Journalism: Year 1.


This is Maddie; I took this photo of her on an afternoon spent watching the LCC Gymnastics Team compete for two hours while trying to get a photo worthy on being printed for others… She had just finished performing an, from what I could tell, amazing floor routine in front of a judge, her team, and bleachers where people where scattered throughout.

This is Maddie in her reign, doing what she is passionate about.

I think about passions a lot. More specifically, the fact that I’m not passionate about anything anymore. I used to be; I used to dance competitively, earn various belts in MMA, leave school only to sit in another class to study and practice art–all of which simultaneously kept be busy for six years. I don’t do any of those things anymore and I honestly don’t know why that is, I wish I did. I wish I was passionate about something again.

I like to think that every has -ism’s; when you think of someone, their -ism’s are often the first thing that come to mind. See, this makes me sad because I swear–or, swore–that I no longer have an -ism. I’m not a “dancer”, a “MMA fighter”, or an “artist”. I’m just Nataly.

I don’t know if that’s necessarily a bad thing, I just long for a passion and, unfortunately, that doesn’t happen over night. It does, however, happen through the course of a year in journalism.

On the same afternoon that Maddie and the rest of her teammates competed, I stood to the side of the mat with my finger hovering over a button on the camera gripped tightly in my hand. If you had post me this in the beginning of the school year, I wouldn’t believe you. Nataly, who enrolled in journalism for writing purposes and, admitted, on a whim, would not believe you. Now I do. Now that I am here, reminding myself of all the times someone has told me “I saw you taking pictures today,”–of my -ism, I do.

Maddie does flips and I capture it; she is the gymnast, I am the photographer, and we are both passionate about what we do.

Stepping aside from what I’ve discussed, I want to talk about how happy I am–I’m not quite sure this is how formatting works but this is my blog and I’m a mess so why not let it mirror me.

Journalism has made me so happy! I mean, honestly. I’ve made so many new friends and acquaintances that I am about 112% sure I would have never interacted with otherwise. It’s kind of strange to picture myself talking to all of these different people and actually enjoying it–I know that sounds slightly bad but I swear it’s not what it seems. Just hear me out for a second:

I’ve met all of these completely different types of people, and have formed genuine bonds with many of them, all because we had one single common interest. I can smile at familiar faces when they walk past because they like journalism; because I like journalism.

I think this class has made me grow in more ways that I ever could’ve imagined and that just makes me so happy; that is all.

Trying My Best


There are two things I wish to talk about: fealty and falling short. Being in journalism/part of the photography section has helped me learn more about myself, and it’s the strangest thing. I never really assumed that a class could change me–and, no, I’m not talking some crazy new enlightenment or anything–simply, the things I do in the class are allowing me to discover new things about myself; I’m glad I met Nataly.

On my birthday, I spent my lunch period snapping photos of sushi… Fun, right? Actually, it was, which surprised me. I’m not going to bother lying and say that I wasn’t upset once I realized the date of HungryMav; It’s not like it would take super long, but I wanted to spend that lunch period with friends–reasonably. But, I also realized that it’s part of my job as a photographer and I signed up to do work. So, ultimately, there was no reason for me to sit and complain when I could just do the work that I promised others.

Responsibility is crazy thing, isn’t it?

The crazy thing was, I wasn’t bothered in the slightest way when I found myself behind the lens. Photography is something that I’m truly interested in and I couldn’t be more thankful for that; if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t have enjoyed spending time with dead fish…

With that, I did manage to hit a bump in the road: scheduling! It can be so difficult! Not in the sense that I never had time to do anything, because, let’s be honest, I’m lucky if I ever do anything with my life outside of this class, but the fact that I have to work with people who have schedules of their own. For this cycle, I needed to reach out to specific people in order to meet with them for a few photos needed for the paper. Which, is a usually easy process since people are typically very flexible and willing to cooperate–not that the people I was in contact with wasn’t thrilled to be in front of the lens or anything like that, simply, they had other things to do. I totally get that! Trust me, I do; they had other commitments as do I, and any other human being on the planet for that matter.

Essentially, this led to e-mailing back & forth while trying–for the life of me–to not be pesky and deciding to meet when it would never actually happen. My teacher (hi Hardcastle) always reminds our class that we can’t survive on an attitude of well, I tried, so it’s not my fault. Actually, it kind of is if you only “tried” once! If you want to get something done, you have to do it yourself and for this cycle, I did it myself.

Internet Kidzzzz


Tom Mallory is just about everything I want to be in a person; hands down–not necessarily because of his profession or the pressed blazer that he sported, but because of the passion he had when he spoke to us. Honestly, I don’t know how to fully explain it but the fact that he had found something that he loved enough to share with it others excites me. I want to find something like that for myself one day.

Something that I personally enjoyed was that he asked us questions–guests don’t do that. Most of the time, no one bothers to muster up anything and the guests leaves on a rather low note. That didn’t happen this time; this time, he flipped the script on us and we were the ones under the spotlight.

We were asked where we get our news. Of course, we got it from the internet; everyone is done on the internet now–we’re internet kids. Now, this isn’t a bad thing. It really isn’t, edification is a fantastic thing & its how we, as a society, continue to survive.

The issue is, as Mallory explained, news isn’t limited anymore. Well, maybe “issue” isn’t the proper term  to use here. All this really means is that news sources are competing with the whole world at this point. Journalists now have to work harder to win this competition–they, we, have motivation now to produce quality content to stand out from the rest:

You have to develop your voice.

LCC’s journalism team is developing, for sure. And as we’re developing, I think we need to continue to have a voice–not that we don’t currently, but it’s always a good reminder. You can’t be told this enough times, it’s impossible.

The least I can say is we were lucky to have a guest like Tom Mallory.

Flip Phone Quality

Image result for flip phone mirror selfie
me on the journalism job XDDDDD

Returning to photo, I already knew the gist of what I would be doing; of course, that’s the reason I opted to permanently work in this section for the second semester. While the type of stories/events I was assigned to cover were essentially the same, I found that my take on each one was different. I mean, this could all be in my head, but I’ve realized that I’ve become more comfortable with a camera–giving me the ability to find better ways to capture a moment or idea. In the first cycle, I typically stood around at first trying to decide what it was that I wanted to do/where I would find the most action to shoot. This time around, there wasn’t as much doubt as I had harvested before. With each assignment, I knew what I wanted to do; I guess, in a sense, I’ve grown a keen eye to what would make a better picture than the last. As far as if this is actually true it questionable, I’ll admit it–but the idea has stuck around long enough to give me confidence when choosing a story to work with.

Quite frankly, I can’t find anything that is necessarily hard about photography more so myself being punctilious over what it is I am capturing. In other words, I want to get the perfect moment while also worrying about each setting in place. With each sound of the camera clicking, however, I find myself getting more “into it”; which I believe applies to most anything that one does. I’ve noticed this when going through which pictures to keep after an affair; my photos progressed as time went by. I think that’s something important to keep in mind when it comes to photography.

I think that’s something important to keep in mind in general; good things take time.

Pertinaciously Dogmatic… At Least I Thought


As many people do, I joined journalism for the writing aspect of the course; to be quite honest, I had little to no clue about the sections established in the class let alone what I wanted to do. At the beginning of the year, we were given a  digest of each section and almost immediately, my heart was set on opinion. I went through photography and working on the web to finally land myself in opinion for a cycle. It was an exciting experience and I enjoyed the work, don’t get me wrong, it just wasn’t what I expected.

The cycle itself was easy, the format and options for me in terms of what to write about was actually fairly liberating in the smallest sense–not that writing in web was terrible, I practically loved the pace of each story, it’s just that opinion had less restrictions in terms of the writing style in general. I did like that about opinion; it was my favorite thing about being in this section, by far. The thing is, I found that I try to censor/restrict myself when not needed at most times. I blame myself for worrying more about the people who would eventually read my words versus sharing everything that I wished to express. My biggest challenge, by far, was finding a way to voice my opinion without letting myself stress over what others would think. I mean, after all, it is my opinion.

Despite trying to cut off my own words, I’m proud with what I’ve managed to produce. I can easily say that I chose to write about something that I am more than passionate about; making it easy to explain my opinion. I’ve never written for the paper until now and I can say that I’m 100% full of gratification knowing that I pushed myself to do something that I would otherwise be terrified to do. I’ve found that opinion, and journalism as a whole for that matter, has been nothing but edification–I’m not as timid as before. I’m still shy, don’t get me wrong I haven’t had this sudden enlightenment or something of the sort. But, my character has grown more than I can handle… and I kind of love it.

The Time I Grew Up a Little

Image result for transgender flag

While I’ve attended multiple LGBTQ events in the past, as I’m a proud supporter, this was my first time walking in a parade; the 2016 Encinitas Holiday Parade, that is. When I got there, I remember being too excited to worry about my step-mom screaming her head off about the traffic. I don’t get that. Traffic really isn’t as malevolent as the way everyone makes it out to be. I mean, if you’re running late then I totally understand but, if you’re simply stuck in traffic, then it’s almost relaxing. I’m serious; every second of our day moves so incredibly quick that we can’t even enjoy it. Traffic forces us to slow down, whether we want to or not, so it’s better to just enjoy it versus instantly growing frustrated. So, of course, I drowned out the yelling and focused on the people bundled up in beanies and blankets. There were way too many people, if you ask me. That’s only because I’m scared of big crowds–most people are.

My step-mom dropped us off and we got off the car and to start walking down the street. I grabbed my stepsister’s hand so that I wouldn’t lose her in the crowd. I brought her with me so that she couldn’t cry about me not inviting her later; she’s like that. After sending a few texts, we managed to find our way to our group–the North County LGBTQ Resource Center–by 7pm. I really only knew a handful of people there but, with just my luck, my school had set up right in front of us. Jacob, a guy in the band, called me over and I said hi to him and a few others; if I’m being honest, I made conversations out of nothing just to make sure that I wouldn’t have to go back to my group and talk to new people. I don’t know why I do that, it’s pretty inane if I’m being real with myself. I expect to make new friends without being friendly… What kind of logic is that? None, I guess. I also managed to sneak by to say hi to my English teacher who I may have accidentally agreed spoke ‘way too much.’ I swear I didn’t mean it, I just didn’t want there to be a pause in the conversation because that’s always brutal and I had stuttered out a “yeah” before realizing what I was actually “yeah”-ing to. Thankfully, she laughed it off (a clear example of why I like her as much as I do.) At some point I realized that I would stop doing dumb things if I just went back to my section; it sort of worked.

After what seemed like forever, it was time to share our pride–yes, that means waving around colorful flags. I swear each flag actually means something even if it doesn’t look like it. I mean, I would assume that a pink, blue, and white flag was just a flag with pretty colors. Not that that’s not true, but it’s supposed to symbolize the transgender community. Transgenders are pretty too though, if not more, so I guess it works out that way. That’s the flag my stepsister held. She’s not a transgender but she supports them. People never seem to understand that and I can’t wrap my head around why that is. It’s really like wearing a sports team merchandise if you think about it. People wear Broncos gear but that doesn’t mean they’re a football player. They just support them. My stepsister can carry a transgender encouraged flag without being transgender. She just supports them.

Our colorful group started walking and our leader called out something rather exciting: “If we spread out enough, we can cover 60ft.”

I don’t know. It sounds kind of foolish that that is what got me excited but it truly did. I think it was the pure idea of everyone sitting alongside the curbs would see 60ft of a community and message that I believe in. It doesn’t sound like much but you really have to be passionate about something to get that feeling. That makes me happy too; having something to be passionate about. It makes me feel like I have something to live for–and no, that wasn’t intended to sound sepulchral in the slightest. It’s a good thing, really. I live to be able to express and enjoy what I’m passionate about. If I didn’t feel this way about something, I don’t know what I would be living for.

So, my vivacious 60ft of pride started down the street. I made sure to stand on the side so that I would be able to give people high-fives along the way; the people who did that in parades were always my favorite and I wanted to be my own favorite. Self-indulged? Maybe just a bit. Anyways, I did just that by high-fiving every hand that reached out to me. Each hand was fairly small considering that mostly children partook in this unsaid parade tradition. While walking, a hand attached to a pink-sweatered arm reached out and waved until I got close enough to seal the deal. This arm belonged to an unarguably cute girl with sleek black hair and bangs. She was probably around 8 years old because her endearing grin was made up with a few gaps where teeth would eventually grow in permanently. Once our hands touched, we made eye contact and it was so incredibly heartwarming. Every interaction was heartwarming, of course, but this girl was more than happy to reach her hand out and share a happy moment of her evening with me even if it only lasted for two seconds.

That is, two seconds until her mother pulled her back by her pink hood. I kept looking at the girl and her mother since the occurrence only did so much as to confuse me. And then, it came out: the words that made me grow up a little the second I saw the gapped-smile fade.

“Don’t touch those kind of people, they’re dirty.”

To this day, I don’t know if the lady was referring to the color of my skin or what my group stood for when she used the word ‘dirty’. That really irks me, but either way, it doesn’t make anything better. It’s not that I was oblivious to people who are indifferent, it was just the first time I had seem something of that sort firsthand. I really wish I never had. It was shocking but not in the sense that I didn’t know things like this occurred–it’s hard to explain, honestly.  The thought of pure, happy kids being taught otherwise makes me doleful. In a way, it knocked me off a few pegs. I realized that, despite what little difference I could ever try to make, our social system will never really reach edification because beliefs are heirlooms. Whether you inherit them or not is your choice, but a parent only feeds their children what they want them to believe. That small child, full of innocence I’m sure, thought nothing other than sharing something as simple as a high-five with someone like her. It’s her mother, who’s going to make her divide the people she once saw equal to her into tiers. Don’t get me wrong, to each their own but I can’t fathom the idea of regression. It kills my ambition.

I hate to break it to you, but my fantasy of a perfect world full of rainbows and unicorns died a lot time ago. I don’t think I was ever not faced with the reality and I have no doubt that it took away from my childhood. Seriously, I want the girl wrapped in a pink sweater to have a childhood for as long as possible. I wish I could tell her that; I’ll always wish that. Except, wishes don’t usually come true and I still had to finish walking down the street with a smile on my face and high-five other little kids while the idea of their parents teaching them ‘right from wrong’ haunted me in the process.

I finished the parade alright; it went by a lot faster than I thought too. To be frank, I was worried about the walk in it’s entirety but that’s only because I’m the laziest person you could ever meet. I swear, I could probably break a record for being lazy if I really tried to. Despite it being rather late by the time my step-mom rolled around, it wasn’t all that cold. I thought it would be worse, but I guess I didn’t pay enough attention to the temperature. It’s weird how things like that happen: I usually shiver in 80 degree weather, yet, my clouded mind made me forget about the clouded weather.

I still think about that little girl–probably more than I can take. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s simply a lot to manage and consider. It makes me feel like I can’t sit around and expect things to happen out of nothing–that’s not how life works. I feel responsible for, not just her, but anyone that could ever possibly be under my influence in that sense. It’s actually a terrifying thought if you want to know the truth.  I hope her and her smile are doing okay.

10,000 Dollar Fire Breaks Out in Culinary Arts Class Held at La Costa Canyon High School

hi this isn’t lcc this is just for comedic effect bye

On a typical Tuesday morning, students in Stacy Hardcastle’s second period of culinary arts faced the capricious outbreak of a conflagration over Grandma’s homemade pancakes. As a student made a simple mistake, her peers needed to reflect on the safety lesson taught at the beginning of the year in order to manage the flames while refraining from anarchy.

As partners Jill Carter and Maya Harrison worked on making a batch of pancakes, a fire fomented due to the pan being overheated. Out of instinct, Harrison managed to pour water over the fire in hopes to suppress it. To their dismay, grease fires only grow when water is added to the mix.

“I saw the fire and grabbed the water [for there is water at each station for said situations],” Harrison said. “But it only got worse.”

A student nearby, Cole Dean, remembered the lesson held on kitchen safety towards the beginning of this school year.

“We had to grab baking soda to like… put out the fire properly,” Dean said. “Mrs.Hardcastle taught us that in the beginning of the year.”

All the meanwhile, Hardcastle was monitoring the twenty stations disseminated throughout the class. By the time she arrived, the damage was done.

“I was rotating around the twenty groups cooking,” Hardcastle said. “Because the fire was so large, it melted the counter and destroyed the burner, as well as resulting in burn damage on the cabinet and ceiling.

Thankfully, this fire did not burn out the optimism at LCC. With winter break around the corner, the station is hoped to be renewed once the students return from the two weeks off. Along with a new station – provided by the schools income – an updated safety meeting was called to attention.

“Well, we talked about it in class afterwards and we made new safety classifications. A large box of baking soda was added to each station to prevent this was happening again,” Hardcastle said.

While a fire can most definitely be a terrifying experience, Dan Stuart is able to bring light to the situation.

“I inhaled the cloud of smoke,” Stuart said. “It was quite traumatizing, I will never eat pancakes again.”

A Quotidian of Effort


I am shocked. Completely shocked. Entering this cycle, I was overwhelmed with worries: from working with new people to producing quick-paced stories;I’m pretty sure it would even be safe to say I was on the verge of being the next 2007 Britney once assigned to work on web. With this rotation, however,  learned a lot more about myself and my work ethic in a more than positive way. I most definitely got to work outside of my comfort zone, talk/interview so many people on campus, and began to write in news format for the first time.

I found myself talking to people in my section much quicker the second time around; I thank working in photo beforehand for this – as my character grew gregarious from the experience. This attitude also applied to my interviews.

Walking into my first interview, 2007 Britney suddenly became more intriguing. Considering that web stories ranged from twenty minute conversations to asking students simple, quick questions around campus, I’d like to believe that I won’t be shaving my head anytime soon. If anything, interviews have become one of my favorite parts of journalism.

Once again, I am shocked. Completely shocked.

My next cycle choice, however, is not much of a shock: Opinion.

Considering that I have yet to write for print, I think the process would be rather interesting; will my 2007 Britney phase return? Most likely. Writing for print and opinion, however, has seemed to be my main goal for journalism; either way, I’m more than happy with my development in journalism as a whole.

Time For a Family Meeting


To be frank, finding someone willing to share their life was rather hard; if anything, strangers in the past seemed to open up to me more than my own family members. A cousin of mine, Aracely Ruiz agreed and shared the not the bright moments of growing up. This cousin, in particular, has always carried herself in a run and positive manner. Aracely is always the one to make jokes throughout an entire family reunion – this interview showcased what was behind her drollery.

I found that interviewing someone with such an emotional story is one of the hardest things to do (I can only imagine being on the other side as well, allowing myself to be vulnerable). I believe that during an interview it is important to maintain a level of composure while still being considerate of the interviewee. Keeping this in mind, I had to remind myself to be attentive in order ask appropriate follow-up questions. This assignment only made me realize how important follow-up questions are; without them, there wouldn’t be a story to write and/or share with the rest of the world.

Of course, not every interview will always revolve around ones hardships – for not every story has a bad ending. This experience, however, has allowed me to grow as an interviewer in the sense that I can adapt myself to multifarious situations.

Driving Solo


Where one might grow up admiring their father from between their arms, Aracely Ruiz saw her father through bars on Easter between 11am to 3pm; the visitation hours of the prison nearby.

Upon being released from his strenuous sentence, Ruiz was under the impression of starting a strong relationship with her father. As time passed, however, Ruiz came to the realization that this would not be the case.

“October 18, 2014 was the day I thought things would change. It was the first time in ten years that I had seem [my dad] in something other than grey sweats and a tank top. He got a job and everything was looking up for me,” Ruiz said. “Until he found himself a girlfriend – a new family. It was as if he forgot he had kids of his own; she became the only priority in his life.”

Ruiz found that, as time passed, her father only became more distant and less of a dad.

“He would flip out if I even asked for five dollars to buy a Coaster ticket,” Ruiz said. “It was like I still didn’t have a dad in my life… again.”

At this time, Ruiz began to resent her father for the endless neglection she felt.

“He didn’t care about me so I wantes nothing to do with him,” Ruiz said. “I still don’t and that’s really sad to realize.”

Ruiz knew that to help herself cope, being doleful was not the answer. This conclusion allowed Ruiz to push herself to do something that would better her confidence.

“I always said I wanted my own car; but it’s really so much more that,” Ruiz said. “I wanted to do something for myself, to show that I didn’t need a father to do things for me.”

Where most find themselves alongside their parents once entering the world of adulthood, Ruiz found herself proud of the life she has laid out for herself.

“I’m only 18 years old and I provide myself with what I need all on my own,” Ruiz said. “I have my own job now and am enrolled in college; both of which I drive myself to in my own lil’ PT Cruiser… purchased without my father’s paycheck.”

Ruiz explains that one should not be dependant on someone else for their own success.

“No one but yourself should determine how far you go in life. If you want to make something out of yourself, you need to be the one to do it. You. You are strong enough to rely on yourself,” Ruiz said. “God knows I am.”