Writing for a semester: reflections

During my time as a writer on The Skyline View, I’ve published tons of different types of stories relating to all different kinds of subjects, even if I wasn’t interested in the topic beforehand. Sure, there have been some snags, but the overall process is pretty fulfilling in the long run. I can recall at least a few nights of general tomfoolery interspersed with working on articles. Granted, there are a lot of things that I don’t like in my writing looking back, but there are a few articles that I really like that are evident of the type of writing I’d like to do in the future.

I’m also surprised that my editors haven’t gone after me since I ramble so much when I write. Most of the people at The Skyline View are nice enough to at least give your work a try, and they’re pretty good at telling you where your work can improve. If you come in and do what you’re supposed to do, most of the people on The Skyline View will give you the respect you deserve, and it’s been rewarding the entire way.

Sure, working on the Skyline View isn’t without its problems, especially as someone who usually has an inclination to procrastinate. When everyone isn’t doing their job, the newspaper usually takes much longer to produce than it should, but it’s usually worth it in the end. Producing stories constantly is also another challenge in itself, especially trying to interview the right experts when it comes to your particular story, since they don’t always seem to respond on time. But when everything comes together, the story is its own reward when it gets published, and if you put your mind to a story, it usually comes out to be readable, and sometimes you get very proud of it.

In the end, it’s still worth it to keep working at The Skyline View. Next semester, I’ll primarily be editing other people’s’ work rather than writing stories. I’ll see what I can do when it comes to writing even further. I definitely look forward to writing stories for The Skyline View when I can. I’m not entirely sure when I’m going to transfer yet, but I also continue to look forward to writing even more stories as I transfer. It’s been a good ride so far at The Skyline View, and I think it’ll only get better.

Joshua Chan
TSV Staff Writer

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5 Tips to get started on creating videos and how to create better quality videos

Here is a quick list of tips for beginners to get started creating videos and help you avoid some pit falls that may stop you from creating work. It will also show how easy it can be to start making videos, and show that you don’t need a lot to create videos.

1. Audio – Make sure you have good audio in your videos. It gets looked over too often, with people just starting out not thinking about it. But if you have terrible audio a viewer will be faster to stop watching the video than if it was bad visual quality.

2. Story telling – Have a clear story or message in your video. You don’t want to confuse the viewer by getting off point and going on random tangents. You want to have short and concise video, get from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible, while keeping the attention span of the viewer.

3. B-roll – Is secondary footage you get, that shows off the product and can save your audio if your main footage gets messed up. When you are editing you can also use it to avoid jump cuts. It can also show more detail of what you are talking about.

4. Framing – Set up your shot so that it is pleasing to the eye. You generally want to have the subject center of frame but not with to much room to the left or right of them, with a few inches of room above their head and make sure you don’t cut off the subjects head.

5. Just start shooting – With how advanced technology has gotten you can start creating videos with your smart phone. Most smart phones can record video at 1080p if not higher, and with proper lighting and in a controlled environment you can get great sound quality too. You can even do some light editing right on the phone and upload the video online.

What’s it like to be a Sports Editor?

Being the sports editor was something that I expected coming into the newsroom. I know that it is the most declined position on the paper; some people just aren’t into sports. Personally, I’m indifferent to being the sports editor for plenty of reasons, but the main one is just that I’m not a “sports guy.”

I didn’t know particularly how to follow sports at first and I just wasn’t into it. Like I said though, I expected to become the sports editor. Once the fall semester of 2015 was over, I tried to learn more.

Although I had a small knowledge of basketball and boxing, I tried to learn more about the analytics. After a few months, I felt like I had a good base to write sports stories from, but I still needed some help. Getting help here is pretty easy though, because almost everyone is happy to help. Unfortunately, it got to a point where I felt like I was being coddled. That is why I always felt crappy every time I messed something up.

The thing about being a sports editor is that getting sports stories isn’t hard at all. You just bring up a website and see which games you want to cover. The hard part is getting writers and photographers to go and cover the games. I don’t know how many times I needed a writer for a game and they were not available. It was always the same group of people that wanted to cover the games for me, and I am grateful for them. It also didn’t hurt to write some articles myself, in case of emergency. And there are emergencies, trust me.

In all, this has to be one of the most intense but rewarding positions I’ve had so far. Being the sports editor was a blessing in disguise. Although I came in not expecting anything except doing my job, I learned a great deal. Without the partiality of sports, I was more focused on the job at hand and it kept me from going crazy when experimenting. It also helped me be more diverse with my writing as well as my experience reach.

Everyone who wants to have a career in journalism has to cover whatever is available, whether it is sports or a feature story. Make sure you take every opportunity that you can, it might just serve you well like it did me.

Blynn Beltran
TSV Sports Editor

The amount of enthusiasm helps me enjoy writing

Having attended two other community colleges in my life, and therefore considering myself something of a connoisseur, I just need to take a moment to gush about Skyline, which is the cream of the crop as far as community colleges go in my experience. The amount of enthusiasm and student involvement is in stark contrast to other schools I’ve attended, but also logical given the number of programs here and the fact that most students are given an outlet to pursue what they’re passionate about. There is much, much more to be done here than just “get general ed out of the way,” which is extremely refreshing.

The Skyline View newsroom is no exception. At first glance, it would be difficult to tell that the staff members have anything in common at all, and in a lot of ways we don’t. But we do share similar levels of enthusiasm and curiosity and respect each others work, making for a happy, comfortable environment in the newsroom. I do say that as a staff writer, and not an editor, which seems to be infinitely more stressful. But the main reason it looks so stressful to me is that I know that the editors actually care about what they’re doing.

Writing for the Skyline View has been far, far more interesting than I expected. I wasn’t initially excited to cover stories that pertain only to the community at Skyline, feeling that I would just be writing drivel that nobody would care about. But it turns out that there is way more happening on or pertaining to the campus than I realized. And people actually read our work! I’ve developed a new respect for college newspapers and come to realize that there are big stories that no other outlet is as capable of covering. For instance, while writing a story about the football unionization efforts at Northwestern University, I found myself struggling to think of sources. It then occurred to me to contact the sports editor of Northwestern’s paper, who proved to be an absolutely invaluable resource and knew more about the story than most major media outlets.

Another inspiring moment earlier in the semester was right after class let out and I found myself amongst four other staff members drawn to a fender bender in the parking lot. It turned out to not be story-worthy, but it was great to be around other people who were inspired by class and curious about what was going on.

Overall, my first semester at Skyline has been a great experience so far, although more work than I’d anticipated. But the hard work is part of what makes it great, as well as being around so many other people willing and able to devote themselves to what they love doing.

By Jeanita Lyman

TSV Staff Writer

The Mighty Pen

Confusion From Within and the Mighty Pen

Last week, Skyline College sent out an email with revisions to it’s media policy discouraging all faculty from speaking with any press, including The Skyline View. The revised policy said something to the effect that no faculty member should speak directly with media personnel and that all questions from the media must be sent via email to the interviewee. The interviewee is then to submit said questions to the public relations department for review so that said questions can be answered “properly.”

The truly mighty pen comes through with backlash from not only us here at The Skyline View but also from local San Mateo media, The Daily Journal, as well. Pedaling backwards when questioned about this revised policy, Skyline officials responded saying that the way the email sounded or read was not actually what they were trying to articulate. Apparently, infringement upon Skyline’s faculty and staff’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech was actually not what they intended. According to an article in The Skyline View, the current, revised media policy is being revised once again to try and properly communicate and clarify what the school’s media policy actually is.

Do we really want to live in a world where the truth is filtered through some public relations and marketing department? This incident turned out to be a victory for the media and is a shining example of how powerful the press can be. The pen is truly mightier than the sword. Protect free speech!

By:Chris Dejohn

TSV Staff Writer

Not your typical newsroom

I think a lot of people picture a typical newsroom the way we all remember The Daily Planet from “Superman” comics: an angry old white guy barking orders at his savvy, grey-suited reporter underlings, while interns and mail-room lackeys run around yelling, “Extra, Extra! Hot scoop!” The newsroom has been historically sold as a place where any John Q. Public can storm into the editor’s office, throw down a photo of the mayor getting busy with his mistress and the editor shouts something about the Pulitzer Prize.

Alas, I’m not sure Pulitzer Prizes are that easy to come by.

If we were writing stories about flying aliens who speak perfect English – yet still wear their underwear on the outside – and spend their free time punching bad guys through buildings, this might be true. More likely, if that’s what we were writing about, we’d be self-publishing a fan-fiction blog that only our moms commented on.

The Skyline View newsroom is an actual place, in that it exists and you can go there, but the reality is that the View’s newsroom is wherever the staff is at any given moment. The newsroom is where we congregate to report to our editors, but news only happens in the newsroom if an aggrieved former writer kicks the door down seeking revenge. In my short time on staff we have had our fair share of unhinged-looking basement-dwelling former staff stop by, but none of them were armed.

Until that happens, our stories happen out in the world, and while almost everyone lives out in the world somewhere, not just anyone can write a story that will make a grizzled old editor-in-chief spit out his cigar and declare, “Front page! I smell a Pulitzer!”

A good story needs to be technically clean in addition to delivering an interesting narrative. The View does away with most sit-and-stare informational settings, and focuses on developing skills, so that we lowly staff can get out in the world and live the stories as filtered through a journalist’s eye.

The View’s newsroom doesn’t look much like Clark Kent’s Daily Planet because real journalism is simply a reflection of life. Our staff is comprised of many different personalities from many different backgrounds and cultures. We come together in the newsroom only to distill our own experiences into the stories you read here and on the pages of the print edition, stories that we hope reflect not just our own lives but the lives of all of our readers.

By Dave Newlands

TSV Writer/Graphic Artist