Tag: Titan Student Union

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.

IMG_2543
“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.

Makin’ that cash money

Makin’ that cash money

[Now last night because I wrote this rather slowly] I was honored to be invited to the Cal State Fullerton Communications Department Awards, where I received the $1,000 Jay Berman Daily Titan Scholarship.

img_8091

Yeah, that really just about sums it all up. Fastest blog post I’ve ever written.

Good night everybody.

Okay fine, I can’t just leave it at that. But I am pretty tired so I’ll aim to keep it concise.

I took my Mom to Fullerton this afternoon for my 4:00 p.m. class because she was my +1 at the 6:00 p.m. awards.

That’s probably a good place to start, even though I don’t have too much to say about it since I wound up having to go down into the basement of College Park and couldn’t hang out with her.

After getting my full ensemble on in the parking lot, we took arguably the best photo of myself I think I’ve ever seen. It’s the featured image here, but here’s the full shot too:

img_8087-1

Looking good, me. Looking good.

The awards took place in the Titan Student Union Pavilions (just across from the Mammoth fossil in the lobby, which we also got a photo with).

img_8093

Slightly blurry while blown up, but it’s still nice.

The three-hour event actually ran well on schedule all things considered, so it felt like the smoothest awards ceremony I’ve ever been to. The first hour or so was dinner as the large banquet hall filled in.

I’m no Instagram food blogger so I didn’t actually get a photo of the dinner spread. It was nicely catered, though. Chicken, mashed potatoes, bread, salad and three kinds of cake. Nothing too unusual and not necessarily stellar, but it was passable.

The cake was real good though, I’ll give it that much.

All three of the center tables right up by the stage were reserved for Daily Titan staff and guests, so we had a pretty nice view all night and were able to all gather together as the well-dressed clique we were.

img_8096

See? Aren’t we all perdy? Us journalists clean up nice apparently.

As far as the actual awards themselves go, I don’t have too much to say. Obviously I’m not here to summarize two hours worth of accolades that mostly went to people I don’t know.

In terms of the people I do know, I have to give some love to our current Editor in Chief Kyle for grabbing a bunch of recognition for his leadership, our current Managing Editor Sarah for her super high graduating GPA, News Editors Amy and Brandon, Web Editor/Clickbait God Harrison, Advertising Director Niko, my ex-News Editing partner/veteran Megan and, of course, our ex-EIC Zack for being my Berman Award buddy.

img_8097

Hoo boy, that’s a lot of people… Hopefully I didn’t forget anybody from the group up above.

Ah, wait I did forget somebody. Arguably the most important person in relation to our experiences on the Daily Titan:

That’s right, our advisor Bonnie got the love she absolutely deserved tonight. If there’s anyone I could think of that deserves a Distinguished Faculty Member award, it’s undoubtedly her.

img_8095

Don’t we look cute together?

I know I keep bringing up how everyone looks. What can I say, I think we all looked great in our cocktail attire tonight.

The other stand-out thing from tonight tied back to our Emcee, Henry DiCarlo. He’s an anchor for KTLA 5 and a Daily Titan alum who essentially wound up being a glorified raffle machine for the ceremony, handing out prizes a number of times throughout the event to break up all the awards.

It’s going to sound ridiculous without having been there, but he helped Del Taco become a meme.

That’s right, Del Taco. The fast food Mexican joint.

Del Taco was one of the sponsors of the night (with Chief Marketing Officer Barry Westrum in the room) and happened to provide a lot of gift cards to be given away. When the first one was announced, however, Niko made such a huge outcry of excitement that DiCarlo picked up on it and ran with the moment.

From there, every single raffle prize had an aside related to Del Taco in some way or another, and it resonated quite well with the audience.

Extra shout out to Mia for really being that perfect hype man.

Now that, I believe, is all she wrote. Like I started off this post saying, I was honored to get invited to the ceremony, and I’m hopefully looking forward to coming back next year as well!

However, until then I can still look forward to the Society of Professional Journalists award ceremony on Saturday where I am also slated to win something.

Busy weekend.

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.

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!

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.

September 20, 2016 Article Published

This is a few days late, but I’ve had the link to this article up on WordPress for a little while now, so I figure I should still make a post.

For the issue of the Daily Titan published on Tuesday, I wrote an article about the Titan Student Union (TSU) Annual Student Art Show that opened Monday with an artists reception.  At a word count just around 1,000, it’s a real doozy of a story.  However, if you ask me, it’s a good article worthy of that kind of extended word count.

Though a chunk of the story focuses specifically on the reception itself, most of it actually covers things surrounding the show, such as the process of putting it together and the process of purchasing artwork by the Titan Student Center (TSC) Governing Board.  I talked to the TSU Gallery Coordinator and the Chair of the TSC Governing Board to try and get as much info on everything related to the show as possible.

Really, the Governing Board aspect was what made the story especially interesting to me.  Already the event was cool because of how it engages the student body with great art, whether they be artists or not, but then I learned it has a much larger significance.  The annual art show has been held for more than two decades, and each year the pieces are examined by the TSC Art Acquisition committee (now absorbed into the Programs & Services committee).  The best pieces are actually bought out by the Board and then put up all around the school.  There’s student artwork from this particular show up in the TSU, the Student Recreation Center and at the Irvine campus.

I also talked to a couple of CSUF students that had their pieces up in the show as well, giving things an interesting balance of artistic intent, event planning and bureaucratic processes.

While the story was really fun for me to write, it was also a bit of an overwhelming one in combination with other things that were going on at the time.  A thousand word story on top of running the news desk for the Titan is already a struggle, but add in more things to juggle like homework in my four classes this semester… It gets busy pretty fast.  Not that being busy is necessarily bad, as I’m in the camp that being busy is better than being bored, but I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t been a stressful couple of days.

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!

An exciting first day as a News Editor on a college newspaper

If you saw my last post about the article I had published today, you’ll know that the fall 2016 semester has started for me, the first semester that I’m serving as one of the editors for the News page for Cal State Fullerton’s Daily Titan newspaper.

img_3932
My credit as a News Editor in the masthead on page 2 of the Aug. 22 issue of the Daily Titan.

Toward the end of the summer there was a little bit of stress building up at the thought of having new responsibilities on the paper, ones that would make me accountable for not only large amounts of content needing to be created, but also for the grades of students taking Comm 471 (The Daily Titan staff writing capstone class for Communications majors) and, more importantly, for making sure the issues present on campus get addressed.

I probably won’t be writing a long post about every issue we publish considering there’s going to be four issues a week starting in a couple of weeks, but the first deadline night we had was pretty special, so I figured I would ramble a bit and talk about the struggles of putting together a college paper.

This particular issue was special in that it was a week-long issue, so we only had our Sunday production and not our usual Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday productions.  Just because we have a lower workload as a while this week doesn’t mean the deadline was easy, however.

We finished production on this issue at 2 A.M. this morning, the morning of our first day of class for the semester.  The night ran that late – early? – despite the fact that a few of us on the editorial board arrived three hours early to get work done on the paper.  If that doesn’t tell you about what kind of issue it was, I don’t know what else will.

While the work was long and tough, the end result is always sweet to see in print.  Especially when I have friends living on campus who will message me about my name and work being on the front page before I even get up to get ready for school.

img_3931
The front page of the Aug. 22, 2016 issue of the Daily Titan.  Notice how 3/4 of the main stories on the page are News section articles written by me, my co-editor and our assistants.

Now, there were a few overarching problems plaguing our deadline night from the offset that I would argue were the main contributors to the 14-15 hour runtime.  For one thing, we got a little screwed over as far as advertisement space goes.  Normally we get quite a few ads from the Ads department to fill up room on the admittedly large print space for the paper, but we got nearly nothing for this issue.  As a result, it took far longer to figure out how to stretch our content into the space we had, a burden mainly on the Layout desk that clearly seemed to take it’s toll.

img_3933
Pages 2 and 3, the News section for the Aug. 22, 2016 Daily Titan.

We also had a fairly sizable group of “new recruits” that had to learn the ropes of being on the paper, as actually working on the paper is a much different experience than talking about it through orientation.  Finally, there were some technological updates done prior to the semester starting that caused problems with printing pages and opening things on certain computers in the newsroom, extending the wait time for finally sending the final paper to be printed by quite a bit.

While there were overarching problems affecting the paper as a whole, there were also some issues specific to stories in my own section.  First and foremost, the stabbing story that fills the top banner on the front page.  Out of all the exciting ways to start off the semester, two students getting stabbed the morning of the deadline is certainly pretty high up there.  We obviously had to do some last minute coverage on what happened, and even with two reporters working on the story it wasn’t able to be completed until later on in the night thanks to some difficulty with sources and Fraternity politics.

Megan Maxey’s story on the Poverty Simulation for Nursing Students suffered a similar last minute deadline story fate, and my own story about the TSU and Western State College was very, very long, requiring some last minute word cuts even with the extra space we had from a lack of advertisements.  You also may have noticed that I wrote all three of the briefs on the inside edge of page 2, a symptom of a lack of people available to work.  They’re not necessarily hard – just 100 words on a story we’ve found online – but still.

The last big challenge of the stories in the issue was the story Jillian Salas wrote about CSUF President Mildred Garcia’s Convocation Address.  While her work was perfectly fine in its own right, I personally screwed up the coverage a little by forgetting to send a photographer to cover the event.  Without our own photos, we were stuck either having to use courtesy photos (something we don’t use on the front page) or creating a graphic to address the four points of CSUF’s Strategic Plan – a major talking point in the President’s speech.  Obviously we went with the former, but even then trying to fit it onto the page was a bit awkward and we needed a very large photo caption to help fill the space.

Finally, we came to the problem of story headlines.  Now inherently, headlines aren’t such a terrible thing.  They’re quick and meant to describe the content of the story it accompanies in some capacity.  The problem comes when there isn’t a lot of room to write a headline in, making it harder to find the right words to use.  That’s not all either, for stories on the front page that bleed into another page – such as Garcia’s speech and my buildings update – you need to make two headlines that have to be totally different in content.  Add to that a third “deck” subheading that also has to be different than the other two and you wind up struggling to come up with a variety of things to say.

This issue also included a special insert, our New Student Orientation (NSO) guide.

img_3935
The Fall 2016 Daily Titan NSO guide alongside the semester’s first paper.

Why the guide wasn’t passed out during the actual NSO over the summer that we created it for is beyond me, but here it is included along with our first major production for the semester.

While the creation of the guide is admittedly more of a way to sell a lot of ads to kick off the semester, it does have a few articles written by members of the Daily Titan Editorial Board.  More fluff stories than hard news, but technically it was meant to come out well before the semester started, so there was understandably not all that much to cover.

A bit of pride I personally draw from the NSO guide comes from this page, which depicts a map of the places you can park on campus and a few advertisements.

img_3937

Typically we have our Layout editor and his assistants put our page’s structures together, but for the NSO guide the ads department did most of the initial work.  This page, however, was incredibly awkward in how it was first constructed.  There was very little room for the map, and the way our illustrator made the image itself didn’t lend itself to the space we had.  So, while our Layout editor was off doing other things, it was up to someone else to help try and put the page design together.

That someone, if the build-up didn’t make it obvious, was me.  I was able to show off the skills I accumulated through my editorial years on RUHS’s High Tide newspaper by editing the page design so everything could work, and I greatly impressed the Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor as a result.  All and all not a bad thing to do.

If nothing else, probably the best thing I can say about our deadline night last night was that it was a wonderful bonding period.  Now matter how frustrating and drawn out the work tended to become, at least I was suffering with friends who were all going through the same thing.  On top of that, things like lunch/dinner and the inevitable delirium that snuck in once the witching hour came around made for wonderful chances to get to know the people I’m working with better, especially those who are going to be helping out at my desk.  Even though CSUF is a commuter campus, lots of people still like to give me skeptical or disappointed looks when I mention that I’ve been a commuter since day one, having not decided to try the on-campus dorm experience for my undergraduate life.  It’s mostly a monetary concern that led to the decision in the end, but most people cite the lack of connection to other people at school as reason why it was a poor choice.  While I can understand the concern, I’d argue that my early and ongoing level of involvement in school institutions like the Daily Titan really offset them in a big, bad way.  I am involved and making friends, and I probably spend more time on campus than a lot of other people who don’t live there – so who cares if I decide to save a little extra money in the meantime?  Besides, having some extra quiet drive time is nice if you ask me.

However, there is one final thing of note about this particular production that I think is pretty amazing:

img_3938

This semester’s run of the Daily Titan is the 100th volume.  The paper has been around for 50 years and runs two volumes for the fall and spring semesters, thus we’ve reached 100 volumes.  It’s a heck of a milestone for the paper as a whole, for sure… But what stands out about it most for me is that I get to be a part of the hundredth volume.  My (admittedly very long) buildings update story is part of the front page for the first issue of this special milestone.

And that’s pretty amazing to me.


As another slightly unrelated note, one thing I learned from being at the CSUF campus late is that all the Team Instinct players like to take command of the gyms in Pokémon GO when they know nobody will be awake to overturn their rule.

Plus, it’s a really good place to find some real life Pokémon at 2:30 in the morning.  Just saying.

img_3928
Excuse the lousy lighting, there’s a rabbit hidden in the shadows there somewhere.

 

August 22, 2016 Article Published

The fall 2016 semester has officially begun, and therefore my responsibilities as an editor have kicked off as well.  For the very first issue of this semester’s run of the paper, I wrote an article updating some information on two different buildings both on and around campus.

First, the Cal State Fullerton Titan Student Union (TSU) expansion project that began in July 2015 will be completed soon.  While the original advertised plan was that the expansion would be opening in spring 2017 due to El Niño rains and other potential delays, the project is well ahead of schedule and should be finishing up by this September instead.  The official grand opening ceremony is being planned for October 20th, even if the expansion itself is open to the public before then.

Also, we were able to get a sneak peek of the construction thanks to the generosity of Carol McDoniel, the ASI Director of Administrations.  So, if you check out the full story you can see some of the work being done on one of the main staircases within the three floor atrium.

Second, the story addresses the Western State College of Law building that Cal State Fullerton’s Auxiliary Services Corporation (ASC) purchased in 2012.  While space in the paper didn’t facilitate too much coverage of this development, I still get the chance to address what groups are moving into the library part of the campus that came with the purchase, as well as what groups are moving into the four-story building that came with the purchase.

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!