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By Ashely Lugo, Jewel Devorawood, Margaret Lin // Mosaic Staff Photographers


Day 11- One more day

Ashley Lugo // Mosaic Staff Photographer
Walter Teng-Tran laughs when another student kicks his leg into the air during another late night in the common room.

By Olivia Lucas // Mosaic Staff Writer

Last week I was saying, “one more day until first draft deadline”. Yesterday, I was fretting, “One more day until print deadline.” Today I’m crying, “One more day until we leave.”

The last two weeks here have just been so incredible! They have been filled with emotion, learning, laughing, writing, fretting about deadlines, excitement, and—not to forget—a lot of eating. Shoutout to Andy, who is now in New Zealand, for taking everyone out to experiment with new foods, like Ethiopian and Jamaican food.

People here at Mosaic are so amazing– not only the students, but also the editors. My editor Sharon is the best! She has helped me develop and grow so much as a writer over the last 11 days. Thanks for taking the time to edit all my drafts (I know I had a lot). I also want to thank the editorial assistants, Magali, Audrey, and Jasna, for driving me and other campers all over San Jose to our interviews. As Elliott said, “This is the one time when I’ll have my own personal chauffer.” Speaking of Elliott, even though the first thing he told us was that he wasn’t really a part of Mosaic this year, he definitely helped make my experience at Mosaic the best! Thanks to Elliott, yesterday, I was able to interview Olympic silver medalist, Shawn Johnson, and the Olympic hopeful, Gabrielle Douglas. Without a doubt, one of the best experiences of my life! Thank You Elliott! Last but not least, none of this would have been possible without Joe Rodriguez. Thank for looking out for us over the last two weeks. I know you’re tough on us sometimes, but it’s only because you want us to be the best we can be and reach our full potential—and oh yeah, to speak up a little louder.

My time at Mosaic has just been so unbelievable and eye-opening. I am so glad I had the opportunity to come! Just because I felt like it, I made a little acrostic, reflecting the last 11 days.

Meeting new people.

Outstanding guest speakers.

Staying up late working on stories, chatting with friends, and playing cards.

Adventuring out of my comfort zone.

Improving my writing, interviewing and reporting skills.

Constantly experiencing what it feels like to be a real journalist!

A Day in the Life

Ashley Lugo // Mosaic Staff Photographer
Lexy and Tanya, center, make faces at the camera during one of the late nights in the common room.

By Lexy A. Brown and Tanya Raja // Mosaic Staff Writers

Before coming to the Mosaic, all of the participants are given an “official” Mosaic schedule. But it doesn’t begin to describe what really happens when you’re a member of Mosaic. Here is the unabridged truth.
7:30am- Turn off your alarm in your sleep.
7:35am- Turn off the second alarm you set, knowing the first one wouldn’t be effective.
8:45am- Be woken up by your roommate as she leaves for the newsroom. Quickly throw on clothes and hope that they’re weather appropriate. Provided the time, run to the bathroom to brush your teeth.
8:59am- Slide into the newsroom and pile your plate with breakfast, knowing that it’s probably the only free food for the day.
9:30am- A lecture or journalism exercise over breakfast.
10:00am- “Write,” which usually means call anyone remotely related to your subject until somebody finally picks up. If you didn’t have an opportunity to brush your teeth or do any other piece of the typical morning routine, slip out to the dorm and do it now.
10:45am- Grab your first piece of licorice from the giant tub in the newsroom.
10:45:30am- Grab your second, third, and twentieth piece of licorice.
12:30pm- Run to La Victoria’s “La Vic’s” and grab some inexpensive grub to eat in the newsroom.
1:00pm- Back to writing, etc.
3:30pm- While in a waiting hold for editors or interviewee’s to get back to you, look over other staff- writers’ shoulders to see if they’re being just as unproductive as you. If they’re not, be obnoxious until they are. While we call this entertaining, Joe calls this “teenage wasteland.”
5:00pm- Start watching the clock for dinner.
7:00pm- Head out for dinner. Dinner will probably be set up by Andy, who lives on Yelp, doesn’t settle for anything below four-star and likes to try new kinds of foods. Dinner is definitely an adventure.
7:05pm- Realize that you’ve gone the wrong way to get to the dinner place, yell at Andy, turn around and start again.
7:30pm- Decide on a meal to split with one, two or three other people. (Mosaic kids become very money conscious around Saturday, when they only have $7 left for three meals.)
10:00pm- Get back in dorms just in time for curfew.
10:00pm-11:00pm- Hear journalism stories from “dorm parents” Joe and Darlene.
12:00am- Take shower.
1:00am- Play a crazy game of cards. This can get bloody, especially if Andy is losing.
1:15am- Make fun of Lexy. (Out of love…?)
1:30am- Watch videos of Gianna’s eight siblings. Look at pictures of Gianna’s twelve-seater van.
2:00am- Sit around the common room talking. Usually, anything anyone says becomes something to laugh over.
3:00am- Go get blankets and pillows from the dorms.
3:45am- Have a competition to see who can hold an ice cube the longest, until Gianna (the motherly photographer) comes in and shuts us down; try Chinese water torture on Walter; give sleeping Gabe a smiley-face Henna tattoo on his ankle.
4:30am- Fall asleep on the couches in the common room.

Not that I’m getting soppy…

Ashley Lugo // Mosaic Staff Photographer
Andy Fang sips from a juice box in the common room.

By Creo Noveno // Mosaic Staff Writer

It’s strange how quickly the days seem to pass – it feels like only yesterday I’d arrived on campus with naught but a shoddily packed suitcase and the overabundant fear that comes with new territory and even newer faces.

Summers spent lazing about in the house and letting my bones turn to dust before I have to pick myself up all over again for the next school year did not prepare me for these two weeks of work, for the weaving paths around downtown San Jose (always in the morning, never in the evening), for the restaurants terrorized by our motley crew when Andy (how we miss thee) and his Yelp gems find us stomaching cuisine we never thought we’d never have the chance to eat.

I was asked yesterday what word I’d choose to describe my stay in Mosaic, and I stole a line from one of the people I’d interviewed for my stories, because I thought of no better (or, admittedly, vaguer) way to put it: it’s been “an experience.”

Mosaic has been an experience – sometimes scary, sometimes amazing, always busy – and it’s one I can’t trade for anything else, nor is it one I’ll probably ever have again, no matter how many journalism programs I enter after this. The first time is always different: the people, the places, the moments. There will be no more water tortures, no more of Andy’s golden lines, no more dinners, no more trips to Quickly’s or bleary eyed mornings (even though I chickened out after like, three) or deadline days that fill the newsroom with dead (and panicked) silence.

I could say that our time in the program could be immortalized by the paper we’re going to see printed tomorrow morning, but I think that may just be a part of what we’ve taken from these two weeks – interviews and time spent as a “professional” journalist (used very, very loosely) are just as important as all those afternoons spent giggling like loons in the lobby. And maybe that’s what I’ll remember best.

Not that I’m getting soppy.

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

Day Two Disbelief

Rocio Ramirez listening to the editors.
Ashley Lugo // Mosaic Staff Photographer

By Olivia Lucas // Mosaic Staff Writer

I cannot believe today is only day two!

I feel like I have been at Mosaic for a week now, because I’ve learned so many new things, met so many new people, and done sooo much work.

Yesterday morning, I learned from David Early that the best stories are ones that come from the heart and those that get you caught in the middle of a gunfire.

Yesterday night, when we met with the 2011 Mosaic class, I learned take advantage of the Mosaic experience and to wear flip flops in the showers.

Today, Sean Webby taught me how to spell ‘Jon Smyth’ and also showed me that some interviews can scare the life out of you (he surely scared me in my interview).

While we are learning, we are also working—working really hard.

I’m pretty sure I’ve called about ten different people today trying to get interviews, and I’ve emailed about five.

Things are heating up pretty quickly and the workload is hefty, but I am positive that all of our hard work will pay off when we produce a stellar paper!

In the midst of all this chaos, I’ve also found plenty time to connect with the other campers.

Everyone is so nice and I’ve met so many new people.

On the first day I believe that all us Mosaic campers instantly became friends; everyone keeps reiterating that by Day 12 we’ll all be one big Mosaic family. I truly believe this!

Like I said, I can’t believe this is only day two! Can’t wait for what’s to come in the next ten days!

Lessons learned

Naib Mian takes notes during a staged press conference.
Ashley Lugo // Mosaic Staff Photographer

By Lexy Brown // Mosaic Staff Writer

On Monday morning our editor once again told us words that, as journalists, we hold dear: Always have your notebook and a pen; photographers always have your camera. What he added kindled our nerves, “especially don’t forget them tomorrow.”

We weren’t sure we were even prepared for our first day and already they were warning us about tomorrow?

Coming into the newsroom Tuesday morning should have solved our mystery. Instead, it gave us a new one. We were being thrown into the middle of breaking news: a middle-school student had reported a sexual assault.

Our editors had broken us up into teams and fabricated a case for us to report on as breaking news. We would report on a press conference, two interviews from characters of our choosing, phone calls and interviews we conducted of students on the San Jose State University campus.

With only the press conference, our interviews of San Jose State students and ten minutes we produced a briefing of the case. With another half hour we would produce a story and a side bar. Our team finished first, with two minutes to spare, so we went into the debriefing room expecting the best. After all, we’d finished first and were the only team with a full side bar. Nothing could go wrong.

Except spelling Jon Smyth’s name wrong. Or confusing the time of the assault when converting the 24-hour time we were given to a 12-hour clock reading. Accuracy was lost when we confused the words “restroom” and “restaurant.” And we didn’t follow a lead so we reported on an alleged assault instead of middle school boys using assault as a cover-up for drug use.

As it turns out, we definitely did not have the most accurate report of the crime stimulation, however, we learned techniques and tips that will stay with us for our journalism careers; we will never again forget to ask how John Smith spells his name, we will always clarify times and locations, we will never report without checking our facts, and check on anonymous tips from people claiming that the victim was actually doing drugs.

This activity strengthened us as a team and as journalists, making it well worth the nerves it caused.