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


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

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.
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.

Deadline. Dead.

Kimmy Tejasindhu in downtown San Jose.
Jewel Devorawood // Mosaic Staff Photographer

By Kimmy Tejasindhu // Mosaic Staff Writer

Today we all rushed to turn in our first drafts to our editors to prove ourselves worthy of being in the program and to prove our writing skills to be impeccable. Today, every single soul in the newsroom was working. Headphones in, fingers clicking away on keyboards, pages of notepads being flipped, and juice boxes being sipped.
Finally, all of my hard work concerning synthetic drugs was being put onto a page, arranged into a story. Now, as Marcos sits but a few feet away from me turning pages and circling mistakes, I have the sudden urge to jump out of my seat and run screaming out the door. The only halting factor is that Naib is seated right next to me, blockading my exit.
We are all having quiet panic attacks as we nervously giggle about how horrible our stories are and how they will be perceived by our editors. But alas, the “weight off your shoulders” feeling is beginning to set in. His criticisms shall be constructive and in the end, my story shall be magnificent.
Now, until I get my corrections back, I shall focus all of my attention on the San Jose skate scene story. Hopefully, young Kayla Caballero (who I met last night at the skate park, missing her dad by 60 minutes) gives my number to her father and he calls! That would be the most golden moment of my life!
Oh, by the way blog, The Warped Tour comes to San Francisco tomorrow. I wish I was earlier informed of this because I would have craftily come up with a story to pitch that would allow me to hop on a train to the city tomorrow morning and see the most amazing bands live. But, I did not have the time today, so I suppose while all of the Bay Area is rocking out at 11:00 to the tunes of big names such as Taking Back Sunday and The Used, I shall be in this chilly newsroom watching as the digits on my phone’s clock change…waiting for an unknown caller to ring, in hopes that it will be Steve Caballero’s voice on the other side of the receiver.

Mosaic 101: Survival Skills

The Mosaic staff explores downtown San Jose after work.
Jewel Devorawood // Mosaic Staff Photographer

By Ross Ramirez // Mosaic Staff Writer

It’s amazing how friendly people are and all it really takes is for you to get out of your comfort zone and really interact with everyone.

I feel like I have a full-time job, for which I get paid in food.

The amount of time we have to work on our stories is incredible. I only have one story on my hands for this week, so the workload on my shoulders isn’t as heavy for me as the rest.

A few tips on how to survive Mosaic:

  • Never lose track of where your keys are! I almost lost mine while wondering if someone saw me stumble during lunch while trying to look for a way to get to McDonald’s. There seems to be some construction going on, and well, I took a fall while not looking where I walked.
  • Be ready for the weather. I myself don’t prefer warm weather. It doesn’t help while trying to look for a place to eat at noon.
  • Make sure you have an alarm. I’ve been known to be a heavy sleeper, so you can guess how lovely it is every morning.

Believe it or not, you’ll get used to your surroundings fairly quickly.

A Photographer’s POV

Jewel Devorawood taking pictures of her fellow staffers.
Margaret Lin // Mosaic Staff Photographer

By Jewel Devorawood // Mosaic Staff Photographer

Now that you’ve had a chance to be introduced to the reporters on staff, let me give you little bit of a photographic perspective.

Aside from myself there are four other photographers this year. Nhat, our teacher has definitely let us have free reign of the cameras and photo assignments, essentially sending us off into the world to experiment and learn through trial and error.

This approach to teaching has helped me learn to self-correct and really think about my shots before I take them.

The thing that people don’t realize about photojournalism is that it is much more then just pressing a button or, as my school friends seem to believe, just having a nice camera to make all your shots look amazing.

Photojournalism is all about capturing that moment, and really working with the reporters to convey the emotions that they are writing about in their stories.

So far I’ve been on two assignments one to a local Ethiopian restaurant to take some delicious food photos, and another to photograph an Olympic athlete.

No big deal, just a five time gold medalist for the United States of America, Kerri Walsh, a six-foot three beach volleyball all-star.

I got the chance thanks to Mr. Elliott Almond to photograph Ms. Walsh during a private farewell party in Saratoga California.

This photo assignment has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I have watched her on ESPN do her volleyball thing, but actually seeing her in person?!?! That was a different story.

She definitely lives up to her nickname, “Six feet of sunshine.” Her naturally calm aura and her visibly open-heart were so easy to capture on my Canon.

Looking back at the photos she seemed to be glowing, and in every single shot Kerri was all smiles. She had the elegance of a true Olympian.

Meeting Kerri Walsh, actually photographing her, and getting the chance to have a conversation with the volleyball champion is an experience I will never forget.

So I’d say, for only being day three and having shot multiple pictures of a volleyball legend, Mosaic is definitely going to be a really great experience.

Until next time, blogosphere.

Mosaic On The Spot

Gabe Quintela walks back from dinner with the rest of the group.
Jewel Devorawood // Mosaic Staff Photographer

By Gabe Quintela // Mosaic Staff Writer

Heading back from our Ethiopian dinner at Mudai last night, I returned to the dorm earlier than the others.

As I was walking back to meet up with everyone else, I heard yelling coming from one of the gyms on campus. I walked toward the gym to see what was going on.

When I got in the room, there were about five people wearing what seemed to be robes. They were holding long bamboo swords, which they used to slap each other in the head.

I was so intrigued by what these people were doing that I invited the rest of the staff to come watch.

We waited until they finished their “practice” and I decided to interview these students in hopes of discovering what exactly they were doing.

After my talk I was turned onto a world of Kendo, a Japanese martial art that teaches the “way of the sword.”

The students were quick to inform me that Kendo is much more than a physical exercise but also a mental one as well.

I plan on following through with these interviews and producing and article to go into the paper.