Thursday, November 5, 2009

Did You Vote on Tuesday…Me Neither

That’s right. It was Election Day on Nov. 3. Yeah…I didn’t know what to vote for either.

Things that happened on Nov. 4, 2008-- the U.S. presidential election-- included thousands of people gathering around a park, people sitting on their couches glued to their TV waiting to see the first poll results and others checking their iPhone every five minutes for any news.

It was nothing like that on Tuesday. Nobody really cared that there were local elections going on. It was simply a normal Tuesday for most people.

Why is it that we get so hyped up when it’s the US presidential election? Well, I guess its because people care more about who leads this country. Maybe its because there was a lack of advertisement on who was running for what and what Propositions were on the ballot. Or its just maybe because we were so excited last year, that we used up all of our energy in that election and we were just too worn out to do anything this year.

I think all major elections (Governor, US Senate, State Senate, ect…) should happen at the same time. And not have one part of the country have elections one year and the other part in another year.

That would be cool, that way we can at least see and maybe learn something about another governor rather than just our own. And it would give a chance for citizens to come together, like it was last year.

People always say its important to vote and have your voices be heard, but does that only mean when it comes to voting for a new governor, US Senator, and president? Or when an important Proposition comes up? What do you think?

Here are the results (and what was on the ballot) for the San Francisco area, if you’re curious.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Television vs Real Life

I love watching TV shows. I think they are so much fun to watch because, like movies, they take you away from your current situation. But recently some shows have been using some real events and applying it to the show’s storylines. Grey’s Anatomy’s storyline right now has to let people go and merge two hospitals because of the recession. In Ugly Betty, Mode Magazine had to get some help because they were not making enough money.

And so I though it would be interesting to see what people have to say about television shows and if they really show what people go through in real life. Shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, and Ugly Betty are trying to show what goes on in everyday life and how people handle the situations.

Today, I received help from a group of girls from a high school in Oakland (look above picture on the left): Claudia Alvarez (L); Gabriela Pena (C); and Yasmin Briceno (R).
It was my responsibility to show them around campus and give them a few tips on how to interview people. They were a little shy to talk to people, but I think they did a nice job in the 15-20 minutes we had to get quotes.

Here is the question we asked and the responses the girls got.

Do television shows portray what real people go through and do people tend to go for looks over talent?

Rachel Buddeberg, a grad student and philosophy major:
“In television they care more about the beauty. I would say that in the movies they don’t really care because to make a good movie they go for talent.”

Anteo Quiroz, a postback (meaning he is getting another undergraduate degree) in biology
"Some shows like HBO and Showtime are more realistic than ABC and Fox... And they do choose beauty over talent to a certain extent.”

Bussola Oluwole, 23, postback biology

“ The real world is all scripted and that I think that the doctors in Grey’s Anatomy don’t act like the doctors would in the real world.”

Alejandro Pulido, 18, freshman, philosophy major

“Character conflicts might be real and other stuff are exaggerated. People are more attracted to appearance, that’s the difference between books and television."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Good magazine gone...gone

What makes a good magazine? Better yet, what makes a good magazine to continue? Let’s see…

Rolling Stone: Music, politics, popular cultures, and of course, it’s a legendary magazine. It’s a popular magazine since a lot of contemporary artists and actors appear on the cover.

Entertainment Weekly: Behind the scene look of upcoming films. A magazine that gives readers sneak peaks about anticipated films…yeah its not going anywhere.

Vogue: Articles on current fashions. It’s a very popular magazine as it gives fashion tips and keeps readers up to date on what is new in fashion.

Playboy: Naked pictures of women--- Enough said.

Ramparts Magazine was one of those magazines that were considered one of its best during its time. Yet it wasn’t good enough to continue, but I wonder why. It was what people called a “radical magazine,” because, from everything I read, it changed the way of how reporting should be done and it was quite popular with Bay Area readers.

Ramparts also did stories on the Vietnam War and, as it was a left-wing magazine, they did stories that were against it. Oh and the magazine apparently also made the Black Panthers famous.

We don’t have lot of left-wing magazines in the Bay Area, I wonder why… We are a liberal area, in some way.

But at the time, it was important to Bay Area residents because it was the political magazine for the Bay Area. It was “the magazine to read” in the Bay Area as far as politic news was concerned. I don’t think the Bay Area has a lot of political magazines, not like the New Republic or the Time.

So why is the magazine not here today? I never did find out why it folded. Not enough money, probably. Or perhaps all the good writers went on to something different. In fact, a few of them went on to create Rolling Stone Magazine. Not bad…

But I just noticed something, the magazines I listed above, for the most part they are all entertainment magazines. So entertainment triumphs politics?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Using The Word "I"

“No Story is ever finished”

So what the about the phrase “happily ever after?

That was my first remark when freelance writer Mark Follman said about how stories are never finished. I guess fairy tales don’t count, but now that I think about it, Mark may have a point. After all, they don’t call them sequels for nothing. But, in news terms, a story is quite simply never done. There are always follow-up stories or other angles to a story. Stories, whether in news or in films, go on and on either in continuation or different ways. Like the “Rocky” and “James Bond” films.

Some other things Mark said when he visited my journalism class this past week included:

“Best stories I’ve read don’t have to use the word ‘I.’”

When I read opinion stories, it amazes me how a writer can write so well, without having to use the word “I.” It is a challenge, but it works. I remember writing for the [X]press last semester, and when I wrote for the opinion section, it would usually take me about an hour or so to write something. This is of course, with little research and reporting. Now at the [X]press, writers can no longer use the word “I,” and a lot of amount of research and reporting is required.

“You have a big choice to make when you put your own voice.”

You think it would be the easiest thing to write an opinion piece, as noted in the above paragraph. Just simply writing your opinion about something and occasionally saying “I believe…” or “I think…,” isn’t really good enough. Come to think of it, it does get kind of repetitive. When I was thinking about it, I think that by using “I,” it makes it more personal to the readers. It’s like writing in a diary, but everyone gets to read it. Whereas, when you don’t use “I” and instead you use the scene settings and other dialogues, it makes it more realistic and convincing. And quite frankly, it makes it more professional.

FYI: I used the word "I" 7 times.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lessons fron John

I have never been interested in reading op-ed pieces before. I don’t know why, but I just never took the time to read what some people are saying about things. Then I took the Opinion writing class and I realized how fun writing an opinion piece can be. I am currently struggling a little bit, but hopefully in time I will be able to write as good as the guest speaker that came to the class to speak.

Before SF Gate columnist editor John Diaz came to my journalism class to discuss his experiences, I read some of his op-ed pieces and I have to say, he makes it look so easy. My favorite was the one called “Worst dog in the world? Move over, Marely.” In his piece, he wrote about his experiences with his dog while tying it to the movie “Marley & Me.” I thought it was a nice different piece compared to the other ones I read. His other ones were opinions on hard news events.

In fact, that is the type of op-ed writing I like to do because it makes it personal and people can relate to it.

Here are the top 5 things I learned from John:

1) Don’t write about personal consumer issues otherwise the company will give you something in compensation. And that is not exactly helping others and you’re just being selfish.

2) Write about something that can reach a wider audience and not just a certain type.

3) Even though its an opinion piece, you still need to research and do reporting.

4) Your writing should have a voice; the words should reflect your voice/feelings.

5) Just because a story has been done before, doesn’t mean you can’t take a different angle to it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Pets

When I was little, I had canaries. I always wanted a puppy or kitten, but my parents didn't think I could handle a puppy or kitten. I tried to prove them by "practicing" with my dog toy.

For awhile, my family and I didn't own canaries. Just two years ago, we got two guinea pigs. One was white named Snowball and the other is a black and white name Flower. But Snowball died suddenly a few weeks back.

My father always loved canaries, so it was not really a surprise when my father brought two canaries home and my little sister named them Bella and Edward (yup, after Twilight). I asked why he liked canaries so much and he told me its because they always brought good luck to the family. With times like these, I hope they do...

Check out my pets!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Flower From Home

Roses are known as the romantic flowers. They also happen to be my favorite flowers. I especially like roses that have mixed colors blend in together. There is just something about these flowers that make me smile when I see them.

My sister took this picture on my 21st birthday. Whenever a big event is coming up in my family, my father always goes out to the garden and picks the flowers. He loves to garden: pick flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Our garden is filled with these things.

Our flowers are mostly roses of different color; some are the same and others are mixed. The smell of them are the same ones at the store, only these flowers are for free. It always makes me feel good whenever I see these roses on the kitchen counter.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Grad School

When I was in high school, I didn't want to go to grad school. I thought that once I get my undergraduate degree, I'll be done with school forever. But then the recession happened and I began to really think about my future. I spoke to many of my friends and only two or three are planning to go to grad school. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with not going, I mean grad school is not cheap. But trying to find a job under these circumstances is hard. So what do you do? I'm sure like everyone else, we are Googling "how to find a job in a recession?" or "how to have your resume stand out?" Yahoo! and MSNBC have articles on such things and even one where it talks about cities that employment is needed.

But going back to grad school....

I'm planning on graduating this year and I'm looking into grad school for next year. I was thinking about waiting a year, but I'm afraid I might get lazy and not want to go back to school. I've been in the school mode since kindergarden, might as well go for it for another year or two. So I've picked a few schools I'm interested in and it honestly feels like high school senior year over again. I need to do the applications, get transcripts, recommendations, and for some schools take the GRE (the SATs for grad school).

On top of that, I need to pass the classes in order to graduate, and at the same time be an editor for my school's newspaper.

So much to do, so little time...