Category: #Personal

An Affair With Another Major: Journalism

An Affair With Another Major: Journalism

In an ongoing series, where I explore other academic majors that peaked my interest at one point or another in my life, this blog post will cover the major called journalism. This blog post was made possible with the help of Jamie Perez and contributions from readers like you, thank you. (Can you imagine in an alternate dimension where like Earth-310 version of Tony Nguyen was actually a journalist instead of this Earth’s Tony pretending to be a journalist? Mind. Blown.)

I barely met Jamie this semester in “Contemporary Leisure Study”, which is just some fancy-swami word for a class based on how our individual selves and we as a society use free time but I digress. When we first had class, our teacher asked us about our majors and Jamie said journalism to then my immediate response was “Hot diggity damn, I need to talk to this chick to see what that major is all about.” This was because I’ve always found journalism mesmerizing and powerful. Journalists have so much influence on this world with the information they give to the people, whether they’re truthful or not (I would like to take this moment and give a disrespectful shout out to all those journalists out there knowingly giving skewed, incomplete, or otherwise completely false information to the public, especially you FOX news, y’all some perplexed, dirty, snakey, self–indulgent douchebag assholes still struggling to completely understand the basic concept of honest journalism. Don’t pardon my French on this one for I knew what I was saying) and in a perfect world we would only have the most responsible and honest journalists but we don’t. They’re kind of like the superheroes and supervillains of this world (not very cool heroes or villains when you think of them in the traditional sense but!… eh, never mind, I got nothing) and I always wanted to be a hero so I had to ask Jamie what it takes to become one.

Just kidding, I didn’t ask her how to be a hero (I’m a anti-hero after all).

So the story goes like this, when I first spoke to Jamie it was due in part to our mutual friend, Darren. I could tell she was an easygoing, mellow, and a confident person from the way she spoke to the fact that she drove Darren home after the first day of class even though at that point in time she barely knew him. So I jumped the gun and asked her for a interview about her major which resulted in a yes. However, I had to wait two weeks before I had the chance to sit down with her since our professor had cancelled classes for two weeks meaning our schedules wouldn’t line up with each other until then. Fast forward two weeks, boom, bang, zing, and our class had ended for the day and we (including Darren) walked over to the pool hall on campus to meet up with some of her friends. Friendly introductions to strangers over, I started the interview.

The conversation went easy enough, I told her about the rules on how I conducted my interviews, “No boring questions like “what inspired you”, “what color do you”, “if you could be a dog or a cat…” you catch my drift, I’ll try to keep the interview cool, casual and not forced upon” and thanks to the interviewee it went exactly as so. First we spoke about our current states of life, how it was going between us two, why I started the blog, how was her weekend, again cool and casual. I found out that she was of a French, Native, Mexican, and Spanish descent. Next, I delved into her major only to realize that I knew little to nothing about the journalism degree offered here at CSULB. CSULB wasn’t just teaching students the fundamentals of hardcore-in-your-face investigative techniques (if at all) or how to write an informative article but it also taught journalism media (not in a complete kind of way, where the student didn’t get to learn all about media). Jamie loved the sub-focus of journalism media where she could be artistic and use Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator to help make news more visually exciting and relatable to the viewer. It’s a much needed talent especially since this generation and no doubt the next generation will be very tech dependent, too easily bored to look at boring layouts, and not to mention moving from day to day without a second thought of what happened yesterday, so the journalism game must keep up with the times (I much prefer my news simple, coming from someone wearing a fedora with a piece of paper reading PRESS stuck in it’s brim, jotting the news on a notepad with a pen but what can you do?). Jamie then told me an insider secret (well, not really a secret I guess if they’re teaching people about it), which is called the inverted pyramid. The Inverted pyramid has tiers of how important and how much information should be at the top of your article and as it decreases to the end with the more fluffier news to fill space. According to Jamie the first two to three paragraphs is all you really need to read if you wanted to get the main news in that specific article, the rest is important, yes, but only necessary as detail and information to further accentuate the news at hand. I decided to test it out, you, the reader, should too. It’s quite extraordinary to just read the first couple of sentences and know the news but is it really knowing the news? Maybe this is why the inverted pyramid isn’t taught to the public, so they would actually read the entire article. As Jamie so neatly said, “modern journalism is a two way street” in which the journalist job is to get you the truth and the facts but it’s up to the public to have the curiosity to read and make sure they’re fully informed. Or the worst will happen and we’ll end up getting articles that are three sentences long like this,  “Apple Inc. is taking people’s souls. Apple Inc. announced they do not care about public backlash. To avoid this from happening, do not sign Apple Inc. contracts.”  See, you get all the news but you don’t get the “why” and the “how” of the news.

As we continued to speak, I disclose to her that in a way, she and a pen pal of mine (also a journalism major) influenced me to start this blog because journalism was always an interest of mine but it one of those things that gets pushed all the way to the back, right into the corner nook of my brain that until when someone reminds me of it, it likes to just nags at me until I do something about it (it’s exactly like that one time when I was watching a commercial about Toaster Strudels, you know that commercial that says Warm…Flaky…Gooey…Toaster Strudel, now with more icing, because damn right we need more icing. Anyways, yeah, I totally ate Toaster Strudels that same day because of that commercial). Jamie said that it was amazing that I said she was an inspiration, and she was being very humble (no sarcasm) when she told me she had had others tell her the same thing. So the topic then turns to inspiration and how we as people inspires others. It’s an amazing effect that we have on each other, to inspire the people around us to do great things without knowing it and at the same time it can produce awful, awful results. But of course, I would be the one to bring up that point during our conversation, the sometimes awfulness of us human beings just like how when the news lies about the weather for the next day and I can’t trust any of my local meteorologist anymore. Just then, Jamie proposed an idea, that everyone should be a journalist, not in the traditional sense (fedora and all) but to be a journalist that collects news, watches out for their community, and to be a positive but most importantly an active voice in their own society which might just influence our society. To that I say, what an idea, what a wonderful idea.

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Purpose and Intent

Purpose and Intent

Dear reader, first off the bat I wanted to take a moment to thank you, the reader. To be honest, I didn’t know people would actually even read my blog (even though I’ve been running around this week like a madman telling everyone about it) and actually enjoy it. You guys have been great with the compliments and constructive feedback that will make this blog even better for me and you. This entry however is not only a thank you to you but it will also serve as my mission statement since many of you guys have asked “What is the blog for? Why did you start the blog?”. Simply put, the idea was to make a blog that was fun and entertaining for myself. A way to collect and record all the sorts of thoughts and experiences that happens in my life. But, and this is a big but (ha, big but), it felt like it was missing something, an angle, a hook, a focus that would make me happy to write about and make any reader that stumbles upon this blog site by purpose or mistake to be happy also. Something they can come back to ever so often.

The focus for this blog are about storytelling, human interaction, and I know how strange this is going to show but I really want you, the reader, to know about the people I know. Let me explain that last focus first because it’s so strange. There in the back of my head was always this question that started from this concept that I was so blessed to know the people I knew in life but the question is why? This question has open-ended answers and can be approached in so many different ways that I might never know the scientific answer but I do know the spiritual one: fate. So dear reader, I would like to mimic fate and let you meet people  If they were so gracious with sharing their time with me for just even a moment or even years of their lives, I wanted you to know who these people were and how life made them them.

This crazy concept then led to a self-study of human interaction and how it’s an amazingly strange thing we do as a society yet we do it so naturally and effortlessly at times. I find myself analyzing these specific questions in my head as a I talk to a friend or an acquaintance, “What led me to know you? What is our history together? We used to be strangers but now we’re friends and know of each other’s existence all due to information we’re willing to give to each other during our interactions. It’s just so damn amazing if you think about it.” Sorry those last two were not questions but a realization of how human interaction thrives on storytelling.

If you know me, and know me well, you know that I love stories and the aspect of storytelling. So much so that if you meet me by the art buildings, you’ll see me by a campfire with a pot of beans cooking over it and with my cactus named Spike Jones serving as protection from dangerous cow-eating-wolves. You’ll witness me telling stories to the local artists on the extraordinary adventures of two local detectives. (Sadly, all of that was made up but you get my point.)  We tell each other stories every single day, some are truths, some are lies, some are better than others, sure but we all do it. Matter of fact, we read it, we watch it, we listen to it, an art form that can only evolve with time yet will always be heard the same, with purpose and intent.

Finally, to all those eagle-eyed readers and comprehenders, you’ll notice a fourth hook I’ve included. You guys get a cookie (does not involve actually cookie).

Damn Universe! You’s tricky.

Damn Universe! You’s tricky.

[Bonus points if you know where this picture is from]

Today has been an extremely tiring day due to the heat and lack of sleep but I wanted to end today on a higher note, a brighter one if you would have it. So the story goes like this, I usually carpool with a buddy of mine, let’s call him Jimmy Dean because hell, we always carpool in the morning and Jimmy Dean is all about that breakfast menu, boom perfect fake name. (Fun fact: Jimmy Dean was a singer that own a food company named after himself.) As for the fake name,(spoilers) you’ll see why I chose to use one in the next sentence.

Today is Monday which meant that Jimmy Dean had class at 9, not only that but Jimmy Dean likes to get to class early so he sit next to a girl he’s interested. (Ohh la la la and this is why a fake name must be used to save the identity of a friend. You can never be too careful.) To make his plan work he needed to get to my place from 8:10-8:15 so there would be enough time to drive, park, and power walk to this special class of his. Now this is where things gets bad for Jimmy Dean for he had notice that his hair was unwieldy when he woke, in his words “a hot mess”. At 8:22 he finally arrives to my house, the first thing I asked him while I hopped into the car was, “What happened to 8:10-8:15?” So he tells me the story about his hair, he had to get it just right if he was seeing this girl today. But the irony behind his action is that if he took all that time to fix his hair for her but came late anyways to lose his chance to sit next to her, then what was the point? Of course I took the chance to rub the irony in his face but he shrugged off my comment because at that point we still believed he would make it to school on time. Jimmy Dean is looking for love dammit and he’s going to get it!

Now this is where the story goes from bad to worst. As we headed for the freeway, Jimmy Dean let out a “Oh my god, why?”, the entrance was full of traffic. When we were on the freeway he vocalized that the Universe was against him because surprise, traffic. When finally exited on Palo Verdes, you guessed it, traffic but this time his voice when two octave higher with a, “What? Why? This… argh, the Universe is against me!” By the time we arrived to school it was already pass 9:00 o’clock and class had started.

As his co-pilot for that entire ride, I reassured him that there is always a bright side to everything and maybe just maybe in some crazy way the Universe was not against him at all but the opposite. It was helping him sit next to the girl. And dear reader, I can gladly say that I was right but the Universe decided to up the ante on this little event for my friend. Not only did the lucky bastard get the seat next to her although late but he also got her number at the end of class. Well played Universe, well played.

Moral of the story (I can only assume that there is one): If you have a bad morning, the Universe doesn’t necessarily give you a bad day also, so chin up and live the day fully.

First post to my first blog

First post to my first blog

Alrighty, if you’re reading this then that means you saw my Facebook post about this site or you actually scrolled far enough to the beginning to see the first post ever. Anyways the main reason for starting this post is because there is this Professor at Cal State Long Beach, I won’t divulge his name but he teaches his students the art scene by making them make a blog about artists at school. Note, I never took this guy’s class but I thought it strange for me to not have a site and a blog of my own. The requirements for having a blog are already fulfilled by my personality, first be very opinionated which I am to a certain extend. And second, have the willingness to write about it and share with others. Bing-bam-boom and that is why I started this blog. Now to only see if people are willing to read about my thoughts lol.