Tag: Sonya Quick

Evolving at level 22

Evolving at level 22

A week ago, I lamented the passage of time after buying my graduation regalia from Titan Shops:

 

 

You might remember this as, “that thing that happened before I wrote about the SPJ meeting with Sonya Quick.”

But that brief moment of panic wasn’t actually all that brief.

Buying the cap and gown was an encapsulation of my anxiety about the imminent transition from academia into the professional workforce.

I’ve become something of an expert at navigating academia. In fact, I’m attending the Department of Communications Awards again tomorrow to get some unknown accolade.

They don’t tell us what we’re in for, so you’ll just have to wait for my recap!

Sick teasers aside, the “real world” intimidates me far more. Not only because job prospects are in decline for journalists at the moment, but because of the increase in necessities. Rent, bills, health insurance… All that good stuff.

I can’t imagine I’m alone in feeling a deep-seeded dread toward the kinds of formalities that mark the transition into adulthood, so I won’t linger on it.

Instead I’ll subvert that fear and anxiety by bringing up my favorite childhood pastime so I can keep my psyche in a place of comfort:

Pokémon

You should all know that I love me some Pokémon. Sword and Shield is coming out soon, and even though we haven’t heard anything since the first announcement, I can’t wait for it to be my obligatory Game of the Year.

Yet, having played the creature collection series since 2000, I’ve never had a reason to justifiably call myself a Pokémon…

Until now.

After I bought my cap and gown, Mom suggested I dig through my closet to find my other gowns. I didn’t remember holding onto them, so I was a little skeptical.

But then I found them.

And the three-stage evolution is actually incredible:

Over on the left you have a cute little preschool graduation gown. Because apparently my preschool did a fancy graduation.

It’s actually impossible for me to imagine ever having been small enough to fit into that.

Though who knows, maybe if I keep working on getting swole at the gym…

In the middle is my high school graduation gown. All the boys wore red while all the girls wore white, and it’s complete with extra cords and doodads—outside of a wreath made of candy that I remember wearing at the time.

Unfortunately, Cal State Fullerton denied me the opportunity of completing the red, white and blue set by using boring, plain black robes.

Like sure, the sleekness of the black robes is pretty nice. And the fact that it looks so big compared to the other two really completes that metaphorical Pokémon evolution I’ve gone through.

But was any of that worth it if America got shafted at the end?

I think not.

… Also for anyone that might ask, this is not my official “cap and gown picture” or whatever. I’ll probably wind up doing that once I have all my stoles and other doodads.

I might even be thinking about some fun pictures to take. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Tales from a digital voice

Tales from a digital voice

With the end of the semester coming up, we had our last big Society of Professional Journalists event today.

It was another guest speaker: Sonya Quick from the nonprofit Voice of OC.

Plus donuts. But the donuts unfortunately did not get into this Tweet I did:

This talk was slightly less hands-on than our last guest’s discussion of useful apps, but the focus toward online content engagement was certainly just as noteworthy.

Voice of OC has a strong recent history with CSUF and the Daily Titan. My old mentor Spencer Custodio is one of five full-time reporters for their newsroom, and my old News Desk Assistant Brandon Pho is a reporting intern there.

I was the middle generation that missed out on that family tradition I suppose. Gladeo got to me first, or I just might have considered it.

Getting to hear Sonya share some things she’s picked up during her time at Voice of OC, as well as other papers like the OC Register, was great.

One of her first comments was about the importance of being straight-forward:

“I’m an emotion on your sleeves kind of gal. If I have a complaint about something, I won’t hold back.”

— Sonya Quick, Voice of OC

She reportedly has not held back in the past, being responsible for manifestos that encouraged organizations to focus more on digital, and later mobile, reporting as those came into vogue (especially pertinent now, as she says that reporters should think with their phones first).

Yet, she also fielded a question from our Chapter President Harrison Faigen about how to not take editorial criticism too personally.

She said that taking things personally is not a problem unless it impedes your work, because the emotions show you care.

However, even more of an important point — and one that strangely echos sentiments I’ve gotten from my parents — was that the time to get concerned is when an editor does not read or critique your work.

The more effort they put into tearing apart your story, the more they care and believe you can be even better than you are.

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“Our goal is not to impact decisions, but to get people involved.”

A number of other topics were on the docket for our hour-long meeting:

  • She recommended hiring staff “by passion, not by skill,” as she herself did not know much about the digital world before jumping into it.
  • Her two major rules for creating good search engine optimization in stories were:
    • Don’t scam people. Ever.
    • Write content people care about, especially “guide-like content” that can be built-up over time. Much more engaging than daily event stories.
  • When making videos, she recommended editing them down to one minute each and focusing on pre-planning with storyboards to avoid overshooting.
  • While for-profit organizations often only look at whether a reporter’s work garners clicks, she said Voice of OC looks at overall impact through shares, comments and other social engagements.

Then, as any good editor would, she plugged a great piece published that morning with a juicy DUI scandal going on.

There were a few other tidbits that made me laugh throughout her talk.

For instance, when I asked her about dealing with vitriol in those previously noted engagements she said she has had to wade through the “Seventh Circle of Hell” looking at the OC Register comment section.

But the really important takeaway would have to be what she said of being a reporter, in reference to many college students with Communications degrees leaving the industry early, or not going into the industry at all:

“You work long hours, you get little money and you get shit on almost constantly. But it’s awesome! And you have an impact!”

— Sonya Quick, Voice of OC

If that isn’t true love for one’s occupation, I don’t know what is.