future. Same bat time, same bat channel.

Two articles published the week of May 8, 2017

So I suppose I should address the elephant in the room. Or at least I would if there was an elephant here, but there isn’t because the elephant has been on hiatus much like I have.

Does that metaphor make sense? Does it have to?

Probably not, it was just a silly way to transition into a thing that doesn’t have much to do with it in the end after all.

Yes, it has been quite a while since I posted anything here on my blog. I would go into the reasons why, but admittedly it’s not all that complicated. School has been extra busy, life has been extra busy… Doesn’t really leave too much time to talk about silly things like video games, as much as that’s what I do almost all the time anyway.

This post itself is a bit of a red herring though, as I still have finals next week and will probably be back on hiatus at least until those are done with. However, with two big articles of mine getting published over the last week, I figure this little quiet period over the weekend is a good a time as any to drop them off here. Everything else –  new card packs in Duel Links, the near release of a new Fire Emblem game, the fact that I just watched Guardians of the Galaxy 2, internships I’m potentially taking part in over the summer… All that kind of stuff can wait for later.

For now, let’s talk Titan. Early on this week, my co-editor Sarah and I worked together on an article about members of the CSUF College Republicans club creating a fake Instagram account parodying the Students for Quality Education (SQE) group on campus. The account wasn’t sanctioned by officials in the club itself, College Republicans club president Chris Boyle said, but he did acknowledge that he knew which members were responsible for act and had no intention of telling them to stop exercising their free speech. However, the story got tricky, as the fake Instagram account put out a fake advertisement regarding a fundraiser on Cinco de Mayo that was considered hate speech by some, particularly those in the real SQE, and it wound up going in front of the Academic Senate with the intent of passing a resolution against the account.

For as small and, frankly, hilarious a story as this one was to start with, it wound up getting a little hectic to pull together. We had to talk to all involved parties and get comments building upon the already complicated web or involved organizations, as not only was there the controversy behind the Cinco de Mayo post, but there was also other things happening concurrently like a whodunnit-style mystery behind exactly who was in charge of the account given accusations and denials across various individuals. In the end it was a fun article to work with alongside Sarah, and it was almost a last hurrah for us working together since she’s graduating. Though we did get some backlash from the Republicans on campus accusing our article of being biased, I think we did a good job staying neutral and just reporting what we were told and what we saw.

If you want to check out the article, you can see it here. It’s certainly a fun one to read, in my opinion.

The second piece I had published came at the end of the week, and it was a bit more of an adventure to put together. While the fake Instagram story came together in about a weekend, this article was quite literally a whole semester in the making.

As part of the Investigative Reporting class I’ve been taking, we have been collectively looking into homelessness in Orange County as our big project. Over the past couple of weeks, the stories we’ve written for the class have finally been coming out, including the one I wrote with Roxana Paul on the Mercy House emergency shelter in Fullerton and the Check-in Center that feeds into it. Admittedly I wrote most of the final article, since English isn’t Roxana’s strongest suit, but all of the work leading up to the end product was undoubtedly a group effort.

The article essentially follows a night in the life of the homeless who make use of these Mercy House services during Armory season (from about November to April). They can check goods in or out of storage at the La Palma Check-in Center in Anaheim during the afternoon shift (from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.), take a bus to get priority registration at the shelter in Fullerton, spend the night there and then go back to the center once the shelter closes at 6 a.m.

We not only talked to officials working at the two facilities, we also talked to homeless individuals making use of the services and looked through documentation on the amount of people that are homeless in Orange County (courtesy of things like the Point in Time count I participated in early on this semester) to try and weave a narriative of how hard it is to support people who can’t easily support themselves as well as the immense amount of work people that are really passionate about helping are putting in.

Fun fact, this was also the very first article I’ve taken my own photos for, pretty cool right? I think so, at least.

I’m super proud of this article and think it’s a great way to wrap up a semester, and I’m hoping you’ll agree. I spent extra time setting up the online edition of this story in particular as well, so be sure to check it out here!

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

April 10, 2017 Article Published

Last Thursday was a busy day for me. I alluded to most of what happened that day in my post about the CFA Lobby Day story I published, but didn’t go into too much detail about it there.

On the one hand, I went to the first annual University Honors Program banquet, and had a blast spending time with professors, faculty and other students who I’ve been in multiple classes with at this point. Always a fun time, and I’m glad I went. I didn’t wind up getting a lot of photos, and it wasn’t necessarily an outwardly exciting enough event to warrant talking about it extensively here, but I figure having it mentioned at least should be good.

However, the main reason I was busy happens to be the focus of this post here today. While I was in my history class, the Cal State Fullerton College Republicans club President Chris Boyle called me up and let me know that they were going to be talking at an Associated Students Inc. (ASI) Committee meeting about their resolution to get suspended lecturer Eric Canin terminated from campus after a University investigation came back saying he struck a student on February 8.

The Daily Titan, and specifically the news desk, has been following the Canin incident pretty closely for more than two months now, it’s pretty much been our big story and it really does feel like my baby at this point to be completely honest. So, when the chance presented itself thanks to my connections with the republican groups on campus, I had to jump at it, even though it meant missing my Investigative Reporting class that day.

Really, this pretty much is like a long-form investigative piece anyway from how I see it, so I suppose I can’t really complain about that.

While the coverage started off a little rocky, as there was some confusion regarding the meeting the Republicans club thought they wanted to attend not actually existing anymore and having to figure out when the meeting they needed was, in the end it all worked out and the club was able to address the ASI Board of Directors Governance Committee regarding the resolution they need a Board member to author so it can be reviewed and potentially passed.

The story itself goes into more detail about what they talked about, namely the feeling among club members that CSUF President Mildred Garcia and the school’s administration have not done enough in regards to the Canin incident, that they don’t feel their safety and freedom of speech have been protected adequately and their desire to have ASI stand with the students if the California Faculty Association (the teacher’s union) is standing with the professor.

However, it also delves a little more into why a resolution is significant and what it takes to pass one, as I had a nice talk with the Board of Directors Chair after the meeting ended. On top of that, there are comments from the CFA and from the University in regards to things that have been said… So it’s a pretty meaty story, and one I’m pretty happy about now that it’s done and printed.

Granted, it was a lot of work to pull it all together because of how much more information I had to incorporate than I expected… But that’s what having great friends and fellow editors is for: helping me turn my rough work into far better pieces than they ever would have been without the help.

The work we’ve been doing following this story has honestly been one of the highlights of my semester. It’s one of the first times I’ve really felt that feeling of being a journalist covering something truly important, covering it from all angles and making connections along the way that have only helped broaden my horizons.

It’s been great, and it’s nowhere near done yet. Everything is still going through the motions and there’s more going on even later this week in regards to the case. I continue to look forward to it, and I continue to look forward to working with a great team that’s only helped facilitate covering such a big issue to the best of our collective abilities.

However, this particular piece is all mine, and if you want to see the article in its entirety, you can check it out here.  You can also see my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!

March 9, 2017 Article Published

I’m a day late with this one, and a couple days late with some other things I’ve been meaning to talk about, but I’ve been pretty sick and out of it, so you’ll all have to forgive me f0r my timing being out of sync and my writing probably being less prolific than usual.

Anyway though, let’s talk a little about this article.

In our continuing examination of anthropology lecturer Eric Canin, who struck a student during a rally in early February according to the university’s internal investigation, we’ve found that two petitions are circulating campus regarding his suspension.  One that’s been put out by faculty members and supported by the California Faculty Association calling for his reinstatement and another put out by the Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) group on campus calling for him to be fired for infringing upon the free speech of students.

The piece I wrote in conjunction with my co-editor Sarah and our Editor in Chief Hayley goes into a bit more detail examining how each group sees the other’s petitions and charting out what the next steps will likely be in regards to the Canin controversy.  My primary contribution to the article was the information on the Republican side of the aisle, since I was the one in contact with most of the members of YAL and the College Republicans club.

You can see the article in its entirety here, and in the print version of the story we also included the complete text of both petitions.  You can check the issue in full at the Daily Titan Issuu archive.  It’s pretty worth looking at I’d say, and not even because I have extra bias toward the paper.

Next week we’ll be looking further into another lead we have regarding a meeting the College Republicans are looking to have with the student government on campus, Associated Students Inc., so look out for that too.

On another note, we got our business cards this week.  That doesn’t have too much to do with this story, but I think it’s cool and figure I should mention it while I’m talking about the Daily Titan.
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Looking fancy

That’s about all for now however, so as usual if you want to see my full archive of work for the Daily Titan, you can see it over on the right!

 

March 7, 2017 Article Published

President Donald Trump signed an executive order yesterday that revoked and replaced the executive order from Jan. 27 instituting what has popularly become known as a “travel ban” restricting travel from seven predominately-Muslim countries.

I wrote the article about the new order for this issue of the Daily Titan.  It was one of the harder articles I’ve had to write, however not so much because of the content.  Last night’s production I was essentially on my own running the News desk due to my co-editor dealing with some personal problems and had to get by with a little help from my friends in the newsroom.

Beatles reference too much?  Maybe.  But I’ll leave it in anyway.  Because I like it.

Anyway, I had to split my time between writing this article, calling and interviewing multiple subjects for a series of stories we’re planning to write in the future and juggling the many ever-sporadic balls of writers doing deadline stories, laying out pages and keeping the ship as a whole afloat while things fall through at the last minute.

If nothing else it was an exciting night, and the fact that we didn’t get out super late I feel is a testament to the strength of our staff working as a team.

In terms of the story itself, after reading through and annotating the order, I talked with CSUF assistant political science professor Dr. Robert Robinson to find out more about the new order and about the idea of repealing and replacing an executive order as a whole.  Personally, I feel like I learned a lot from the experience, which by itself is always a marker of a good story for me.

However, in this case, I’d say the more weighty indicator of this being a good story was the fact that it was a pretty hefty same-day report on an issue of national importance.  Covering President Trump may already seem like an exhausting task just three months into his presidency, but the job remains as important as ever.

Digging into this new executive order helped remind me of that, since it was an interesting mix of looking into new writing being put out and seeing how the order differs from its predecessor, Executive Order 13769.  There are a number of key differences, such as the removal of Iraq as one of the restricted countries and a more in-depth description of the scope of the ban.

Because the original order will be revoked as of the official start date for this new order, March 16, the 90-day ban will also reset that day, extending the period of time the Trump Administration has given itself to figure out how to improve the immigrant vetting process.

Whether or not they succeed in that goal is yet to be seen, but I’ll be interested to watch how it plays out going into the future.

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

March 2, 2017 Article Published

This issue of the Daily Titan is actually a pretty huge accomplishment all around, for every desk that was involved.

At the News Desk, my co-editor Sarah and I put together a big three-story package following up further with the altercation involving part-time anthropology lecturer Eric Canin.

The first story, written by Sarah, looks into the claim by the California Faculty Association that Canin has received death threats following the altercation and found that the University Police would not call anything he received a ‘death threat.’ The second, written by our assistant Brandon and Opinion Desk’s assistant Ashlyn, follows up with the CSUF College Republicans club and finds that they’re circulating a petition and gathering signatures to have Canin dismissed.  Finally, the third story, written by me, is more of a profile of Canin that aims to present a side of the story that we haven’t covered as of yet.

With all the negative coverage that comes as the result of this kind of news, it’s sometimes hard to remember that someone isn’t as bad as expectations might lead one to believe.  After talking with the coordinator for the Cultural Anthropology program at CSUF, Barbra Erickson, as well as some students in Canin’s classes, I was able to paint a picture of how other people who know him better see the man.  I heard nothing but good things while reporting, and while that makes it a shame that he’s been in this situation, it does go to show that anyone can get caught up in the heat of a moment.

While the four of us wrote these stories separately, Sarah and I helped do the reporting and craft them all since this coverage is like our big project this semester, so we’re both at least a contributing credit on all three.  I also put together a timeline on the front page of the newspaper, and with all of this we have gotten some praise from people like the chair of the Communications Department at CSUF.

Never a bad thing, I’d say.

However, News wasn’t the only desk with big stuff happening yesterday to run in today’s issue.  Sports Desk has a big front page article about a women’s basketball player who quit the team following a much deeper trend, and it’s definitely something worth checking out.  Our Sports editor Bryant put some really good work into it.

The Opinion Desk has a story written up about sex offenders following a decision made by the Fullerton City Council on Feb. 7.

Finally, the Features Desk had one article in particular that was pretty important to me personally.  Dr. Jason Sexton, a CSUF professor, editor of Boom Magazine and pretty good friend of mine, invited me to speak at the Boom Happy Hour this last Tuesday as a representative of the magazine and of the Daily Titan and journalism in general.  It was a great time and I got a lot of positive feedback for the speech I gave.

And we had it covered for the paper.

So, if you want to see that story, you can check it out here.  I’m looking to try and pull the audio from the speech I gave from the recording our reporter took so I can post it independently, but until then you’ll just have to read what happened in print.

You can also see this picture of me doing my thing that was caught candidly by our Photo Desk assistant Bailey:

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Not entirely sure what I’m doing with my hands, but I do think I look pretty good in red.

If you want to check out my full archive of work for the Daily Titan, you can see it over on the right!

 

February 23, 2017 Article Published

Lots of crazy stuff happened last night and we wound up staying until the early hours of this morning producing our last issue of the week.

It wound up being arguably one of the best issues I’ve helped put together in my opinion.

As far as my own written contribution went, my co-editor Sarah and I worked together to produce an update for the story Sarah and our assistant Brandon put together on Feb. 8 about the lecturer involved in an altercation with members of the CSUF College Republicans club.

Not only did we get an official comment from the University’s Chief Communications officer that told us what the internal investigation into the issue turned up, we also got a comment from the lecturer himself about his current status.  Through those two we found out that the investigation concluded the lecturer did strike a student, impeded on the free speech of the College Republicans club and was suspended as a result.

Pretty awesome stuff to get to throw together all at once, and I’m super proud of how the update turned out.

However, that wasn’t the only thing in this particular issue that made it such a good one.  We also have stories about a strange and interesting series of arrests that Sarah looked into, Trump’s administration addressing the transgender bathroom issue yesterday, CSU Chancellor Timothy White releasing a statement about how immigration concerns will be handled by the school system and more.  Lots of really good stuff written by a lot of great writers in one of the more memorable page layouts I’ve seen in quite some time!

All the stories are available online of course, but I’d also recommend looking at them in their official print layout over on Issuu, since it really is a really nice issue overall in my opinion.  It’s a slightly biased opinion I suppose, but this is my personal blog so take it for what it is.

If you want to see the article on the lecturer altercation update 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!

Preparing for battle – The 2017 International Challenge for February

I put a lot of pomp and circumstance around my entry (or lack thereof) in the Pokémon Sun and Moon Alola Friendly battle competition when it came around last month.  With Pokémon standing in pretty consistently as my favorite video game series, competitive team building and battling has been one of the things that has helped elongate my interest and playtime since I began to do it in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.

Of course, I’d been planning on trying out a team in the Alola Friendly competition, but I missed the registration window.

Luckily, the 2017 International Challenge for February has a prize worthy enough to encourage me to remember to register on time this time.  For participating, players get access to the Mega Stones for Mawile and Beedrill, which up until now have been unavailable in Generation 7.

Mega Mawile happens to be my favorite Mega Evolved Pokémon, so I jumped on the opportunity to get those stones right away:

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See?  Totally signed up this time.

Given that the 2017 International Challenge for February is a doubles battle competition, I decided to breed a whole new team just for the occasion.  I do have a wonderful combination sitting in my box with Wishiwashi and a Speed Swap using Ribombee, but I didn’t have a lot else to work alongside them.

Therefore I built a squad around a doubles combination I wanted to try, and I’m actually pretty proud of how it turned out.  Again, it might not be smart to give my strategy away ahead of time… But I also just love to gush about these things.  So here goes anyway!


Big Chungus

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My Elective is actually the first Pokémon I have competitively built that I didn’t personally name.  I was a little stuck on just what to call him and let my friend Juan name him instead.  Thus, Big Chungus was born.

It’s grown on me, admittedly.

This Pokémon was the reason I initially wanted to build this specific doubles team in the first place.  I had the idea of running a Motor Drive Pokémon holding a Cell Battery so I could get both an attack and a speed boost at the same time.  Combined with a Discharge user, I figured he could become a real beast in the field.

But of course I never decided to look up this strategy online ahead of time.  If I did, I would’ve found out that Motor Drive absorbs the Electric-type attacks before they can do things like activate items.  So that strategy kind of flew out the window.

While this development was disappointing, it didn’t lessen my zeal to build a powerful Big Chungus to sweep away the competition.  He still gets a speed boost from Discharge and now has the chance to hold a berry so he can heal some health when knocked down a few pegs.  By using a consumable item like this, I still have the opportunity to play with Thief and steal the items of opponents once it’s gone – the plan I had going for Cell Battery use as well.

Thunder Punch serves as Electivire’s primary STAB attack while Ice Punch gives him an opportunity to take down pesky Ground-types that gets sent out (a particularly useful strategy against Pokémon like Garchomp).  Finally, Cross Chop gives him more of a super effective damage spread against Normal-types, Ice-types, Rock-types and Steel-types.

The crux of Big Chungus’ skills only really become fully apparent when combined with his partner, so I should probably introduce him too.  Thus, without further adieu:


Schnoz 

This protruding proboscis Pokémon, aptly deemed Schnoz, is my team’s Discharge dealing defensive wall and the proud partner of Big Chungus whenever I get the chance to use them.  While this is mainly because of discharge, other factors help contribute to that as well.

Firstly, Schnoz has Magnet Pull as his ability.  As a result, no Steel-types can switch out when he’s on the field.  This doesn’t mean a lot for Probopass himself, but it does mean that Electivire can spam some Cross Chops while they’re out together.  Other team members benefit from this magnetic pull as well, like a certain other monkey I’ve trained, but he really is meant to work with Big Chungus.

Wide Guard is another example as to why they’re meant to work together.  Even though the Air Balloon Schnoz holds allows him to dodge Ground-type attacks until hit, Wide Guard lets him block Earthquakes for both himself and his partner.

Let me tell you, it’s incredibly satisfying to block an Earthquake from a Garchomp that’s killed by Ice Punch that same turn.

Flash Cannon and Stealth Rocks finish off Schnoz’s moveset, giving him a pretty powerful STAB attack and another utility option to damage opponents as they switch into battle.

Like some of the other Pokémon I’m using on this team I’ve built, I never expected I would ever use a Probopass in my life.  In fact, I was pretty opposed to his overall design not too long ago.  Now that I know what he can do, particularly in conjunction with my big, strong electrical ape, I’ve come to like the mustachioed magnetic rock.

Or at least, I like seeing the two of them in battle together.  If it wasn’t weird to say it out loud, I might even say that the two are the flagship couple on my squad.

But it is pretty weird to say, so let’s move on shall we?


Capuchin 

This semester I’m taking a course on primate behavior at Cal State Fullerton.  It’s easily my favorite class that I’m taking right now and I could probably argue that it’s one of the most fun courses I’ve taken in college in general.  Something about the subject matter and the professor just really click together for me.

One thing I’ve learned through the class so far is that the Capuchin monkey has to be my favorite primate ever.  Not only are they cute, but their tool usage is pretty incredible to watch, and I still haven’t gotten tired of it.

Seriously, check it out:

That’s some really cool stuff.

Anyway, the reason I’ve gone on this little tangent about primates is because it happens to coincide perfectly with this particular team member, a Passimian simply dubbed Capuchin.

Not only is there an intrinsic pun just in using a monkey name with ‘cap’ in it for a monkey wearing a shell like a hat, my Passimian likes to use stone tools as well.  His Hard Stone both improves his Rock Slide attack that hits both sides of the field and makes Fling a powerful 100 base power Dark-type move.

The Receiver ability works real well in a doubles battle setting as well, allowing Capuchin to steal his partner’s ability when they faint.  He could wind up able to absorb all Water or Electric-type attacks, he could gain an immunity to priority attacks, he could trap a Steel-type opponent against a Pokémon that’s super effective against them and more.

Really it’s just about a win-win no matter what he gets since a jolly speed-oriented heavy attacker is the monster in question.  I really do love having this team member around, and I’m looking forward to seeing him take some lives during the competition.


Tharja 

Tharja the Mandibuzz is essentially my main defensive wall.  While Schnoz fits that role pretty well too, Mandibuzz intrinsically has an immunity to Ground-type moves that balances the two weaknesses I have.

My strategy for using her is pretty simple honestly.  Knock Off and Brave Bird are strong STAB attacks with the prior also allowing me to nullify most of my opponent’s items.  Toxic is there so I can make use of the hefty bulk behind this bird in situations where those two attacks just won’t cut it.

Now Roost is where things get interesting.  With her hidden ability, Tharja gains two speed boosts at the cost of one defense stat debuff whenever she gets hit by a physical attack.  This boost compensates for her middle-tier base speed stat and helps her outspeed most opponents.

Once she’s that much faster, Z-Move Roost recovers her health AND replenishes her stat debuffs, making it so she has all the speed with none of the fallen defense.  It feels fantastic to pull it off on an opponent, especially if a Brave Bird or two can sweep up the rest of their side.  Plus, Z-Move Brave Bird can really pack a punch when I need to use it instead.

Before Tharja came along I never really imagined I’d ever use a Mandibuzz, but now I really dig what she can do.

Oh, and I figure I should add that she’s named after the Plegian mage from Fire Emblem Awakening because she has that darkness-and-death vibe going on.  Also because Fire Emblem Heroes has gotten me way back in the mood for any and all things Fire Emblem.

Seriously that game is like my current addiction.


Peach

Named after arguably the most famous princess in all of video game history, my Tsareena is here to kick ass and take names.

Literally.

Because kicking is her thing.

It’s a joke, see?

Anyway, moving on.  Tsareena actually wasn’t meant to be on this team I’ve built.  Originally I intended to run a Hyper Voice Sylveon thanks to the accessibility of the move via Poké Bank, but with this competition being limited to the Alola Pokédex I wasn’t sure whether I would be allowed to use a Pokémon with the pentagon icon indicating origins in Generation 6.

So, in came Tsareena as a replacement.  Not only is she strong against Ground-types (which I apparently felt was something I needed to correct against), she has quite a few weaknesses to make use of a Weakness Policy alongside her immunity to priority attacks and her diverse move pool.

Plus Trop Kick is just great.  I had quite a few experiences while practicing where I would lower the attack stat of a Pokémon using a super effective move and get a sweet stat boost as a result.  Pretty solid strategy also courtesy of my friend Juan.

Tsareena’s moves round out with Acupressure, which is more of a gimmick I was looking to try out in the moment.  Rapid Spin may have been smarter, but I like the idea of being able to strengthen my other Pokémon during a calm moment.  Hopefully the random nature of Acupressure doesn’t wind up screwing me over.


Nessie 

Like Tharja and Peach before her, my Lapras (named after the infamous Loch Ness monster) has a rather simple role on this team.  She’s the strong special attack wall to balance out the more physically oriented group around her.  With 237 HP and a 161 special defense stat (boosted to about 240 or so thanks to her Assault Vest), it’s pretty hard to take her down.

She even lived against a Thunder in the rain from a Tapu Koko during one of the practice battles I did.  It’s nuts.

Past her amazing walling status, Nessie also has a pretty wide typing coverage.  Hydro Pump is STAB and hits Fire, Ground and Rock-types.  Freeze Dry is also STAB and hits Flying, Grass, Dragon, Ground and specifically Water-types.  Dragon Pulse hits Dragon-types and isn’t resisted by much.  Finally, Psychic hits Fighting and Poison-types.

I’d considered running Perish Song as a way to take down Pokémon that are trapped by either Magnet Pull or a Mean Look from Schnoz, but I preferred having the walling capabilities that only an Assault Vest can bring.

I also decided to run Nessie with Water Absorb rather than Shell Armor so that I can switch her in whenever I’m expecting a Water-type attack to come my way, even if I’m stuck with taking potential critical hits as a result.

Though she has no particular gimmick, Nessie really rounds out my team well.  Her strength and attacks are solid all around and make her a good Pokémon to bring out for a wide variety of situations.

I’ve always loved Lapras, and I’m glad to finally get the chance to help her shine.


Tonight is the last night to register for the 2017 International Challenge for February, and battles will go underway throughout the weekend.  I’ll be keeping a log of how I do and there will probably be an update on that coming by Monday or so… Assuming the world doesn’t fall apart in the newsroom again like it did this last week.

While I’m really looking forward to putting this team to work, I’m also always looking for more ideas to build in the future.  If you have any comments about my team and how it shapes up or if you have any teams in mind you want to see built, I’d love to hear any and all of it!

Good ideas are never a bad thing to stockpile, I’d say.