Day 9 – Are we all just mad here?

Matt Pinkney battles against the deadline as he rushes to finish his first story. // Photo by Brian Nguyen

Matt Pinkney battles against the deadline as he rushes to finish his first story. // Photo by Brian Nguyen

By Matt Pinkney, Mosaic Staff Writer

As deadline approaches, it’s natural to switch between thinking “Oh God, how am I going to finish on time?” and “So, what’s next?”  At school, this means thinking about what my story for the next issue.

At Mosaic, though, there is no next issue.  After we go to print, that’s it.  Done.  Goodbye San Jose State, goodbye newsroom, welcome back to a regular summer.  So my “what’s next?” has to be taken up by larger things.

I want to be a writer.  It’s something I enjoy doing and it’s something I’ve wanted to do since middle school.  But writing is one of those skills with a lot of applications.  What can you use writing for?  More accurately, what can’t you use it for?  If I want to write for a living, there’s a million different ways to do that.

But I think when I say “I want to write,” most people know what I mean.  I want my job to be writing.  In an English-y sort of way.

Fiction is one way to do that.  And it does have a certain glamour attached to it, if only for nerdy, book-loving kids like me.  And I’ve taken steps to make that happen.  My first novel, Birth by Flame, is going to be published this fall.  It’s an exciting prospect.  But, most professional authors have a certain quality about them.  A certain “I’m already financially stable” quality that I don’t.

Journalism is another way to write for a living.  And it seems more economically viable!  Yet I’m still in that gray area of not knowing what I want to do.  Call it teenage angst or indecision or shake your walking stick at “them gosh-darn millennials,” but I’m still just a kid, really.

This article doesn’t make things any easier for me.  It lists the ten careers with the highest concentration of people with psychopathic tendencies.  And journalist is sitting comfortably at number 6 on that list.

At first, I was a little shocked.  The professional journalists I’ve met and worked with certainly don’t seem like psychopaths.  So I did a little digging as to what “psychopathic tendencies” really are.

One study lists three main symptoms of psychopathy that can be observed to varying degrees.  These are boldness, disinhibition and meanness.

Boldness is definitely something journalists have in abundance.  How many times have I been told to get out there, get that story, dig deeper, be curious?  I ask because I’ve lost track myself.

Disinhibition is a trickier thing to grasp.  It’s described as “poor impulse control” among other things.  I can’t see that as a specific trait in the journalists I know, but I guess it can happen.

Now, meanness.  It’s not really what you might think.  It’s not being actively malicious; it’s more having a lack of empathy.  And…I can see that in a lot of journalists.  We have empathy and form close attachments with each other.  At Mosaic, we were all friends within a few minutes of meeting each other.  But, we can’t really have empathy towards our stories.  You have to report the objective truth and you might have to deal with extremely emotional situations.  And you have to do all of this while remaining neutral.  Eventually, I think you just get desensitized.

So, maybe it’s not a matter of psychopaths being drawn to journalism.  Maybe it’s a matter of journalism producing psychopaths.

But, then again, maybe everyone in this newsroom is just waiting to crack.  Whatever the case, I don’t think I’ll be sticking around in this profession long enough to find out.

Or maybe I will!  It’s fun and exciting and the people here are all genuinely great people I want to be great friends with.  Does this mean they aren’t psychopaths?  Or are we all just mad here?


Day 8 – Here at Mosaic, our only drug is breaking news

Alam Skandar, 39, descended from the 90 ft crane at around 10:30 a.m. after a 14-hour standoff with the SJPD. (Photo by Steven Barajas, Mosaic Staff Photographer)

Alam Skandar, 39, descended from the 90 ft crane at around 10:30 a.m. after a 14-hour standoff with the SJPD. // Photo by Steven Barajas, Mosaic Staff Photographer

By Matt Pinkney, Mosaic Staff Writer

I think I’ve finally come down from my buzz.  Don’t worry.  Mosaic isn’t some sketchy organization letting kids get strange drugs from weird people in downtown San Jose.

No, here at Mosaic, our only drug is breaking news.  And I got my first taste today.

I had just rolled out of bed about ten minutes earlier when I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize.  I picked up the phone.  It turned out to be Robert, one of our editors.  He told me to find a photographer and get over to City Hall as soon as we could.  It was kind of hard to make him out (dorms don’t have the best reception), but I could gather something about a guy in a high place by City Hall and that I needed to be there now.  I threw on some clothes and David and I rushed over to the corner of 6th and Santa Clara as fast as we could.

When we got there, there were camera crews and reporters from all the local stations.  Video cameras were pointed into the sky, a few reporters talked with colleagues and photographers moved along the corner trying to get pictures.

One of our editors, Karl, introduced us to some of his colleagues from the Mercury News.  We got the full story as the reporters knew it: a homeless man had climbed up into a crane on a construction sight and had been there for twelve hours.  Police had blocked off some of the streets and were trying to get him to come down.

As we got filled in, David got a lot of pictures of the guy in the crane.  I mostly observed what was going on, both up in the crane and down on the ground.  I had never seen one TV news crew so close up, let alone four or five like were situated on this corner.  It was interesting to see everyone so comfortable around each other.  I guess I hadn’t expected professional journalists to be so friendly, especially in TV.

After a while, David and I took a walk around the section the cops had blocked off.  We heard the man shout something down at the cops, we saw people looking up at the crane and talk amongst themselves, and we saw people going about their day normally as if nothing had changed.

For a while, it looked like nothing would change.  Then the man came out of the cab and started walking along the crane.  David scrambled to get into a good position for pictures.  I gripped my notebook tight.  My heart was in my throat.  I was nervous about what could happen.

Thankfully, he went back into the cab, unhurt.  We walked back to where the reporters stood and met up with Steven, Hannah and Brian.  I talked to some more people while all three photographers took their shots.

We were standing far away from the other reporters when he started to come down from the crane.  We had the perfect shot, too, framed by the construction and some of the surrounding buildings.  As soon as he was down, we ran over to the police line where they were loading him into the police car.  We didn’t get great shots as he drove away, unfortunately.
When we finally walked back to the newsroom, I was still pumped.  I felt like a real journalist, getting a story that was happening now.  It was an amazing thrill and I’m so incredibly glad to have had this experience.

Day 3 – Dub Nation domination

Photo by David Early, Mosaic Staff Photographer.

Two excited fans express their overwhelming happiness in the concluding minutes of the NBA playoffs // Photo by David Early, Mosaic Staff Photographer.

By Tomas Mier, Mosaic Staff Photographer

Yesterday was definitely crazy. Brian drove Esteban, David, Hannah and I up to Oracle Arena around 3:30. Once we got there, the fans were ecstatic, taking a ton of selfies and yelling “WARRIORS” at the top of their lungs. Despite being two hours before the start of the game, fans lined up at the doors ready to immerse themselves in the beauty of 20,000 seats with “authentic fan” posters and the hardwood floors of the court.

Tickets were sold out. But it definitely took all of them to pack the place. Esteban and I grabbed our press passes and pushed our ways into the arena, making our way down to the court where security guards gave us weird look, I mean, we are high school journalists.

The ESPN game coverage began. Every time LeBron James appeared on the jumbotron the area became one with its boos and obscene hand gestures. Once Coach Steve Kerr came on, or any of the Warriors players, the stadium applauded and yelled in joy.

On the court I saw William Bonilla, sports anchor for Univision 14. I went up to him because I wanted to catch an interview with him for my article on the NBA and the Latino community. Surprisingly, he asked me for an interview. I GOT TO APPEAR ON TV! That was awesome. He even gave me his card.

Throughout the game, at every timeout or between quarters, the Warriors staff didn’t fail to entertain with the “Flying W’s,” the dance and cheer squad, and a team of professional youth dancers.

During gameplay, it felt like the stadium was watching the Warriors right there. They were extremely loud, chanting “DEFENSE” when the Cavaliers had the ball and “WAARRIORS” throughout the game’s entirety.

To not make things too long, the Warriors won and the crowd was as excited as ever. After 40 years, the city of Oakland and the Bay Area was able to take their cars and fill the streets with honking horns and the enthusiasm only a sports team can bring.

It was awesome to stand near crazed fans that have followed the team for the longest time. It showed me that love for sports teams can create an amazing bond with strangers.

I Still Want a Selfie

By Luisa Simpao // Mosaic Journalism Workshop 

I woke up on Friday morning with tired eyes and heavy-feeling limbs. Sure, I’d beat my alarm clock to waking me up, but the anti-allergy medicine I took the previous night knocked me out within fifteen minutes of taking it. As soon as I’d washed my face and gotten a bagel into my system, putting on sunscreen then, I was pumped.

I was headed to the George F. Haines International Swim Center for the ARENA Grand Prix. I was going to interview Missy Franklin. I might run into Michael Phelps, Nathan Adrian, Anthony Ervin, and so may other swimming greats.

As a swimmer, I was excited as we entered, coming in to the meet after receiving our press passes to see the first heat of the Women’s 100 Freestyle up. I definitely couldn’t compare myself to any of them–their swimming level being one I can only dream of and admire–but seeing them up close and occasionally running into them was amazing.

After Missy Franklin swam (and won) her 100 Freestyle, I screamed internally as she walked by us. More internal screaming ensued when the whole Cal girls team, including Missy, decided to sit at the benches ten feet away from us. We continued to watch the races, screaming internally (again) during the 100 Free as Nathan Adrian, Conor Dwyer, Michael Phelps, and Anthony Ervin, took one to four, respectively.

The other events seemed long to me, as the 400 Free and 200 Breast were not events that I swim (and took longer than two laps), but when the 100 Fly came on, I was, again, very excited. Iris and I rushed to Lane 5 during the final heat, she taking pictures as we watched Phelps place first in the event with a 52.57.

We interviewed Missy Franklin after she’d warmed down following her 100 Fly. She was so nice and seemed to be absolutely enjoying herself. When she answered my question, she looked directly at me (!!!!), and I was stunned but still took down my reporter notes.

We returned for finals later that day, with Enya and Jacinta, who had covered Michael Phelps’ interview the day before. Again, the experience of being around so many amazing swimmers and watching them compete seemed absolutely unreal, but–ah, it gets better.

As Enya and I were walking around, trying to find swimmers to interview, I spotted Nathan Adrian at the tent, where I had interviewed Missy Franklin earlier that day.

I got to talk to Nathan Adrian.

I shook Nathan Adrian’s hand.

I met Mel Stewart and interviewed him, too–he was so friendly and just really chill–I followed him on Twitter afterward!

Yesterday will definitely be a day I will not forget.

Even though my feet are still sore from standing by the pool and taking the walking tour of San Jose’s nightlife.

And I was, of course, allowed neither selfies nor autographs but…

Yesterday was absolutely amazing.

Day 1: Diving in!

By Luisa Simpao // Mosaic Staff Writer Image

As a result of a morning swim, nearly missing a morning appointment, and an impromptu appearance at a Stanford graduation to support a friend of my mother’s daughter, the first day of Mosaic started off somewhat stressful for me.

I came to San Jose State University at around 4 o’clock following a quick Sprinkles run at the Stanford Mall. My mum, I think, was more nervous for the program than I was–my sister had come back from college only the night before and here she was sending another off to another college campus (although, only for two weeks).

Once at Washburn Hall, my mum and my sisters helped me set my room up, which for now, is only mine–my roommate is coming later–while my dad went to buy flip flops and snacks, both of which I’d forgotten at home as a result of the morning swim.

Starting the program itself, however, was not as haphazard as the earlier events of that day. Mosaic participants and their families, alongside the staff of Mosaic, enjoyed a Mexican dinner of enchiladas, rice, beans, and nacho chips–all of which were very delicious–as we listened to Joe and Marcos assure the parents that their kids were safe and scare the students with the rules and expectations of the program.

Following the short orientation, parents’ goodbyes, a reporting exercise, and a name game to introduce everyone to one another, the participants–without adult supervision–went out for a thirty-ish minute walk around downtown San Jose.

I ended up sleeping at almost two in the morning  but got up at seven. I had planned to swim at least a half-mile this morning, but the effects of a five-hour “sleep” got to me. Some of the girls went out for a coffee run to Philz Coffee while the rest of us enjoyed fruits, bagels, and oatmeal at Washburn Hall.

We are now writing up story ideas and the newspaper bios for our roommates.