Reflection: Final Project

27 Nov

It is insane how fast this semester has gone, and of course this has by far been my favorite project so far.

I knew I wanted to do a story on my friend Crim Nguyen. We actually just met recently at one of his band’s shows and I enjoyed their music and asked to do a story on him. My interview with him was at first, very formal. I liked how it started off formal, but eventually, it became more of a conversation, and we went in depth with a lot of the reasons why he wanted to pursue a career in music. Once we got to this point in the interview, it was difficult for me to stay professional, because he told me about how his father died, and how not even a year earlier, his Mother had a stroke and is now disabled. His life situation really touched me, and I couldn’t help but get emotional. It was inspiring how all of these hardships in his life still pushes him even harder to get to where he wants to be with music.

Interviewing fans was also fun, because i’m a fan as well, and I got to connect and even relate to some of their reasons why they love Koruscant Weekend. Unfortunately, my story is from Crim’s perspective and not the entire bands…but I think I might add some of their insights as well to my final story.

I created an iMovie, using one of their songs to set the mood in the background. I think all of it went really well together. Telling his story was an honor, and I feel like I told it as best as I could, from his perspective. Writing the story was difficult for me, because I feel that there is a difference between reading things, and seeing things, if that makes sense. You have to really capture your readers, and I think I’ll be editing this story nonstop until its perfect.

This class has been so much fun, and i’ve really learned a lot. I think tech wise, I am a lot better with using the standard applications such as iMovie, Photoshop, and Garage Band…which I never really knew how to use before. I think my favorite part was seeing how everyone’s stories came together, and i’m looking forward to next Tuesday to see everyone’s final projects 🙂

 

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Koruscant Weekend’s Crim Nguyen on how music has changed him

20 Nov

Troubled experiences often produce artists, with music being their voice and creative outlet for their demons. However, Crim Nguyen, a 21-year-old guitarist for Bay Area band Koruscant Weekend, has decided to use that negative energy as the driving force of inspiration behind his art.

Crim Nguyen, whose real name is David, nervously sat in his bed during our interview. His room was the epitome of a nerd’s cave. Super hero action figures, The Walking Dead comic books, and his electric guitars surrounded his room. He talked about the first moment music became such a big part of his life. When he was four years old, his father, who passed away from a heart attack in 2010, played one of the first songs he’s ever heard, “Help!” by The Beatles. Since then, music has become the love of his life.

Nguyen, and friend Ryan Finney, started Koruscant Weekend in early 2012 in the hopes of making catchy indie-pop. The lineup was completed with the addition of Josh, the bassist, and Justin Scord, vocalist and keyboardist. After just four months, the band wrote and recorded an album entitled Wives’ Tales, which consists of ten catchy, indie-pop tracks.

“ I wanted that lifestyle of touring and being able to see all the nice things around the world,” said Nguyen. “I wanted to play music for people and make a difference.”

Getting there hasn’t, and won’t be easy for Crim. In 2009, his mother suffered from a stroke and is disabled. A year later, his father passed away from a heart attack, leaving Nguyen responsible for his sister who was only 9 at the time.

Nguyen said that he is also pursuing music in inspiration of his little sister.

“ I want to get out there, and give her the life she couldn’t have because she lost both of her parents,” he said. “ My step mom, her mother, died when she was four. I just want to give her a role model, someone to look up to. I’m the only tie that she has to her dad and her mom.”

Currently, Crim resides in Cupertino, California and is living with his friend and his family. He explained that after his father died, he didn’t have much of a bright future ahead of him, and became very depressed.

“ I got drunk every day, was doing drugs…I lost a lot of friends. Eventually I just snapped myself out of it, got my shit together, and starting this band has really helped,” he said. “ I didn’t know how to really express myself, and music has given that to me.”

He explained that his life right now is solely focused on Koruscant Weekend. They just booked their End of the World tour, which will take place all up and down the West Coast.

“ We don’t want to put on local shows anymore. We want to give an actual environment for people. We’re just a whole bunch of nerds, and hopefully we can just bank on that,” he said.

Alanna Williamson, a fan of Koruscant Weekend, said that she won’t be surprised if they become more famous. “ I love their songs. I listen to them everyday…walking to class, at the gym,” she said.

“ My favorite song on their album is BMA, because its not only catchy, but relatable. I think that is what makes a band talented. To be able to speak to their listeners.”

Jonrey Domingo, another fan of Koruscant Weekend, also agrees with Williamson that there is hope for this band to go big and get somewhere.

“ A lot of their songs are pretty upbeat and melodic,” he said. “ Note the lead singer, Justin Scord, includes many of his talents during their live shows by playing keyboard, using synth, the harmonica, and adding drum parts in some of their songs.”

Crim expressed how thankful he is to be where he is now with Koruscant Weekend, and have such a supportive group of fans. When asked if his father would be proud of him, he said that he would be a little skeptical with the lifestyle of a musician.

“ But, in a sense I feel like he might be proud of me. But I feel like that only way that’s going to happen is that if I get out there in a big enough market,” he said.

“ Creating music, I’ve learned, that you have to choose your battles. There is four other guys in my band, and we all have different opinions,” he said. “ You learn to compromise.”

“ Writing music though, it has changed me in every way. I’ve learned to let go, and be more open minded towards things…not just with my life situation, but with my band, and with music,” he said.

Crim said that he is hopeful that Koruscant Weekend will get out to a bigger platform, but is prepared for the latter.

“ With a band it’s kind of like a relationship, anything can happen. But I know where I want to be, and that is in a band that I’m on tour for the rest of my life.”

A sneek preview to what will be on their next album. Love, by Koruscant Weekend.

Project 3: Reflection

8 Nov

For my most recent project in digital journalism, I was assigned to cover the 2012 Election and relate it to the university. Although I did learn a lot by researching and speaking with some students about the election, I feel this story was my weakest. This is due to producing a last minute story, which is NEVER recommended. I wish I had more time, but the more I dive myself into a journalism world, time is not something you get much of.

No matter how planned or how last minute, you always learn something. All of my interviews were with students, which I think is great. However, I think my story would have been stronger if I spoke with a politics professor or a faculty member that put together the many events held on campus for the election. All my interviews brought a different perspective to my story.

I decided to do something different than iMovie andI used Storify instead. Storify is very interesting and even fun, because you can format your story however you want. I like how I could use twitter and instagram as part of my Storify. At first I was intimidated by it, but I eventually learned how to format everything together. I have never used Storify before, or even heard of it.

I think, although this was my least favorite story out of the ones I have done in the past, it has prepared me for my final story. I know exactly what I want out of my story, and the necessary steps I need to do in order to get there. I definitely don’t want to feel this way about my final project, and be more satisfied with my work. 

 

Why Aren’t We Voting?

3 Nov

With the 2012 election coming shortly around the corner, the University of San Francisco has urged their students to vote and make a difference.  Some students are eager to exercise their rights by voting, however, that isn’t the case for all.

According to Megan Federspeil, senior Communications major at USF, said that she isn’t voting because she feels she isn’t informed enough.

“ I know they have stuff around school and the city that you can go to and watch debates, but I feel like when you go to those things and you aren’t already educated, you don’t really want to speak up since you don’t know anything,” she said.

According an article by Policy Mic, a democratic online news website, Megan’s reasoning is probably the most common amongst why young college students are not voting. Young adults have strayed away from involving themselves in the 2012 election because they are not informed enough on the policies, propositions, and candidates.

 

Kathleen De Lara, Communications Major and News Editor of the Foghorn, said that she is voting because she wants to exercise that right. “ I think that the education students need in order to feel like their vote matters is available to them on campus,” she said.

“ Students don’t turn on the TV for the news to educate themselves, it’s what is here on campus. I get e-mails from USF news about “rockin the vote” and they promoted a lot of the viewing parties which is great, because after the debates they have a discussion with politics professors.” she said. “ Making that dialogue available to students is a good resource for students to learn more.”

There are other students at USF that are choosing not to vote for reasons other than a lack of knowledge towards the candidates. Nick White, a American History Major at USF, said that he is not voting because he is disappointed with Obama’s defense of liberal ideals and values.

“ Though I vastly prefer him to any Republican or third-party candidate, voting to spite the opponent is not what democracy should be, in my opinion,” said White.

White said that he has had harsh criticism from his colleagues at USF for not voting.

“ Others might simply be uninformed or uninterested, but I’m angered by the fascistic insistence of those who demand that everyone must vote,” said White.

“ I was lectured for 10 minutes by a random lady in the Café when I told her I wasn’t going to vote, and the routine response of many to such a declaration is you can’t have an opinion if you don’t vote. The right to not participate is as vital as the right to participate, if only as a means of protest.”

Some believe that voting is an essential part of being in a democracy. If you don’t vote, how are you exercising your right? However, David Boyle also believes that choosing not to vote counts as a vote as well.

“ Voting is not about whether or not it counts but instead the idea that we are casting our choice for the future with other individuals, one of the few times our society acts as a community, said Boyle.

So although there are the nonvoters that simply feel that they don’t have enough information on the upcoming election to vote, there are others students that are well educated enough to acknowledge that not voting also makes a difference.

“Every vote counts”, some may say. However, for White and Boyle, every non-vote counts as well.

For more information on how you can get more educated on voting visit http://foghorn.usfca.edu/ or http://rockthevote.com.

 

 

Aside

Reflection: Project 2

21 Oct

For my Digital Journalism class, I was assigned to do a story on the Proposition B and Soccer Field Beach Chalet issue. In San Francisco, the community is so diverse and really not afraid to speak what is in their mind and stand up for what they believe is right. I learned so much about my community, and not only from me being involved in this project, but also discussing it with my colleagues and professor.

I always love reporting and interviewing. I’ve done a lot of stories like this, where there is an issue and I cover all sides of it without including my own opinion. I had no idea this issue even existed until I learned about it from my professor and did my own kinds of research. However, I did feel that this project was a lot less more creative. It was a very investigative piece.

Interviewing is ALWAYS difficult in writing an article and gathering a story, especially when you are trying to secure an interview with someone who is “famous” or has a time consuming job. I could not get a hold of Parks & Rec, which I found frustrating because I constantly e-mailed and called them. When I first started interviewing, I was always so hesitant on being pushy and didn’t want to come off as an annoying reporter. But after time, I realized that you have to be annoying to some point. There is a difference between harassment and just being assertive. The people I talked to were very open and helpful. No one hesitated on interviewing with me. At first, I didn’t have any feelings towards this renovation of the soccer fields, but after talking to people and seeing all the different sides there are to this issue, the story began to grow on me.

Writing my article took a lot of patience. I always have a tough time at the beginning, but now I just word vomit onto my laptop and write as much gibberish and information I can. Then, I piece everything together and edit edit edit edit and EDIT. Editing is the worst. You can never turn in your first piece. I think I edited my story about four times before I finally said, ” Ok, time to have someone else edit it.” I had my journalism friend from Australia take a look at it. It was helpful to get a second opinion on my story.

Re-writing my article to a radio story took some time. It was difficult deciding what parts were more important than others, or what was absolutely necessary to keep. Radio stories are a lot different than just article stories. It has to be shorter, and a lot less “wordier”. Since people aren’t using their eyes, and using their ears, it is tough imagining someone hearing my story. I have not recorded my story yet, but I’m confident that the podcast will flow smoothly and catch the interests of listeners. I’m a little nervous about my photos, but it is nice that I am permitted to use other colleagues photographs they took.

Overall, my experience was very interesting and I learned a lot that I didn’t have any knowledge about whatsoever from the beginning. Because this class is about digital journalism, it adds an extra edge to our stories. Technology is really taking over the world. Reporters out there have to be creative with their stories, in all kinds of ways possible. I’m glad that I’m getting more knowledge on tech-related stuff such as making podcasts, iMovie, and editing photographs for this story, and all the other stories we have yet to produce in class.

Proposition B: Does Rec and Parks really need it?

11 Oct

A plan to redevelop Coit Tower and install a soccer field in Golden Gate park has sparked controversy among environmentally friendly San Franciscans.

Proposition B as it is known has come under fire from Aaron Peskin, former president of the Board of Supervisors, the San Francisco Tenants Union (SFTU) and the Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council (HANC).

The plan would see the city spend more than $600,000 annually to repair the murals and maintain the structure of San Francisco landmark and tourist attraction Coit Tower.

But it is a proposed renovation to soccer fields on the West End of Golden Gate Park that has proved more controversial. Under Prop B, seven acres of artificial turf and 150,000 watts of light will shine every night of the year until 10 p.m.

The renovation is a joint initiative between the Recreation and Park Department and the non-profit City Fields Foundation that will cost $13.2 million. It is the overlap between public and private sector investment that has many up in arms with SFTU Manager Ted Gullicksen saying public parks should be for the public.

“Privatization of the parks and using them as fundraising for private parties and that sort of stuff is a huge concern,” said Gullicksen.

HANC Director Michel Welch agreed but said her organization also opposed the construction of a soccer complex in Golden Gate Park for its impact on the environment.

“It is simply an opportunity for the current Rec and Park administration to further its goal of commercializing our parks,” Welch said. “The western end of Golden Gate Park is supposed to be “wild and natural” as set forth in the Master Plan. Artificial turf and stadium lights do not qualify in this case.”

“The Sierra Club and Audubon Society have also worked to defeat the use of artificial turf and stadium lights,” she said.

Former District Three Supervisor and President of the Board of Supervisors Aaron Peskin have been campaigning against the huge sum of money earmarked for the project.

“It is among a litany of things that show Rec and Park are not listening to neighbors and voters,” Peskin said.

“Rec and Parks have not spent approximately half of the $185 million from 2008.”

That $185 million was set aside to allowed Rec and Parks to renovate nine city parks.

But for all the political talk, it remains unclear exactly where local residents stand on the development with many finding themselves more opposed to the lights than the environmental impact or public/private overlap.

Local resident and University of San Francisco (USF) student Marisela Castaneda said she prefers the synthetic turf, but not the lights.  “I think if they want to convert the field to turf, that’s fine but I think they don’t need lights to improve the field,” Castaneda said.

“If they want to improve the field, the lights are a different component.”

Another local resident and USF student, Vincente Patino said he used to play at the Beach Chalet Fields when he was a child.

A previous field he used to play on in Crocker Amazon Playing in South San Francisco has been renovated with synthetic turf and lights across a very large area.

“I was nostalgic for the old grass fields, but it was actually really good when we went to play on it,” Patino said.

“I had no complaints except that when you fell it hurt a little more, but the facilities were nice and clean to play on.”

Patino does not support the development because of his nostalgia for the old grass fields, but says he has never seen them properly maintained.

He also understands there are concerns about covering such a large area in plastic.

“One of the concerns is that they think it’s going to get really hot and not absorb the heat and natural grass because it’s just plastic, “ he said. “If the sun gets hot and melts the plastic, it gets admitted in the air.”

“Another concern is the flood lights, the big lights that will shine on field, and that could create a pollution as well.”

“I don’t think the disastrous effects that would come with turf grass are all that bad, but I think the flood lighting might be a problem just for the folks who live around it.”

The San Francisco Chronicle reported $195 million will be given to the city’s parks, with $9 million being set aside for Golden Gate Park and $12 million going to community nominated projects.