Just another Mosaic Day

Kelly Chang // Mosaic Staff Photographer

Kelly Chang // Mosaic Staff Photographer

By Matthew Chow // Mosaic Staff Writer

Honestly, at Mosaic, no two days are the same. Random stories always come up that need reporting, or world-renown journalists come in to speak with us, or Joe leads us on excursions of San Francisco or downtown San Jose. However, the following is an example of what one might expect on any day during Mosaic:

7:55 – First phone alarm rings (but if an alarm goes off, and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?)

8:00 – Second phone alarm rings (I guess I thought having a backup alarm five minutes later would help)

8:20 – Chris’s phone alarm rings. Wake up to the slow rustling of blankets in his bed.

8:31 – After 10 minutes of debating whether to get up, trudge to the showers, where I spend the next 20 minutes fighting for the hot water with Raphael and Chris in the other stalls.

8:56 – Suit up and leave for the newsroom, while reading a crispy new copy of the Mercury News and trying not to crash into any trees or walls.

9:15 – After Elliott begs us to eat breakfast, we leave our computers and file into our makeshift breakfast room. Tensions rise over empty milk cartons or a deficiency of spoons.

9:30 – Listen to an inspiring presentation about the importance of Journalism from David Early, undergo mock interviews with a savage and abrasive Sean Webby or just get to work.

10:45 – Realize that cup of yogurt I ate wasn’t enough and return to the snack room for otterpops, Oreos, fruit snacks, Nature Valley bars, Pop-Tarts, peaches, bananas, cereal and/or more yogurt.

10:50-Noon – Keep calling, emailing and writing, occasionally checking in with Sharon, whose motherly and sweet nature warms my heart every time.

Noon – “Where are we eating for lunch?” “I dunno.” “Well we should decide…”

12:30 – “Sooo are we eating at La Vic’s?” “Nahh, we eat there almost every day. Let’s find a new place.”

1:00 – Eat at La Vic’s. Super yummy and filling.

2:00 – Back at the newsroom. Attempt to keep working and fight the inevitability of falling into what Joe calls “teenage wasteland.”

4:00 – Take a small break, visit the snack room for the fifth time that day or check up on the photographers, who are probably lounging about in the magazine room, sifting through the thousands of photos they took the day before.

5:30 – “What are we eating for dinner?”

5:31-6:29 – Work on articles/edits, chat, play online computer games with each other, watch YouTube videos, work on Mercury News Sudoku puzzles and host chair races in the newsroom.

6:30 – “No seriously, what are we eating for dinner?”

7:00 – Wander through sketchy San Jose residential streets, searching for a Thai restaurant of which nobody bothered checking the location.

7:30 – Eat dinner while watching Raphael or Iris or Winston test the limits of their toleration for spicy food.

9:00-11:00 – Host ping pong tournaments, sing karaoke, impersonate Christopher Walken, watch movies and eat snacks.

11:00-1:00 – Gather in the common room and watch a movie on the tiny screen of Katie’s laptop.

1:00 – Discuss ghost/spirit stories, the philosophy and psychology of attraction or anything else that comes to mind.

1:34 – Hear a shriek from the girl’s room. Another cockroach sighted.

1:35-1:45 – Chris, Raphael, and I hunt down cockroaches in the laundry room while the girls watch through the window in the door.

1:40-3:00 – Descent into insanity and exhaustion. More ghost stories and cockroach episodes.

3:00 – Vaguely remember walking back to my room and passing out on the bed.

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Covering DOMA and Proposition 8 Rulings

Marili Arellano //Mosaic Staff Mosaic journalist Matthew Chow, left, conducts an interview in San Francisco, Calif. on Wednesday, June 26, 2013.

Marili Arellano // Mosaic Staff Photographer
Mosaic journalist Matthew Chow, left, conducts an interview in San Francisco, Calif. on Wednesday, June 26, 2013.

By Matthew Chow // Mosaic Staff Writer

I woke up this morning to my phone’s ringtone. After reassuring Kelly that I was alive and awake, I glanced at my phone’s clock: 4:55 a.m. Oh no! We were supposed to leave in five minutes! Quickly dressing up, I scrambled through my backpack, camera bag, drawers and closet to assemble my “gear” and hurried out to the kitchen where everyone else had already assembled.

It was the momentous day of the Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA and Proposition 8, and Mosaic was sending seven of us into San Francisco at dawn to cover the reactions. We were super excited and nervous, if a little drowsy still. Kevin and Audrey arrived outside Washburn so we all filed out of the double doors and into the dark, cold morning.

Audrey was taking four of us to Civic Center while Kevin would drive the other three to Castro, “ground zero” as Elliott called it. As we pulled onto the highway, I pushed my sleepiness out of my mind and focused on the task at hand. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect. Would there be a huge crowd? What if we got lost or separated?

Surprisingly, when we arrived at the Center at around 6:15, only a handful of people had gathered at the foot of the City Hall, but the parking spots were already occupied by scores of news station vans. We parked underground, made our way to the front door and began to talk to people.

I was pleasantly surprised. Everyone was eager to speak, insightful and extremely passionate. But I guess I could have assumed that, considering how early they had woken up to participate. And, as I probably should have guessed, probably everybody I saw present was either a member of the LGBT community or an active advocate of same-sex marriage.

At 6:30, they opened the doors and the crowd, which had been slowly growing larger, packed into the rotunda. I continued making my way through the noisy crowd, shouting my questions over the ruckus, texting quotes and descriptions back to Katie to write out the story and occasionally spotting Mahima and Marili shooting away at the crowd with their incredibly heavy Canons.

Then, silence.

The news had turned one, and everyone in the rotunda had stopped talking. One screen was tuned to CNN while the other showed posts from the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) blog. I quickly grabbed my trusty iPhone 4 and began filming, anticipating a huge uproarious reaction, regardless of the Court’s decision.

And sure enough: commotion started first from those nearest the television screens and spread through the crowd until the high-ceiling marble room reverberated with cheers for a good two minutes. DOMA had been reversed.

But of course, the more important decision for these Californians was yet to come. Would same-sex marriage become legal in the most populous state of America?

The crowd grew more restless as the CNN reporters and SCOTUS blog kept repeating: “The Prop 8 decision is just moments away…

The second wave of cheers came rather uncertainly, until everyone closely focused on the screen and noticed, in small font at the bottom: “SUPREME COURT DISMISSES SAME-SEX MARRIAGE APPEAL.”

Oh boy. You can guess what kind of screaming, chanting, stomping and whooping occupied the room for the next few moments.

Then, dozens of city and state officials descended the marble steps amid the cheers, and speakers such as Mayor Ed Lee and Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom addressed the crowd, recognizing people such as Phyllis Lyon, a member of the first lesbian couple to be married in San Francisco.

Through it all, the people never stopped cheering.

It was a historic day. It was also an exhausting one. And it was only 9:45 a.m.