Journalism Students Gain Practical Experience on Election Night

SJSU students Stephanie Gersh and Lloyd Alaban help NBC Bay Area Digital Editor Kris Noceda finalize election night stories (Photo: Jennifer Gonzalez, '17 Journalism and English).

SJSU students Stephanie Gersh and Lloyd Alaban help NBC Bay Area Digital Editor Kris Noceda finalize election night stories (Photo: Jennifer Gonzalez, ’17 Journalism and English).

As the votes were being counted and reported on election night 2016, graduate students from the SJSU School of Journalism and Mass Communications played a part in one local television station’s extensive coverage.

Thirteen students in Mass Communications 210: Media & Social Issues volunteered to help NBC Bay Area news staff members gather and report the latest developments as they happened.

“Our grad students come from many academic backgrounds,” Professor Bob Rucker said. “This will give them an up close, eye-opening and unique media learning experience on one of the busiest and most exciting nights in the TV news business.”

NBC Bay Area Vice President of News Stephanie Adrouny and Professor Rucker planned the joint project weeks ahead of time. On Nov. 1, newsroom Executive Producer Dan Pyryt visited the class and explained to students how they would be helping individual newsroom producers and reporters identify and share late-breaking election developments, address voter concerns called into the station, and support NBC social media reporting efforts that night.

While on campus, Pyryt also met with several staff members of the Spartan Daily student newspaper, and congratulated them on their efforts. He told the student staff members and Professor Rucker’s class that the NBC Bay Area news team reads the campus newspaper every day, and many times they develop SJSU stories after reading the student reporting.

The long-time motto of the SJSU journalism program is “Learn by Doing.” Rucker, a former CNN correspondent and NBC local news election night anchor and reporter in Philadelphia, covered the 1980 Ronald Reagan-Jimmy Carter vote count.

“I will never forget how thrilling it was to be a part of that history making evening,” Rucker said.

 

Honors Convocation Recognizes Top Academic Achievers

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

When Kenney Chiu, ’15 Business Finance, joined 4,127 Dean’s and President’s Scholars as part of the Honors Convocation in the Event Center on April 15, someone special shared a seat with him — his baby boy Abraham Charles.

“I snuck him in to sit on my lap,” Chiu said with a laugh. “All the honorees that sat around me were playing with him and they just loved it, too.”

Chiu joined a record number of 3,714 students honored with recognition for earning a 3.65 or higher GPA in at least two contiguous of the past three semesters at San Jose State.

Although Chiu credited his honor with the exceptional teaching found in his home Lucas College of Business, he stressed the impact that his baby boy has had on his academic accomplishments.

“That’s where my motivation comes from,” Chiu said. “I just want to show my kid that he can be proud of his dad.”

Supporters

Interim President Sue Martin took a moment during the ceremony to praise the “unsung heroes,” including family members, friends and spouses who helped support and guide the student scholars.

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

For Emily Vann, ’16 Public Relations, her President’s Scholar recognition was a testament to her mother Olivia and her coaches both on and off the basketball court.

Vann joined a record setting 59 student-athletes recognized for academic excellence, including eight student-athletes who maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA for at least two contiguous of the past three semesters.

“You have to kind of go into another gear to kind of get this distinction,” Vann said. “I know firsthand how much it takes and how much time, dedication and effort it takes to go through the everyday process of waking up and having to wear two hats as a student and an athlete.”

Vann, a forward on the SJSU women’s basketball team, said she could not have reached the academic milestone without the support of her mother.

“My mom is a teacher and I just feel really blessed to have had her in my life. She helped me and coached me from the time I was little,” Vann said. “[She’s] always letting me know that my academics come first even though I’m an athlete.”

Provost Andy Feinstein said such support by loved ones and faculty members alike married with personal sacrifice helped usher in the record number of honored scholars this year.

“These students have shown a commitment to their studies, through personal, economic, social and educational circumstances, to be among the top one percent at this university,” Feinstein said.

Sacrifice

Kenneth Peter, 2016 Outstanding Professor, said in his keynote speech that students should be fueled by the various sacrifices they make in their quest for higher education.

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

“Your talents are not only exhibited in your academic success, but are profound when viewed in light of the struggles you have overcome,” Peter said. “When many of you are first generation college students, when most of you worked more than half time, when many of you have family obligations, when most of you come from public schools with inadequate resources, you are remarkably talented and you have proven this by being in this room tonight.”

Peter’s assertion rang particularly close to home for Jamil Elbanna, ’16 Mechanical Engineering, who spent most of his academic career working two jobs in addition to his schoolwork.

In order to finance his way through college, Elbanna took a job as a courtesy clerk at Safeway and a security officer at a hospital, all while pursuing a degree.

“It’s definitely not the easiest thing but having passion for my major and what I want to study is important,” Elbanna said. “There were times where it almost felt impossible, but I just keep at it and pushed at it day and night.”

Peter concluded his keynote speech by reminding the student honorees that by receiving recognition for their academic accomplishments, they are also receiving an important responsibility.

“Your talent must not be wasted. Each of you should leave SJSU with the kind of education you will need to fight for greater fairness and equality than this world has yet seen fit to offer,” Peters said. “You have likely experienced some hardships. Let those light the fire within.”

 

Journalism Alumni Cover the Super Bowl

Frenzied stampede, labored calls to action and beads of sweat—this isn’t a last ditch effort to win the Super Bowl. It’s what the media experiences while covering the big game, SJSU alumni say.

“The game itself was the hardest part because of the deadline and the crush of people,” said Bill Soliday, ’65 Journalism and Mass Communications. “It became a kind of circus after a while because it would be people trying to find the best story being among what would become over 2,000 people credentialed for the game.”

San Jose State graduates are among the seasoned media professionals who have reported on the Super Bowl, including sports photographers, sports columnists and television field producers.

Oakland Tribune columnist

Soliday utilized his sports column as a means of telling compelling Super Bowl stories.

As an Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers beat writer for the Oakland Tribune for most of his professional career, Soliday covered 19 Super Bowls, eight of which had Bay Area winners.

Now retired, Soliday recalls jostling through a crowd of media, sometimes even shouting his questions to nearby players in order to get an interview.

Soliday said he learned the importance of journalism during his time as a Spartan Daily staff writer the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, when he was tasked to write Kennedy’s biography.

“I took it to be something that is a privilege in a sense to inform the public,” Soliday said. “Even though I got into sports writing which is hardly qualifies as earth shattering, I still felt the same way about it.”

Sports Illustrated photographer


 
Brad Mangin, ’88 Journalism and Mass Communications, got his introduction to Super Bowl coverage two years following graduation from SJSU while at the Contra Costa Times.

Mangin, a photojournalism student who says he would only step foot outside the photo lab in Dwight Bentel Hall for Peanuts Deluxe Café, said he couldn’t imagine shooting the massive event just a few years later.

“You’re standing by the sidelines and thinking ‘this can’t be that big of a deal because I’m here,’” Mangin said.

Now more than 20 years later, Mangin will revisit the Super Bowl frenzy to shoot for Sports Illustrated. In the video link below, watch Mangin discuss how he plans to tackle Super Bowl 50.

Although he’s excited to shoot the game again, he said he values the people who are reporting by his side.

“We all create something special whether it be written word, a photograph or a picture I make with my iPhone,” Mangin said. “We all have a unique way of storytelling with our readers.”

Fox Sports field producer

Dennis Ackerman, ’92 Journalism and Mass Communications, said the hands on experience he gained at SJSU prepared him for providing a quality broadcast to viewers.

Ackerman, now a field producer for Fox Sports 1, got his start on early Friday morning tapings of SJSU’s TV news broadcast, Update News.

“You had to write your own stuff, produce your own stuff,” Ackerman said.  “Having your own broadcast was invaluable.”

Ackerman said his Super Bowl production schedule requires over a week of preparation, which includes gaining familiarity of the stadium and establishing shot locations for his crew.

“It’s definitely an adrenalin rush but you want to make sure everything goes smoothly,” Ackerman said.

As he approaches the third Super Bowl coverage opportunity of his career, Ackerman said his journey from a student to a professional has been informative.

“If it’s something you’re really passionate about, you will pay your dues and hopefully it will pay off for you,” Ackerman said. “You know, I get paid to watch sporting events—that’s not a bad way to make a living.”

 

Student Journalists to Stream Taco Eating Contest

Chacho’s World Taco Eating Championship

SJSU students are seeking to capture the excitement, with world-class competitors like last year’s event (photos by Adrian Trujillo and Sergio Estrada).

SJSU students are seeking to capture the excitement, with world-class competitors like last year’s event (photos by Adrian Trujillo and Sergio Estrada).

San Jose State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications will stream the second Chacho’s World Taco Eating Championship on Aug. 15 at St. James Park in downtown San Jose. The stream will be available on South Bay Pulse, an app built by students.

Co-anchors Jonathan Wold and Brenda Norrie will go live at 4:15 p.m. Expect behind-the-scenes videos and interviews with top-ranked competitive eaters Matthew Stonie and Miki Sudo. As contestants gobble up the tacos, commentator Abraham Rodriguez will follow the action.

All three students are journalism majors or recent graduates. More than a dozen Spartans are involved, in front of the camera, behind the camera, and online. They’re collaborating with the goal of producing a high-caliber program on a shoe-string budget thanks to the power of the Internet and their own ingenuity.

The project is an excellent example of the cutting edge efforts underway at SJSU’s journalism school. Students built the South Bay Pulse app (Apple iPad, Android, Kindle Fire) using the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. Adobe provided mentors, straight from corporate headquarters just a few blocks from campus in the heart of Silicon Valley.

In fact, the entire project grew from a synergy that could only happen here. The students and the taco contest’s producer met at a business event. David Ocampo, ’89 BS Advertising, ’92 MA Mexican American Studies, is creative director at Milagro Marketing. The event was sponsored by Content magazine, which covers the innovative and creative culture of Silicon Valley.

Ho Chi Minh City

40th Anniversary of the Fall of Saigon

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City

San Jose State changed forever when Saigon fell 40 years ago today. Refugees who settled in the neighborhoods near campus grew into one the nation’s largest Vietnamese American communities. These days, many of these immigrants and their descendants are SJSU students, faculty and staff members, and alumni.

SJSU Professor of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Science Hien Duc Do fled Vietnam at age 14 just days before the fall. Drawing from his research on the Vietnamese American experience, Do appears as an expert commentator in many news accounts of the lasting impact of the war. These include special reports by the San Jose Mercury News, KPIX TV, KGO radio, KCBS radio and KLIV radio.

Prominent Vietnamese American writer and journalist Andrew Lam, who left his homeland at age 11, is teaching this term at San Jose State. He shares his views on Vietnam then and now with the Los Angeles Times, Al Jazeera AmericaSan Jose Mercury News, KPIX TVKQED radio, and KLIV radio.

In a cover story on the Fall of Saigon, the Spartan Daily student newspaper profiles four local Vietnamese Americans. Accompanying the report online is a video documentary featuring, among others, a pastor, poet, and city council member. The student videographers discuss their work with NBC Bay AreaSouth Bay Pulse, an iPad app created by the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, features the video and full-length profiles.

“The war created ripples that span generations,” the Spartan Daily says. “But despite the conflict, people have been able to start anew.”

 

Going Digital

If anyone’s nimble enough to keep up with all the demands of editing a magazine in the Internet age, it’s Amanda Holst, ’14 Journalism and Nutritional Sciences, especially now that she has served as SHiFT editor.

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications produces the student-run periodical to teach all the traditional and emerging aspects of the publishing world.

“While a great story still requires shoe leather reporting, new electronic tools are transforming the way we design, distribute and deliver our magazine,” said Tom Ulrich, a lecturer focusing on magazine journalism.

With just weeks to go during her final semester at SJSU, Holst pulled together the staff for a review of the publication’s print and digital issues. This term, students made full use of Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite.

The downtown San Jose-based tech titan even provided several mentors for SHiFT’s Digital Publishing Editor Douglas Rider, who incorporated drag-and-drop and Apple AccelerometerGraph functions into stories to create a digital issue “to sit back in a chair and really read,” he said.

“For example, we have a food photo essay,” Holst said. “When you click on the food item, it takes you to an audio clip of the chef talking about it. You can tilt your mobile device in order to unlock text. A reader scrolls up, down and sideways to view content interactively.

“We have an interactive game where you can put your food items in a grocery bag and it will tell you how much time is needed in order to burn off the calories from those specific food items.”

How hot is this technology? Content magazine, which prides itself in displaying and discovering Silicon Valley’s innovative and creative culture, attended the SHiFT design review.

“For Holst, her tenure as SHiFT editor comes at the end of an undergraduate career chock-full of internships, part-time jobs and freelance work that helped her hone her interests, support herself, and meet degree requirements while gaining a wealth of hands-on learning.

“I’ve always worked on a team but have never led one,” she said. “From this experience, I learned that I have a passion for leadership and a natural ability to empower people.

“I learned that the reward is in the process and not so much about the end result…Every staff member had something different to offer–it was my job to tap into that and bring it to light!”

Up next for this McNair Scholar: graduate school.
“I’m fascinated by the topic of motivation so I’m switching gears and would like to focus my graduate studies on social psychology,” she said. “This class will help me in understanding the elements of community, vital to success in any organization.”

Alumni Connect Students to Employers

Hundreds of job seekers stood in line outside the SJSU Event Center March 5 for a shot at landing an employment opportunity at the Expo ’14 Job and Internship Fair.

Among the hopefuls waiting was Sameera Pappu, ’14 Electrical Engineering, who shared her desire to network with a few companies that match her special telecommunication skill set.

“It’s better you do your own research and target two or three employers, instead of waiting in the long lines” at the fair, Pappu said.

Many students like Pappu prepared by logging into the SJSU Career Center website, researching companies on SpartaJobs, and completing the online Job Success Webinar, which gained them early-bird access.

Alumni connections

Also working hard to prepare for the fair were SJSU alumni volunteers, identifiable by blue spirit ribbons. They showed their Spartan pride by serving as connecting points between students and employers.

Marie Norman, ’93 Journalism, and director of talent acquisition and HR business partner for Financial Engines, has volunteered at the career fair for more than a decade.

She says that SJSU job fairs have gotten more competitive over the years and it takes longer for students to find opportunities that fit their interests and goals.

But her favorite part of her job is playing an instrumental role in people’s lives and matching opportunities with individuals. In the end, Norman says it’s about knowing and understanding what an employee wants and that goes beyond technical and functional skills.

It’s that the company’s philosophy aligns with a person’s core values and allows them to thrive,” she said.

Submitting resumes

Across the Event Center, Mercedes Hernandez, ’11 Business Administration, and a Symantic HR campus representative, resourced contact information for prospective employees via an electronic tablet provided by the SJSU Career Center.

In a week, students such as Trevor Uyeda, ’15 Computer Science, who’s not worried about the competition because of his experience in graphic user interface, will receive an invitation to upload their updated resumes to Symantec’s database and see recruiting deadlines.

This will give us a good feel for what they need and what we have to offer,” said Hernandez.

The SJSU Career Center works with over 20,000 hiring representatives and businesses both locally and globally and connected students with over 33,000 jobs and internship opportunities through SpartaJobs last semester.

Content Magazine Profiles Advertising Profressor Tim Hendricks

Content Magazine: Advertising Professor Profiled as San Jose "Mad Man"

Content Magazine Profiles Advertising Profressor Tim Hendricks

Content’s current cover.

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

One of SJSU’s most creative professors has been featured in San Jose’s most innovative new periodical. Content Magazine describes Professor of Advertising Tim Hendrick as San Jose’s “Mad Man,” in reference to the popular television series by nearly the same name.

School of Journalism and Mass Communications Director Bob Rucker wrote in the CASA Blog, “Given the extraordinary number of ground-breaking advertising professionals working here in the Bay Area, we are thrilled and very proud to see Tim be recognized by his peers for his incredible talents, unique experiences and tireless efforts to keep our SJSU advertising program THE West Coast leader for excellence in media higher education.”

Content “discovers and displays unique aspects of San Jose and gives our readers an opportunity to find new reasons to love their city.” Read Professor Rucker’s entire blog entry and view the story.

Content Magazine Profiles Advertising Profressor Tim Hendricks

Content Magazine: Advertising Professor Profiled as San Jose “Mad Man”

Content Magazine Profiles Advertising Profressor Tim Hendricks

Content’s current cover.

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

One of SJSU’s most creative professors has been featured in San Jose’s most innovative new periodical. Content Magazine describes Professor of Advertising Tim Hendrick as San Jose’s “Mad Man,” in reference to the popular television series by nearly the same name.

School of Journalism and Mass Communications Director Bob Rucker wrote in the CASA Blog, “Given the extraordinary number of ground-breaking advertising professionals working here in the Bay Area, we are thrilled and very proud to see Tim be recognized by his peers for his incredible talents, unique experiences and tireless efforts to keep our SJSU advertising program THE West Coast leader for excellence in media higher education.”

Content “discovers and displays unique aspects of San Jose and gives our readers an opportunity to find new reasons to love their city.” Read Professor Rucker’s entire blog entry and view the story.

Broderick at Chinese New Years Day parade

Video: Young Alumnus Helps Develop Super Bowl Ad

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

When it comes to finding your dream job, it’s tough to beat Darren Mitchell, ’11 Advertising. He is putting his degree from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications to work, helping develop a Super Bowl ad for Honda, celebrating the launch of the all-new 2012 CR-V. Honda brings back “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” casting Matthew Broderick as himself, skipping out on a day of work and living it up in his all-new CR-V. While the movie was set in Chicago, the ad features California’s coast. An account manager at Santa Monica-based ad agency RPA, Mitchell describes his job on LinkedIn: “I work on the Honda National Account, on the Digital/Interactive, SUV/Truck, Social Media team. I assist in managing and coordinating all social media efforts from Honda on Facebook and YouTube. I help coordinate minor and major changes to the Honda Automotive website, ensuring content is current and up-to-date. I help produce and present tracking reports for various interactive media’s to the client.” Read more in Adweek.

This is a photo of Scent Science Corporation's product, ScentScape, which digitally emits scents.

Exchange Student Earns Internship With Scent Startup

By Sarah Kyo, Public Affairs Assistant

President / CEO Bill Wiles and intern Carlotta Zorzi pose with Scent Sciences Corporation's ScentScape product. Photo courtesy of Carlotta Zorzi.

President/CEO Bill Wiles and intern Carlotta Zorzi pose with Scent Sciences Corporation's ScentScape product. Photo courtesy of Carlotta Zorzi.

From 3-D visuals to motion-sensing video game platforms, the entertainment and video game industries have used the latest technology to tap into consumers’ senses. Could smell be the next frontier?

That’s the case Scent Sciences Corporation is making with the products it’s developing and beginning to market, with assistance from summer intern Carlotta Zorzi, an Italian exchange student at SJSU.

“She brings new energy to the company,” said Bill Wiles, president and CEO of the San Jose-based company. “She’s extremely pro-active, which in a startup is important.”

Zorzi, who attends Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland, credits her SJSU education during the 2010-2011 academic year for helping her with her current position.

“I don’t think I’d have been prepared to face this kind of internship without the skills that SJSU gave me,” Zorzi said. “I took classes specifically about PR writing and advertising layout during this last year, and I’ve learned a lot. Especially professors Nate Digre, Matt Cabot and Dona Nichols gave me the right skills and advice to face this kind of experience in the right way. I’ll always be grateful to SJSU for giving me practical skills in my field of study.”

Zorzi found out about the internship from her SJSU International House roommate, who was a student of lecturer Peter Young. Young, who teaches in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, is an adviser and consultant for Scent Sciences. Wiles said Young has provided insights and ideas for the business.

“When I start a new company, he is one of the first people I get involved,” said Wiles, regarding Young.

Scent Sciences’ thermal-based ScentScape system connects to a computer via a USB cable. The system contains individual oils that are vaporized when triggered by a code in a video game or other type of media, Wiles said. Additional products from the company allow industry members and consumers alike to create their own scents.

Young said the products provide a much deeper level of entertainment when playing video games, for example.

“Now you get to smell the swamp, smell the burning building,” he said.

Young said while the system may not be for everyone, there are many possible applications. Wiles foresees the company’s products, projected for release by early next year, being used for marketing, aromatherapy and rehabilitation. Scent Sciences has partnered with the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom to develop game-based military training and rehabilitation for the UK Ministry of Defence.

Part of Zorzi’s work is keeping in touch with Scent Science’s partners, as well as creating fliers and news releases, working on web design and utilizing social networks.

“It’s great learning from those who already had many experiences in terms of business, and it’s great feeling appreciated for my work as an intern and as an international student,” Zorzi said. “The Scent Sciences project relates to the movie industry, which would be the field I’d like to finally work for. Can you imagine smelling the scents of what you’re watching at the cinema?”

Wiles said he would like to continue working with Zorzi after she returns to Europe at the end of this summer. Wiles also said he is interested in offering an internship to an SJSU engineering student who is “as good as Carlotta.”

KTEH Airs “Equal Time,” SJSU-Produced TV Program Examining Both Sides of the Story

cameramen tape Equal Time

Experts discuss political correctness with host Bob Rucker on the set of "Equal Time."

In an era when unbiased journalism is said to be giving way to one-sided reporting, the SJSU School of Journalism and Mass Communications has launched “Equal Time,” a public affairs series. Assistant Professor Diane Guerrazzi, the show’s creator and executive producer, pulls no punches when selecting topics. Her series examines everything from the value of a college degree to poverty in Silicon Valley to the pluses and minus of living at a world immersed in social networking and cell phone applications. Students, alumni and professors have recently completed 13 new episodes, airing at 2:30 p.m. Saturday on KTEH. Each episode examines a different issue in depth, first presenting one side of an argument, then the other. The show ends with a roundtable discussion with professors and other experts in search of solutions. Interim Journalism and Mass Communications Chair Bob Rucker serves as the host. Get show times on the KTEH website.

Patch.com website showing immigration story.

Journalism Students Publish Immigration Series on Patch.com

Inside a Campbell classroom, where the curriculum has been updated to reach all students, including those learning English. Courtesy of Patch.com.

Inside a Campbell classroom, where the curriculum has been updated to reach all students, including those learning English. Courtesy of Patch.com.

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

When the School of Journalism and Mass Communications received an email from Patch.com offering to arrange internships, journalism lecturer Tom Ulrich reacted immediately.

“This is the type of opportunity I want to see for our students,” Ulrich said.

Patch.com, a micro-local news operation developed by AOL, has created websites for communities across the United States with the goal of providing indepth, local coverage.

Ulrich’s advanced reporting class collaborated with editors from 10 Patch.com sites on several major assignments including a series on how immigration affects neighborhoods.

“We help students understand how things work in the industry in real time,” said Patch.com Regional Editor Priyanka Sharma-Sindhar. “We help them set priorities and offer guidance on what to look for and what questions to ask.”

For his internship, journalism major Eddie Fernandez became the eyes and ears of Campbell. You can read his story, researched and written by a team of SJSU students, on the CampbellPatch website.

Fernandez reported on the efforts of Campbell Union School District’s English Language Development program, the classification of an English learner, and the funding involved with the education of English learners.

“I learned that stories never go the way they are originally planned,” Fernandez said.

In this way, Patch.com’s hands-on professional training with supervision from instructors is giving students like Fernandez the opportunity to grow.

“We offer this to students who are interested in writing for a living,” Ulrich said. “They step into a world driven by deadlines that requires them to interview people who sometimes don’t want to speak. It’s a real life experience.” #

Students look at a green chevrolet car.

Spartans in Action: Students Create Chevy 7th Street Invasion Campaign

SJSU students who are part of Dwight Bentel & Hall Communications, a public relations and advertising group on campus, host an event showcasing Chevrolet cars as part of a nation-wide competition for the best campaign and event on a university campus. On April 30 students were able to test drive cars, play games, and watch some salsa dancing.

More information on Dwight Bentel Communications at www.dbh.sjsu.edu.

More information on SJSU’s Salsa Club at www.sjsusalsa.org.

Students huddle around to talk with Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez, as Bob Rucker, interim director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, takes a photo with his phone. Photo by Michelle Terris.

Return of Alumnus, L.A. Times Columnist Steve Lopez Brings Inspiration to SJSU


Steve Lopez, ’75 Journalism, addresses San Jose State
University students at the 2011 Honors Convocation.

By Sarah Kyo and Teresa Ruiz, Public Affairs

During the early 1970s, a Diablo Valley College counselor advised Steve Lopez to combine his interests in writing and sports into a sports writing career. Then she talked to him about San Jose State University’s journalism program.

“I got such great tools in the journalism school,” said Lopez during a compelling keynote address at Honors Convocation on April 29. “I loved it. I had great, great teachers. And the tools I picked up here, I carried with me.”

Lopez said he recalled the advice of his journalism professor Dwight Bentel, “keep your eyes and ears open, don’t miss the obvious,” six years ago while wandering downtown Los Angeles looking for an idea for his column when he heard music.

He encountered the source, Nathaniel Anthony Ayers Jr., playing a two-string violin at the foot of the Beethoven statue in Pershing Square. Through researching and spending time with Ayers, Lopez wrote a series of columns featuring the musician, a homeless man who has paranoid schizophrenia. Ayers would later become the subject of The Soloist. The 2009 film starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx is based on Lopez’s non-fiction book, The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music.

Lopez, a 1975 SJSU alumnus, also spoke about the funding challenges San Jose State and the California State University system face.

“This system and this school have launched so many scholars, so many doctors, so many educators. This is one of the great institutions in the state of California — and it’s being dismantled,” he said. “This system was a national model and made us proud. It gave people like me, who might not have gotten into more expensive schools, a shot,” he said.

“People say ‘How can we afford to keep paying all those professors and keep doing all this?’ What we have to ask ourselves, our neighbors and Sacramento is, ‘How can California afford not to support great institutions like San Jose State?’” Lopez said to a cheering crowd at the SJSU Event Center.

Lopez was also invited to a screening of The Soloist at the School of Journalism and Mass Communications in Dwight Bentel Hall the evening before Honors Convocation.  Lopez spoke to a group of journalism students and recalled his time as a student reporter for the Spartan Daily.

“We had a swagger. We thought we were much better than we really were,” Lopez said. Back then, the Spartan Daily was published five times per week, and Lopez said the staff saw the San Jose Mercury News as its main competitor.

“When Steve was here, we had an extraordinary group of writers on the Daily,” said Associate Professor Richard Craig. For example, Lopez’s executive editor at the Daily during the spring 1975 semester was Phil Trounstine, who went on to work for 20 years for the San Jose Mercury News and founded the SJSU Survey and Policy Research Institute.

Lopez credited advice from Bentel, founder of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, and then-Spartan Daily advisers Roger Budrow and Larry Snipes for helping him discover the subject of his best known stories.

Lopez also thanked his counselor at Diablo Valley College for recommending he transfer to SJSU, and said he is glad to be back at the university.

“I had a fantastic time at San Jose State University,” Lopez said.

See Lopez’s full keynote address at Honors Convocation 2011.

Diridon, Ridder and Bullock affix their signatures Wednesday (2/15) to documents that will end Ridder’s foundation and create a $100,000 endowment that will continue funding an annual fellowship for a student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Ridder Foundation Endows Journalism Fellowship Program

Diridon, Ridder and Bullock affix their signatures Wednesday (2/15) to documents that will end Ridder’s foundation and create a $100,000 endowment that will continue funding an annual fellowship for a student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Rod Diridon Sr., P. Anthony Ridder and College of Applied Sciences and Arts Dean Charlie Bullock sign documents Feb. 15 creating a $100,000 endowment that will continue funding an annual fellowship for a student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Photo by Michelle Terris, Spartan Daily staff photographer.

 

Thanks to a recent $100,000 gift commitment from the Joseph B. Ridder Foundation, more SJSU journalism and mass communications students will have the opportunities made available to Sarah Kyo. Continue reading

SJSU in the News: SJ State Group Finds Optimism in Dubai

Silicon Biz Blog
By Donovan Farnham

Since the economic downturn of 2008, business has had a slow climb back in the United States and abroad.

But what about in a place that had unprecedented growth, where it seemed like the sky was the limit, literally, for its buildings and businesses, such as Dubai and other United Arab Emirate cities? Continue reading

Professor David Chai took first place for "Enrique Wrecks the World" at the CreaTiVe Awards.

SJSU Professors Receive CreaTiVe Film Awards

Professor David Chai took first place for "Enrique Wrecks the World" at the CreaTiVe Awards.

Professor David Chai took first place for "Enrique Wrecks the World" at the CreaTiVe Awards.

Proving once again that SJSU produces outstanding films, Assistant Professor David Chai and Associate Professor Michael Cheers won top prizes at the CreaTiVe Awards ceremony held Jan. 8 at the San Jose Repertory Theatre.

Chai took first place for films under 30 minutes for “Enrique Wrecks the World.” The film also recently received an Annie Award Nomination. The Annie Awards are the animation industry’s highest honor, and other nominees in the same category include entries from PIXAR and Warner Bros. The ceremony will be held Feb. 5 in Los Angeles.

“What makes Professor Chai’s accomplishments all the more amazing is that he directs and produces his films at SJSU during the summer with a student crew,” wrote SJSU Animation/Illustration Program Coordinator Alice Carter. “Although it would be easier and more efficient to assemble a team of professionals, Professor Chai understands the importance of this opportunity and volunteers his time with our students.”

Cheers won first place in the nonprofits, art and culture, category for “Soul Sanctuary,” a feature-length documentary that chronicles the rich culture and traditions at Antioch Baptist Church, the oldest African American Baptist church in San Jose.

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications supported the project with equipment, post-production software and editing funds. Assistant Professor Kim Komenich and students from Cheers’ photojournalism classes worked as crewmembers.

The CreaTiVe Awards recognize Bay Area media makers who promote and celebrate individual expression, learning, diversity, arts and civic engagement. CreaTV San Jose is a non-profit supporting the use of public and educational access channels and resources among a wide range of individuals, organizations, and institutions.

Watch a short clip of “Enrique Wrecks the World” on SJSU’s YouTube channel.

Learn more about the CreaTiVe awards.
http://www.creatvsj.org

Learn more about “Enrique Wrecks the World.”
http://www.houseofchai.net

Learn more about “Soul Santuary.”
http://www.sjsu.edu/news

Photo of Arabic building through etch glass.

SJSU Mass Communications Students Blog From Dubai

Photo of Arabic building through etch glass.

SJSU Samantha Robinson snapped this photo of a building in Dubai.

“Most of our impressions of the Middle East come through the media, and they are stereotypically negative,” wrote Assistant Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications Diane Guerrazzi. “In films, on TV, in magazines and newspapers, the area appears to be populated with terrorists and women who are oppressed. On the face of it, American students might assume they are much different than their counterparts in the Middle East. That is, until they get to know each other.” Continue reading