A Shot In The Dark

Ashley Lugo // Mosaic Staff Photographer
Jewel Devorawood gazes into the dark.

By Jewel Devorawood

So far, I’ve been spending most of my days out in sunny San Jose and the surrounding areas. Going on assignments and just trying to soak up some sun before I go back to the city of fog. One of today’s assignments was probably one the most thought provoking ones thus far at Mosaic.

It’s a story that was suggested by Gabe one day when we were walking home from dinner. As we chattered and laughed about some nonsensical topic, all of us totally engrossed in one and another and just being teenagers out at night, we heard from a near distance the peaceful lullaby of a soft spoken flute. We slowed as we walked past a bearded man with a tarnished green flute.  All of us smiled and nodded as a way to acknowledge the scene before us.

As we began to cross the street, Gabe turned to Naib and said something along the lines of “bro that would be a really cool story! That guy with the flute! Talk about on spot news! Go interview him!”

After some encouragement from Gabe and the rest of the group, Naib grabbed me as his “photographer” and walked up to the player.

We waited patiently until he was done playing. We noticed his headphones in his ears and watched as his hands effortlessly played every note. I won’t go into much detail because Naib is writing a feature on this man, but basically he was homeless and virtually content with his lifestyle.

It was fascinating to me to meet someone who was so happy and content with life, yet lacked the bare necessities for life: a roof over his head and constant food in his mouth.

I don’t think I will ever forget the interviews we had with “Walt” or the trip to his “home,” an abandoned bank building. Its funny how we are so wrapped up in our own lives that more often than not we pass by these incredibly strong and resilient people without a second thought.

I realize this blog had nothing to do with photography but I felt compelled to share how this particular story affected me. Not just as a journalist but as a human being.

Until next time blogosphere

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Re-blog: Day on the farm!

Jewel Devorawood // Mosaic Staff Photographer
Mosaic Staff Reporter Camille Debreczeny, right, interviews Farmer Dan, left, of YummyTummy farms.

 

By Camille Debreczeny// Mosaic Staff Writer

Today I’m blogging about someone who blogged about me yesterday.  Pretty cool, huh?

On Thursday, Jewel and I visited Yummy Tummy Farms, which is actually just the home of a financial analyst named Donald Sturman.  In his free time, he calls himself “Farmer Donald” and uses his quarter-acre yard to grow fruits and vegetables.

He was overflowing with enthusiasm about farming.  We spent over an hour touring his garden and listening to his ideas about things like “biodynamic farming principles,” “self sustainability” and “reclaiming domesticity.”  He was very warm and friendly, and even pulled up a few of his homegrown carrots for us to taste.

When I revisited Farmer Donald’s blog today before starting to type up his story, I noticed an entry called “Yummy Tummy Farms in the Media.”  It was all about our visit!

He identified Jewel and me as “a reporter and a photographer from the San Jose Mercury News.”  For some reason my first reaction was, “Oh no, a real reporter already did my story…”  But as I read through the post it dawned on me that he was talking about us!

It feels awesome to be taken seriously as a real journalist, and to interview someone who is so excited about getting some press coverage.

Waves

Nhat V. Meyer // Mosaic Staff
Gianna Dimick shoots a staged scene for the Mosaic.

By Gianna Dimick // Mosaic Staff Photographer

As I sit in the photography room, surrounded by the pictures I’ve taken this week, I reflect on my first week here. I think I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to sum it all up is, “everything comes in waves.”

The quality of my pictures, the atmosphere in the newsroom, the daily workload, and the energy level and mood that I give off all seem to roll together with the ups, always countering the downs.

Take, for example, the past the two days. Yesterday was the most low-key day I’ve had all week. I had one assignment at 6pm and spent most of the day editing and captioning photos while enjoying the company of the rest of the photographers. Today, however, has been extremely stressful and tiring. Things are not going as planned.

I can’t complain that much though. I have never felt so grateful for the opportunities I have been presented with. I have never gone anywhere else where I have been given this much freedom and the ability to do so much with it. I have never learned so much about photography in one week. I have photographed things that I normally would never have been able to shoot on my own.

Truthfully, I would be perfectly happy for the days to continue rolling by in waves with plenty of ups to outweigh the occasional down.

I never want it to end.

Deadline = Daisies and rainbows?

Margaret Lin // Mosaic Staff Photographer
Lexy Brown clowns around at dinner.

By Walter Teng-Tran // Mosaic Staff Writer

Deadline. I had it all together, all it needed was a few small touches and that’s it, and it’ll be all daisies and rainbows.

Well, that’s how I thought it would go.
I was soon met with my editor and my story drowned in blue ink. I wasn’t thinking properly as she walked towards me as I was mentally slapping myself silly. However, my editor showed only mercy, patting my back softly as I banged my head on the desk repeatedly.

Well, it’s not as bad as I’m over exaggerating it to be, it was a learning experience. I have an idea of what to do now to fix it, and everything shall be well.

Deadline. Dead. Naib.

Naib Mian listens attentively.
Jewel Devorawood // Mosaic Staff Photographer

By Naib Mian // Mosaic Staff Writer

It is likely evident from all of the other posts on here that today was the day we had to turn in the first draft of our articles.
My stomach sunk last night as I remembered it was Thursday, and tomorrow was Friday, and tomorrow … was deadline.
Five days of work. Hours of sitting at a computer waiting for email responses. Numerous phone calls to almost ten people. Emails sent out to almost twenty. Visits to Fremont, Stanford, and Mountain View. All in the pursuit of a story. All in the pursuit of truth.
This morning’s press conference with Ron Davis was intriguing and inspirational, but I couldn’t help removing the dread. I still had to call someone, someone who wasn’t answering. Would I be able to get the interview? Would I be able to turn in my draft by five?
As I waited for any sort of response, I decided to venture out, looking for sincere voices. I walked out of the newsroom and took to the campus grounds. I spotted a young man who I thought might be a student. After what felt like a high speed chase, I realized he wasn’t. I was so nervous to walk up to a complete stranger and ask them about their involvement, if any, in politics.
I then saw a young woman walking toward me. I thought, “Yes! This is my opportunity!”
“Excuse me? Hi! My name is Naib Mian with the Mercury News Mosaic program. I’m writing an article about student involvement in the election. Can I ask you a few questions?”
“Sure,” she said.
I asked her about her involvement.
“I’m not involved.”
I asked her if she planned to vote.
“No.”
I asked her if she supported either candid … “No.”
“Thank you,” I said as I left. I approached another man who told me he wasn’t interested in politics either.
The final young man I approached (he definitely looked younger than the other) was faculty.
After deciding I had enough of that, I came back to the newsroom, made some more failed attempts at reaching phone interviewees, and went out to lunch at Pomegranate, a Persian restaurant. We brought the food back to the newsroom, and it was delicious.
I spent the rest of the day writing. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel as if my writing was cohesive or focused. After working with creating a nut graf, I was still unsatisfied.
4:40. I turned in my draft and watched as Sharon’s head turned downward to look over a stack of papers, judging my written word, judging my acceptance into Mosaic, judging my existence.
I sat with Kimmy and Walter. All of us dying. Dying under the stress of not only getting an article back that was torn to pieces, but rather getting an article back with a “no,” a, “write it again,” a, “what is this?” or a, “don’t be a journalist, and by the way, don’t come back here.”
I am now writing a blog post about my day.

Success!

Ashley Lugo smiles for the camera.
Krystal Jara // Alum Mosaic Staff Photographer

By Ross Ramirez // Mosaic Staff Writer

I could hear the countdown of the minutes flying by and my story was still on hold for its anecdote.
Up until 4:15, I missed a call and called right back to interview Iris Lopez, whom was critically the most important part of my story, and would serve as my hook for my readers.
You cannot imagine the euphoric feeling I had when I started to write up the last paragraph of my story. I felt like a gossip girl spilling everything I knew about the subject out to anyone that wanted to know- with Amy Winehouse playing in the background of course.
I hope my writing is good enough to survive Ardua Harris’s critiques.