Tag: SQE

November 1, 2017 Article Published – Plus my first romp into radio

Obviously this is a couple days late given the title, but considering what it was I still felt like it’s worth talking about.

On Halloween, months of build-up and anticipation finally exploded at Cal State Fullerton when Milo Yiannopoulos came to speak. It was a long, long road starting from the first story I put together at the end of August when his visit was still in the works.

A road filled with a variety of stories from me, my co-editor Brandon, all our assistants and whoever else in the newsroom contributed that tackled all sorts of topics: The process getting him to come, the responses from campus and anyone writing us letters to the editor, all the resolutions that were passed, following local schools that decided to close because of his visit… On top of so much more.

Pretty insane stuff, and there was a lot of tension that I didn’t even realize was as intense as it was until we got to the very end. Seriously, the last week or so before he came had me more nervous than I ever thought I would have been considering my feelings during the months leading in.

Then the day came, and everything felt like it was over in a flash.

Okay that’s not entirely true, it was a very, very long night all things being equal. But our team planned things out well in advance and handled everything masterfully. Probably the first thing that really lead to our success was Brandon’s decision to check us out a secondary home base in the Pollak Library, somewhere more centralized that we could use to pop in and drop things off without having to cross campus and make it to the newsroom.

IMG_8949
From left to right, here’s my assistant Nichole, me, my assistant Breanna, Brandon and our Editor-in-Chief Zack in our ‘Library Bureau’ right after Milo finished his speech.

From the library we were able to hit everything, and we had teams all over the place.

Some of us were covering the Unity Block party, which was put on by Students for Quality Education and a number of on-campus organizations. The event was meant to be a peaceful, educational alternative to everything going on, and for the most part it kept that up quite well, there were only a few instances where some small arguments had to be broken up.

On top of that, the Block Party had speakers like Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva come out, so it was pretty interesting in that regard. Amy and Breanna handled that coverage well, and just about everyone got to chip in by wandering the quad and taking in the sights and people.

Unfortunately, all of the fairly good vibes and low key energy from this event made it arguably the least newsworthy part of the day. There was a hell of a lot more that happened.

The main event was, of course, Yiannopoulos speaking. That was the part I focused my energy on. After all, I’ve built a strong rapport with the College Republicans club, and as a result I got to get in free and sit with the press alongside our Photo editor Katie.

Oh also, our Social Media editor Megan Maxey was there too. She just happened to be in the regular seats because we could only get 2 media tickets, so she was there with a regularly purchased ticket.

Despite being probably the only print-centric reporter covered by a wall of massive video cameras for broadcast, I thought it was an awesome opportunity. I got to see people working from ABC7, CBS2/KCAL9, FOX11 and a whole bunch of other places – and I got to work alongside them.

Sure, I didn’t get to dress up for Halloween this year, but I did dress up quite a bit better than usual knowing I would be surrounded by professionals.

With my Tascam audio recorder plugged into the microphone at the front of the room and my laptop out ready to transcribe, I got through the whole hour of Yiannopoulos’ speech without a hitch.

I’ve heard stories of Milo and how… Controversial his talks are, to put it plainly, but it was definitely a whole different experience actually hearing him in person while seeing a crowd raucously cheer and agree. Sure, I might not personally agree with a lot of what he said, but it was definitely a fascinating thing to witness.

With that audio and a few basic interviews with a College Republicans club representative and Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook (who I ran into a number of times at the event), I was able to pull together a long article highlighting the breadth of things he talked about. I thought it was a really strong article, and generally I seem to have gotten agreement on both sides of the aisle for that.

To be honest, one of my favorite things about this whole experience has been seeing the internet take the same basically informative article and run in completely different directions with it.

Yiannopoulos himself picked up my article and posted it to his Facebook page before we’d put it out on our own social media, and within 9 hours that sucker had nearly 1,000 views on his page alone.
img_6482

Pretty nuts.

Plus, the comments on that article were pretty hilarious to me in a lot of places, namely this one:
img_6483

I even showed this off to Walt Barranger, a former New York Times editor and CSUF alum who now teaches at the university. He thought it was pretty hilarious.

All and all, I’m frankly just glad I was able to put a story together that wasn’t universally bashed in some way based on this controversial subject matter. That’s a win in my book.

These two stories weren’t even everything, however.

They didn’t cover the protests, which were a major part of the event. Really major in fact, as just about every news organization was leading with the headline that 8 people were arrested the next morning.

Brandon handled the blunt of the writing for this third piece, but just about everyone contributed to it, just like everyone around helped with the Unity Block Party. After all, there was so much to tackle that it really did take an army.

It didn’t just take an army however, it took a wildly committed and talented army. That’s definitely the kind of team we have. At least three reporters for the Daily Titan got hit with pepper spray over the course of the night, but they all picked right back up and kept going to get the stories.

It was incredibly inspiring to watch, and it was equally inspiring getting to work with everyone for probably over 15 hours on this one event. I’m not sure I’ve ever been more proud of what I do and who I do it with than I am seeing everything we all put together.

That sentiment doesn’t just go to the writers either. Megan and her assistants killed it on social media by live tweeting almost anything and everything going on to give our audience a play-by-play of events that night. Our photographers got some of the most gorgeous pictures I’ve ever seen, clearly tempered by the heat and pressure of the day. On top of that, anyone who wasn’t involved in the coverage of Milo got all the other work for this paper done in a timely manner that facilitated the rest of our work, and it was incredibly appreciated.

The paper itself still took until like 3:00 a.m. to finish… But in this case, that late deadline was really worthwhile.

In the end, everything came together beautifully. We got a hell of a lot of traffic based on our Milo coverage, and by the time I got to campus the next day at 11 a.m. or so, all the papers were already cleaned out of our racks across campus. Between that and all the praise we received on social media and in person, we were all glowing with pride.

Oh, and we’re also going to be coming out with a special souvenir version of the paper next week on fancier paper and with extra photo spreads to commemorate it, since we ran out of the papers so fast on day 1. Look forward to seeing that, I know I will.


You may think the story is over there, but you’d be wrong. After all, I also mentioned the radio in my headline here. You didn’t think I would forget about that, would you?

Part of what made this event so special to me was that it offered me a brand new opportunity. The producer for Take Two on Southern California Public Radio (89.3 KPCC) reached out to the Daily Titan and asked if we wanted to have someone on their show the morning after Milo’s talk to do an interview about it.

As the person who arguably has been following the Yiannopoulos visit, I decided to take him up on the offer.

So, after making it home at 4:00 a.m. or so, I got up again at 7:00 a.m. to prepare for an interview at 8:00 a.m. Needless to say I was pretty exhausted later, but it was oh so worth the effort.

My segment on Take Two lasted about 5 minutes or so, and you can listen to it here. I had a really good time representing the paper and getting to flex my knowledgable muscles a little to talk about the build-up and the reactions to the speech.

Plus, experiencing radio as a whole was an interesting experience in its own right. For some inside baseball, they had me talking to the host via a landline phone while I recorded myself talking through my cell phone. All while I was underneath a blanket.

The extra effort putting together my audio made it so it sounds more like I was in the studio talking in person. Though it was weird, it definitely worked wonders. The audio in the piece sounds great, and I had people reaching out to me from all over saying I did a great job.



Okay, now that’s everything I have to say on the matter. Sorry this is such a long one, but I really felt it was necessary to capture the complete experience that was covering Milo Yiannopoulos. All of my pieces, as usual, can be found on the right, and I even included the cooperative pieces with mine just to give credit to the whole experience where it’s due.

I also added in my story about the conclusion of the ASI Board of Directors meeting from a week and a half ago or so, since I forgot to before. That story is long and drawn out in itself so I won’t go into it here… But reading the article should give a good idea of why it was so crazy.

On top of that, I’m adding a new section to the archive side of my blog for my radio appearance. Who knows, there may be more in the future, and I’d love to see that expand in the near future too.

Advertisements

September 14, 2017 Article Published

I’ll be honest, today hasn’t been the greatest day. In fact, it’s been pretty lousy all things considered. But the reason why is a long, long story, and it’s a story I don’t exactly feel like telling right now. 

So instead let’s just talk about this article I got published, even if I don’t have too much to say regarding it necessarily.

As the Daily Titan follows a number of long-running story threads – namely the DACA decision, Title IX and the potential visit from Milo Yiannopoulos in the near future – everyone on news desk has been putting in a hell of a lot of work. My co-editor Brandon has been especially busy, mostly because he’s been keeping up with everything as my life is keeping me spiraled in many different directions at once.

However, yesterday I was able to use my friendly connection with the President of the College Republicans club to whip out a real quick 350ish word update on the Milo situation, which felt good to contribute after a week of feeling pretty hands-off on a lot of things.

This lead came after the group Students for Quality Education rallied at the ASI Board of Directors meeting earlier in the week. At one point in that story it was mentioned that an executive brought up October 31st as the date which Milo could be coming. Having been in talks with the College Republicans club president and president emeratus, I knew that they’ve been working on bringing Milo on Halloween, but I haven’t reported on it yet given that the official contract with the speaker hasn’t been signed. Figured that meant there was still room for change down the line, and I didn’t want to be too pre-mature.

When it was brought up by that third party, however, I was curious enough to dig a little more. After all, even though I’m essentially at the top of the waiting list for information, I hadn’t heard anything was finalized. What I wound up discovering from my contact in the University Conference Center was that the College Republicans have officially booked the Titan Student Union Pavilion space for a guest speaker on Halloween.

Thus, the story was as simple as a quick update on that with a nice little interview I did with the College Republicans club president Amanda that not only set the stage for what’s next, but also got her input on most of the events that had been happening throughout the week. All and all it’s short, but I think rather nice and effective as an update story. Something to keep the fire kindled as we wait for more, I suppose.

If you want to check out the article in its entirety, you can see it here. If you want to look at my whole catalog of work for the Daily Titan, you can look over at the link on the right!

September 11, 2017 Article Published

Pulling this story together was arguably one of the more interesting reporting experiences I’ve ever had.

Over the weekend, the University of California Office of the President announced that they had filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security over the Trump administration’s decision to rescind DACA last week.

As soon as we heard about that (though we heard about it a little late, admittedly) I jumped on the story. The CSU system and the UC system are totally different entities, but together they comprise a large majority of the higher education in California, so what one does tends to affect the other. Thus, even if the CSU didn’t make the decision to file a lawsuit, it was imperative to get an idea of just what the lawsuit was and whether or not our school system would follow suit.

Pun not necessarily intended.

Of course, as it turned out, the day that we found out about the lawsuit and I began to work on the article was also the day I had pre-arranged plans to spend time with a family friend. We were all having lunch out in Anaheim at Downtown Disney as both a way for my Dad to catch up and for me to network with some journalists.

Thus, I spent all day reading through and translating the text of the UC system’s lawsuit off of my phone while wandering Downtown Disney and trying to talk with people all at the same time. It was, frankly, a mess. The fact that I was wearing a black shirt in the blazing heat didn’t help either… But it was a mess that wound up working out really well.

I’m pretty proud of how I took the lawsuit apart bit-by-bit to really elaborate out the reasons why it was being filed. I think it turned out pretty comprehensive in that respect, despite the majority of the piece just being that discussion of the lawsuit itself.

In terms of the localizing details, that was a little trickier simply for getting information together than it was for translating legal jargon. Something was wonky with our news desk email, and that made us miss the message from CSUF’s Chief Communications Officer until yesterday afternoon before we published. We also weren’t able to hear back from the larger CSU Office of the Chancellor over the weekend, which meant we were essentially running off of our University’s perspective of what was happening.

And our University’s perspective was that it would be something handled at the systemwide level by the Chancellor’s office.

Ironically enough, in the midst of me writing this blog post we did get a response from the Office of the Chancellor. I was able to update the story accordingly, so now the text available online reflects that addition.

It wasn’t much of an addition considering the Office of the Chancellor essentially mimicked what our school’s representative said, but I suppose I wouldn’t have expected much more than that. If nothing else it served as a good argument for the magic of the Internet as a means of updating things as they go along.

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!



Though the DACA-related article was the only one I wrote for our paper today, I did also want to point out that I actually took photos for a separate story running on our page.

As part of my Multimedia Journalism class I have a multimedia kit checked out for the whole semester. Though it has become a hell of a nuisance to carry that thing, my backpack and a tripod around campus whenever I have class, it turns out that having a professional camera available to me is a pretty useful thing.

When I went with our new assistant news editor to cover the Humanities and Social Sciences Inter-Club Council meeting (since SQE was presenting to them hoping to argue against Milo Yiannopoulos coming to campus), we realized we had forgotten to call a photographer to come. Luckily I had my multimedia kit so I could work on another assignment, as it let me take the pictures for that event.

Though I got some complaints about my camera shutter being too distracting (which at a public meeting did not mean much… But I still apologized), I think it wound up being good practice for my homework later and I was able to get credit in the paper for taking photos.

I really haven’t taken photos for anything beyond the Homeless Investigation last semester, so having the extra experience was kind of fun for someone so print-and-word oriented. I’m thinking I might try to take photos more often in fact, and if I do I might even try to reflect that here on the blog archives.

Guess we’ll just have to see.

If you want to check out the photo I took to represent the story, you can look over here. It is our first follow-up on the Milo Yiannopoulos stuff before getting the official confirmation of his coming by the College Republicans club president, so it’s probably worth reading for that too if you’re interested in following through.

August 28, 2017 Article Published

I’m pretty exhausted.

Between adjusting to new classes, a couple doctor’s visits for things like physicals and working on the Daily Titan, I already feel like I could use a break. It wouldn’t be exaggeration to say that this one week alone has felt like a month in its own right.

At least watching people read the title to my article and pick it up the school paper throughout the day has been a significant little energy boost.

For those of you that are at CSUF, I’m sure you have all noticed the super cool newspaper gracing every shelve and pick-up booth today. At least I hope you have all noticed. However, for those of you who are not on this campus, I figure I should show you all what’s going on:

img_5998

Though the beginning of school has been a major part of my stress and exhaustion lately, certainly working on this big story has been a significant contributing factor, despite it all being worth the effort in the end.

I’ve done at least eight or more interviews within the last week alone to put this piece on controversial conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos potentially coming to CSUF and how close the process is to securing it. In the end I’d argue I accumulated enough content to fill up five completely separate articles on different subjects related to this event in the works.

Thanks to my assistant Amy for some help transcribing and to our Editor in Chief Zack for helping me work through putting it all together in a cohesive way, I’d say things turned out pretty wonderfully.

The story essentially begins with my delving into the College Republican club’s plans to bring Milo Yiannopoulos to campus and confirming that they have been doing what they said they have been doing. That meant going to every source that club president emeritus Chris Boyle mentioned to confirm that they had been in touch with the club on the subject.

Once all of those confirmations were in place I was able to delve into what got us started on this investigation, a petition put online by the Students for Quality Education (SQE) organization on campus. While the fact that a member of the Administration supposedly leaked them this information ahead of time despite the College Republicans not making any formal announcements as they finish the process is another story, for now there was not enough information available to really delve into it.

They hope to put the message out to the school’s President Mildred Garcia and a number of others that they don’t want alt-right speakers like Milo on campus, though as I explain throughout the piece it really isn’t up to the Administration to decide that.

That said, the next big chunk of my piece revolves around how campus organizations and clubs, registered through Student Life and Leadership, can get guest speakers on campus to hold events. It’s an interesting process in that it’s almost entirely up to the club themselves to work out any contracts and agreements with both the speakers and the University, so everyone else essentially acts in advisory roles more than anything else.

With all that said, I end off on a note that the College Republicans feel this kind of speaker has been called for by a large amount of conservative-leaning students on campus, and some of their reasoning is interesting to consider. From here on we simply wait and investigate more, as you know we’ll be looking to get our hands on whatever contract is signed between the College Republicans and Milo to confirm what we understand is the day he will be coming.

If that information does end up panning out in the final agreement, it’ll be a pretty big story in itself. So stay tuned.

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


While this is clearly a moment of self-promotion, as I’ve been chatting about my front page article for this weeklong edition, I also wanted to spend a moment talking about how cool the rest of this paper is from all of our elements put together.

Our new layout editor did a great job re-arranging the banner at the top of the paper this semester to make it look way more clean and pretty. The cut-out teaser next to the paper’s name is also a neat touch, in my opinion.

Our new Illustrator has been killing it so far this semester with an abundance of drawings in just our first two issues alone. This one for Milo Yiannopoulos is pretty spot on, and the way we have it so that the podium looks like it continues all the way down the stack of papers creates a nice effect.

I’ve also got to give some props to Brandon for his article in the Front Page 1 slot next to mine, as it’s a really good little investigative piece that easily could have been Front Page Dominant if it had as potentially appealing an eye-drawing visual or name to accompany it. Unfortunately Milo happens to be one of those figures that sells papers, but the hard work he put in is really great either way.

Between all of this and more, like an opinion piece on NASA post-eclipse and a reflection on the CSUF Massacre in 1976, I’d have to say this issue is one of my favorites that I’ve had the chance to work on in my two semesters (plus two weeks) as an editor for the DT. It’s just a really solid paper.

Plus it’s on the shorter side and didn’t keep us here until 2:00 a.m., which is hopefully a trend we can keep up with once our daily production starts next week.

In fact, I’d recommend checking out our entire issue this week, which you can see on our digital Issuu archive. I’d say it’s definitely worth a read.

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.