Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Guess who has Adobe CS4


That would be me!

Now, originally, my Toshiba laptop wasn’t powerful enough to support Creative Suite 3, yet for some uncanny reason, it can run CS4! Or, at least InDesign CS4 thus far. And judging by the system requirements for Photoshop, I’ll be able to slam that down, too!

Long story short: I am now a desktop publishing professional that has more resources (at least concerning design software) than most newspapers. By the time I have ALL of this amazing suite, I will literally be unstoppable.There is no company newsletter I cannot design. No business card too benign for me. I will attack the publishing market in a ruthless fashion, for I can offer all that anyone else can.

Too bad nobody prints in this economy! I’ll just dig through Craigslist classifieds for now…

Monday, March 30, 2009

Pabst next to Powells

Holly, Ben, Heidi and I went to Rocco’s Pizza for pizza, breadsticks and a $5 pitcher of PBR today. Downtown Portland is awesome.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Portland or Bust

On Friday, after a ridiculous decision to play late-night quarters with Nick and David (indeed, shades of San Diego all over again…), I decided to head over to Seattle and see my bro and his family. Mind you, this decision to hit the Emerald City before Portland was made just two days before leaving Coeur d’Alene. And while I had to scramble by packing the morning of my departure, not to mention designing a newsletter for the athletic department – and a golf team flier – I hit Seattle just in time for 5 o’clock traffic: The worst traffic in America. With a hangover? Mother of God.

But holy hell, it was so worth it!

Even though Gonzaga lost Friday to UNC, Michael (my elder brother) and I met up with some family and hit two bars before succumbing to 4 a.m. McDonalds in a taxi. The next morning his two sons compared their hungover uncle Jake and dad as twins: Both snoring and sleeping in until the afternoon. Laura, their mother, even bought us burgers and Gatorade when we woke up at 1 p.m. I love that house.

It got better (though it got worse, first, after a hellacious 3-hour drive in a pouring, pounding, monsoon-like downpour from Seattle to Portland) when I finally saw Holly and her family.

Best. Saturday. Ever.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

SND design contest

Today, much to my surprise, I awoke to numerous voicemails from my newspaper advisor, Nils. Although he is succumbed to jury duty, apparently he made time to check his school mail, for, it appears, he opened a letter from the Society of Professional Journalists care/of the University of Missouri.

Anyway, The Sentinel just shelled out $116 to pay for entry submissions for a major design competition. And, aside from one STAFF submission, ALL the rest had but one byline: Jake Donahue!

Obviously, as I care more – nay, obsess – about the paper’s design, I was able to submit roughly 10 or 12 designs I felt marketable to those whom judge my work.

Cross your fingers!

What’s more, I also submitted seven separate designs toward the “designer of the year” contest. I truly doubt I have a chance at this notoriety; however, I also seriously doubted the Poynter Fellowship! So, maybe, just maybe, even if I don’t win “Non-Daily Designer of the Year,” I can still win a few awards.

It’s a prestigious contest, so even 2nd or 3rd place is admirable.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Moving home…

My entire life, as I moved from Seattle to Idaho to Oregon, back to Idaho and then back to Oregon, and then back to Idaho last year, I have only considered one house home: My grandparents’.

When we first moved from Seattle to Coeur d’Alene, my mom and sisters and I stayed with them for a month or two while we searched for our own house in Cd’A. Then when I moved up for the summer after Oregon State, I moved in with them permanently while attending NIC. Later, after a failed attempt at living with my then-girlfriend, I moved back.

Well, as my lease runs up on my current apartment and money is tighter than my old Griffey jerseys, I’M MOVING BACK IN!

And this time I am seriously stoked for the idea. Firstly, I’m bringing my best friend (my grandpa has NEVER had grub from a gas BBQ). This bad boy is my most prized possession, and I would kill for it:


Secondly, I my grandma is essentially my best friend. I talk to her almost daily, and between her and my grandpa, I have learned more than all my years at school. What’s more, she is also VERY amazing at helping me budget and save my money. Thirdly, both of them are AMAZING cooks. My grandpa, in particular, is an exceptional baker, and has made the greatest piece of bread ever to graze my carb-hungry palate. So, by living with him daily, I will undoubtedly learn how to create my own carbohydrate creations.

Not only that, I simply love living in the woods out of town, less than a mile from the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene. When it snows 4-inches in town, they get over a foot; when it’s 100-degrees on the lake, their tree-filled acreage keeps the house cooler. Summer or Winter, it’s a win-win.

But like I said, living in the woods is pure nirvana. Here are some snapshots from their property, from summer sunsets to the creek, a moose in the backyard to my grandpa’s old (like 1940s old!) tractor:

The following photos were taken all from within 2 or 3 minutes of their front door (I’ve probably posted them all at one point or another, but just to give you an idea of how awesome the location of their house is):




Yeah, I guess you could say I’m sitting pretty. Moreover, since I’ll be moving to Oregon this summer with to be with my wondrous girlfriend, I’m really glad to spend my remaining time in Coeur d’Alene with two of the closest people in my life.

How I tore my ACL… or did I?


Yesterday morning, as I sat typing away on my Mac in The Sentinel office, a bewildering expression transcended our news editor’s face; a look that immediately led me to believe something unpleasant was quickly approaching.

But first, let’s preface this story with that of where the entire scenario begins:

It was brought to my attention that a female, 19-year-old student was caught in a Sandpoint bar by police. Rather than face the music and accept her doom (I can’t imagine the fine that would be levied against her, much less the bar), she darted out the back door – much like I would have done at that age - and attempted to elude the cops. I say “attempted” because she was, in fact, quite unsuccessful. For, although she denies the cops yelled, “Stop!” she succumbed to their enforcing ways as the target to their taser. Now, she believes she will successfully sue the department for excessive force.

Excessive force? Are you kidding me? While she drunkenly denies that the cops asked her to stop, she still ran from the cops! How is detaining her by any means necessary “excessive force?” I hope she loses, and gets a HUGE fine.

This was all presented to myself and Scott (News Editor) as a potential story for The Sentinel. While I obviously disagree with the woman, we decided some sort of story should be written. But then Scott and I disagreed further: I think the 19-year-old woman is a friggin’ retard, and deserves every penalty levied against her, but Scott and our A/E Editor believe the cops are at fault.

And that’s when I noticed that grimace across Scott’s face.

“Excessive force?” he bellowed. “I’ll show you excessive force!”

He lunged toward me from across the room, arms wide as he bear-hugged me in my chair. I, tired from a long night of boozing the night before, unknowingly expected a full tackle from him (he’s been known to take me down before), and thus responded immediately in my irritated, hungover mentality: I blindly wrapped my armd9-6_LG around his head in a make-shift headlock and threw all my weight toward the opposite direction of his lean.

Bad mistake.

We half-circled out of my chair and toward another desk. I knew all 440 pounds of our combined mass was sure to pound the back of my head against that desk, yet as I missed it by mere inches, threw my knee into his gut before hitting the floor. Given his large mass (roughly the same as my own) and our momentum toward the floor, it makes sense that his body tweaked my knee so bad I erupted into a series of screaming yelps.

At first, I though my knee was completely broken. I writhed in pain on the floor, clutching my knee as I tried to recollect what just transpired. Immediately, I knew that his full weight had pushed my knee in a sideways hyperextension. How bad? I prayed for the best yet prepared for the worst.

It turned out I could still stand on it – barely – and could hobble around the room in pain. My knees are bad to begin with, yet this was the most pain I had experienced yet. Of course, I was instantly called a pussy for whining, and so I ignored the injury for the time being.

Last night, however, it progressively got worse. What started as a raging pain behind my knee, spread down to the top of my calf and circled around the side of my knee. I researched the symptoms on WebMD and was given the worst diagnosis I could hope for: A torn ACL.

Well, let’s just hope that I’m overhyping the extent of this injury, and perhaps it’s just a sprain or strain. Needless to say, I’m still in an immense amount of pain, and using crutches today only helps. But when I go to Oregon next week, I’ll definitely be seeing the family doctor.

Who else but me gets a common athletic disaster of an injury in the most unathletic of places – a college newsroom? I always knew The Sentinel would lead to my demise.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Confident or Cocky? Dare I say both?

Looking back upon the body of journalistic work I have amassed since donning a reporter’s hat in 2000, many an award-winning article has increased the size of my head. From photography awards in high school, writing awards when I started at NIC to my present Poynter Fellowship for design in 2009, I guess I have a reason to be confident.

However, as I take a step back and gander at all that I’ve done, I ultimately realize that while I may be climbing the peak of my journalistic potential, what have I seriously accomplished aside from gaining a cocky attitude and thus ostracizing those professionally near me? Indeed, my newsroom skills have come as a blessing, but it seems that in all aspects of my life I come across more cocky than confident, more egotistical than befriending.

Even as a mediocre co-ed softball player, I denounced the fact that I misread a flyball, but rather blame the late-inning error on my drunkenness.

I seem to always have an excuse.

Whether it’s a writer’s folly or a section editor’s mistake within The Sentinel, I dare not admit my own fault concerning the small failures within the Paper.

Or do I?

I seem to think that where I am most over-confident – cocky, asshole-like if you will – is also where I am most humble. Maybe, even in my humblest state, I am still overly cocky – and vice versa. For, I love recognition. I yearn for it. I have never been one to shy away from the spotlight. Yet when things run awry, I still seemingly appear at the center of said problem. When a writer of mine recently was called into question for his reporting, I instantly took full responsibility for letting the article be published. Did I do this because I honestly backed him up? Or was it because I wanted to be involved? Needless to say, every article that is published goes through me, and thus really is a reflection of what I think should be published: Thus a reflection of Jake Donahue. And so I think all things Sentinel-related are but a manifestation of what I hope for – whether I want it or not. Their successes, and more importantly their failures, should undoubtedly be attributed to me.

Nevertheless, I still fully believe that I am an overly-cocky individual. My family notices it when I become ruthless during Pictionary battles on Christmas Eve, or even during family softball games when I belittle my younger cousins for even the most mundane of errors. My girlfriend and her mom witnessed the wrath of my Pictionary ways during last Thanksgiving, and I can only admit that my recent recollections are but a response to my future wife’s concerns.

It may take some time, and it’s not going to be easy (by any means!), but I truly yearn to become a more humble individual. Whether it’s an accomplishment I relish after deciding NOT to run up the score over an opposing Little League team, a night where I succumb to the winning temptations of a holiday board game with my family, or even letting a guy on the freeway merge in front of me, I will work on becoming more humble.

I owe it to my girlfriend, to my family, to my present and future co-workers, but most importantly, to myself.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Spring Break

Since The Sentinel – and all things journalism-related, for that matter – are pretty much all I’m going to school for the rest of my final semester at NIC, Spring Break is really a lot longer for me than it would be for most others. Unfortunately for me, I’m still a little too obsessed to leave the newsroom for more than a few days at a time.

Well, that is about to change when I leave this Friday morning for Seattle to see my brother, his wife and their kids. More importantly, the Gonzaga game is Friday night at 6:57 p.m., so I will still be able to see their Sweet 16 matchup (rumors had swirled around my family that tipoff was set for 10 a.m. That would have put a dent in my traveling schedule, for sure!)

Needless to say, Go Zags!

They face No. 1-seed North Carolina, a school they beat at Madison Square Gonzaga_2Gardens a few years back when the Tarheels were ranked No. 1 in the nation. While coach Roy Williams’ team and most of the country look past this matchup toward that Championship game (against whom they all figure to be Memphis), hopefully Mark Few and the Bulldogs can catch UNC on their heels. Sure, Lawson is healthy and Hansbrough is but a man amongst boys, but Jeremy Pargo (click here to see his amazing dunk over Akron in the opening round) and the rest of the team are indeed a talented squad. Moreover, they are still the talk of the tournament after Goodsen’s game-winning layup to beat cinderella-to-be Western Kentucky on Saturday.

Nevertheless, I stray from my point: Spring Break!

So I’m headed to Seattle Friday morning, then driving to Portland Saturday afternoon to hang out with Holly’s mom and sister until my dear girlfriend gets off work. I’ll be in Portland from Saturday through the following Saturday, April 4th.

The highlight of my week (aside from seeing my nephews): The Oregon Coast, baby! Holly and I went to Newport with her mom and sister a few summers back, this was at the aquarium:

New Pics 015 

Since Holly has Tuesday/Wednesday off from her amazing Spa, we' get to spend at least a whole day at our favorite spot. I seriously have never had a greater day in my life than we spent a day hanging out in sand and saltwater.

And I can’t wait to get some more sweet pictures!

“Stay Thirsty, My Friends”

Dos Equis beer has an ad campaign I just noticed. Simply the greatest series of commercials I have ever seen – even better than Geico!

Wierd, they remind me of myself…



Little League season begins!


And so the Yankees dynasty in Coeur d’Alene Little League has begun!

We had our first practice today in a chilly shadow of snow-covered Canfield Mountain. With a high of 40-degrees during practice (just a mere preface to the rainy 33-degree practice we will have tomorrow), we caught fly balls, hit into a chain link fence and fielded ground ball off a mushy baseball field.

It was messy, no doubt, but already I can tell a few things from such a soggy-at-best baseball practice: We have an AMAZING shortstop who was apparently an unstoppable pitcher last season’s majors league; we also have a great catcher, a couple lefties and some guys who can outrun a horse from home home plate to second base.

Give me a few more practices and some hitting-specific drills, and I bet we chalk up a .500 record at worst.

Go Yankees!

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Here is a 36-second clip showcasing the Zag’s last-second basket to beat Western Kentucky on Saturday. Gonzaga is back in the Sweet 16, baby!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

iPhone on my Blackberry!

The apps so commonly associated with the iPhone are slowly trickling down to the grasping hands of Blackberry Storm owners. Oh, sure, the official app store for the Storm (affectionately dubbed App World) won't be released until later this month, but geeks worldwide have united to produce apps, games, themes - you name it! - that can be downloaded for free (though some cost $$$) onto my Blackberry Storm.There's the lightsaber app, the level app, the tip calculator and the marble on the wooden table that requires you to tilt your phone and let the marble "roll" across the screen. I've got all those, already, but I'm still shaking as I wait for the official store to open, so I know I'm not just downloading some MIT geek's drunken brainchild.

Nevertheless, when I saw the following app I was amazed. (Let me preface the rest of this post by declaring that I absolutely, undoubtedly, wholeheartedly am obsessed with my Blackberry, and in no way, shape or form would ever trade it for an iPhone - EVER). However, that doesn't mean there are certain aspects of Steve Jobs' invention that I truly do admire.

Take this, for example (I photoshopped two screenshots together, but this is what my phone actually looks like with the iPhone screen lock running...):

Yes, when my BLACKBERRY STORM is now locked, it looks exactly like a locked iPHONE! What's better, though, is that it is NOT an iPhone! It just looks like one. The best of both worlds, indeed!

But, then I discovered I could take this whole app ordeal one step further.

For, you see, they also offer/sell "themes" for my phone. Instead of just changing the background picture of my home screen, I can actually create a whole new - for lack of a better word - environment, where I can change the look/feel of the buttons, layout, etc.

So, when scrolling through the Blackberry forums last night researching all the bells and whistles associated with my phone (I've this thing since November, yet learn new tricks weekly), I stumbled upon the closest substitute for owning my own Mac computer:

Woo hoo! My storm now resembles the computer I spend all day on at school! 

For comparison purposes, here is a screenshot of what the original "theme" looked like (mind you, my background was not the lightning storm, but rather a picture of my gorgeous girlfriend):

So now I'm buried in my phone, researching the forums every day until I finally find that glorious simulated beer-drinking app that I see on everybody's iPhone. Except it will be so much greater when it finally works on my Storm!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Look

I know that I should be working on a whole lot of other things (mainly that huge workload to prepare myself for the Poynter Fellowship at News University), but I couldn’t resist the temptation to teach myself a little html and tinker with my blog design.

If you took a peek at all throughout today, you would have seen roughly five or so different layouts before I settled on the current format. What’s worse, I probably chalked up a good 6 hours of on-again, off-again tinkering.

Oh well, between searching for templates online and helping James get his first issue of The Freefall Review seattle-space-needlepublished, I guess I’ve accomplished something today.

Meanwhile, I’m still determining plans to stop in Seattle for a day on my way to see Holly in Portland for Spring Break. I haven’t seen my Brother or nephews since Christmas Break, and I definitely want to see little Jack and Ryan soon. I’ll have a schedule set up here soon in the coming day or two, as it really depends on my Little League practice schedule.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Little League Begins!!

Last Monday I drafted my Little League majors-level team. Originally the Rangers, I instantly changed our team into the Yankees. Obviously I would have taken the Mariners, had they been available, but I feel New York is a very acceptable second. Besides, I’m loving the Bronx Bombers more each day. What used to be the scapegoat for all my hatred has slowly transcended up my fandom pole into second place behind Seattle (at least concerning all things baseball).

Nevertheless, I’m approaching this season a little more worrisome than previous years. Where I was scared to be a beginning coach with the Albany Little League Brewers (or Beer Makers, as we finally had the parents chanting), I was cocky heading into Eugene Little League where my friends and I manhandled the Nasty Nastros (though the league dubbed us the Astros). In Albany we finished 2-10, however that record could have easily been 8-4, as six games were tied into the final inning before we lost by just one run.

Eugene? Holy mother of God, what a corrupt league! During the draft, we were not allowed to draft the best players as other coaches frequently spoke up and demanded that our picks be traded to their teams for such reasons as, “He’s my son’s best friend;”  or, “He’s in our team carpool;” to what I hated the most, “He won’t play at all if he can’t play for me.” Needless to say, we were viciously raped during the draft and subsequently finished the season 0-19. What’s more, the new president of the league knew full-well that it wasn’t our coach’s fault, but rather that of the league’s. His first order of business was to prevent teams from sandbagging and instill a sense of decency among the majors-level coaches.

But now I’m in Coeur d’Alene Little League, a solid baseball town. While both leagues in Oregon struggled mightily for support (Eugene Little League is but 5-years-old), Cd’A is known for baseball success, especially after sending their All-Star team close to the College World Series a few years back. So while I now feel prepared for a very successful season (we had great tryouts, and I drafted a damn good team), my only concern is the competitiveness of this league.

I’ve always been great at dealing with over-bearing parents – hell, you’d think they would all be laid back during Park and Rec summer ball, but those are the nastiest parents I’ve dealt with yet – but when it comes to majors-level in Coeur d'Alene, we’re talking the cream of the North Idaho crop.

So we’ll see how this season begins, as our first batting practice will be indoors this week due to snow-covered fields. I’m looking at a couple of pretty good assistant coaches already, one amazing dad of a kid I’ve known for 3-4 years already and one dad who played baseball for Oregon State.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

High School All-Star Program

This school year I have been designing and editing the NIC athletic department's booster club newsletter. Because of working so closely with the athletic director, Al Williams, he has also utilized my skills for other projects, as well as hooked me up with a college relations department design gig.

In December I designed the entire inside section for a high school holiday tournament. Then, thanks to Al's recommendation, I was given the chance to design a folder cover for the college relation dept.'s orientation process (OARS). But my greatest project yet has undoubtedly been my busiest.

The Idaho High School All-Star Games Program has taken up dozens of hours, countless edits and my first opportunity to create a program cover. The experience has been great, as the athletic department (Al Williams and Patty Stewart) are amazing to work with. Thank God they like the design of this program, as I worked on it simultaneously with the Sentinel this weekend.

Here's the cover I made (The logo in the bottom right was pre-designed by someone else and required to use):

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pointing to Poynter

Almost two months ago, I came up with two very farfetched goals: (1) Being named to the U-Wire top 100; and (2) Getting into the Poynter Fellowship in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The first goal I found much easier to accomplish, for they pick 100 collegiate journalist, as opposed to the Poynter, who only pick 40. I really only applied to Poynter just because the application process was not very intensive. As prestigious as the Poynter Institue is, I did not anticipate ever being accepted. Besides, the U-Wire 100 seemed like a lock.

Well, Holy Shit! Today is the final day for nominations to be submitted in support of me to the U-Wire 100. How ironic is it, then, that I WAS ACCEPTED INTO THE POYNTER FELLOWSHP TODAY?!?

Yes, me, hailing from a two-year school in North Idaho, will be rubbing elbows with 39 of the greatest college journalists in the country this May for two weeks in St. Petersburg, Florida!

Essentially, the Poynter Institute college fellowship is the greatest accomplishment of my entire life. As more details are brought to my attention concerning my two-week trip to Florida in two months, I will be sharing them all!

I am so friggin’ ecstatic it’s scaring me!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spreading Thin

It seems the more I apply myself to this godforsaken newspaper, the less that those around me care about the thing. Save for our news editor (who always works his butt off) not one other member appears to even give a damn any more. And while I’m sure they’ll deny that very fact, I know for certain they individually have regressed in all aspects of editorship: proofreading skills, managing their section’s writers/photographers and what really chaps my ass, a total mental implosion concerning all things Adobe InDesign.

This latest issue may have been the worst all year. No, it was.

Ironically, though, I feel we produced the greatest front page North Idaho College has ever known (it helped that our women’s basketball team won the regional tournament for the first time in 12 years. And we have but TWO amazing photographers, Nik and Tim):

bbx Front

But the meat and potatoes inside were lackluster, to say the least. Design? Shoddy. Article content? More like a middle school than the prestigious non-daily paper we claim to be. Timeliness? Not a single writer or photographer hit deadline, or anywhere close!

And who’s fault is that? As editor-in-chief, the blame will forever land upon my shoulders; that is to be expected. Worse yet: I can pinpoint every instance during the course of this issue where those steadfast inherent flaws reared their ugly heads. And it’s mostly due to my own newspaper neglect, as I’ve been working on multiple projects simultaneously.

Indeed, over the past two weeks I have spread myself so thin it’s starting to affect my health. What started as the sniffles along a 6-day San Diego road trip has morphed into full-blown body aches after spending 26 straight hours in the Sentinel newsroom. I felt like a dog chasing my tail all week, for whenever I finished one project an even larger one appeared.

It wasn’t just production weekend for The Sentinel. I also had to design a folder for the college relations department at school, as well as a 20-page High School All-Star Basketball Tournament program by tomorrow for our athletic department (still working on that puppy). Throw in a full day of scouting Little League tryouts, and I barely had time to blink.

So forgive me if I’m exuberant as I look forward to a five-week break from all things Sentinel. Thank God for spring break, and I cannot wait to see my girlfriend in Portland.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Just a humble guy from Oregon

While I have lately been so obsessed with attaining the highest achievements known to the college publishing world, I recently found my application I submitted to become Editor of The Sentinel.

Holy hell I have changed since those humble beginnings last year. Here is just a quip from the 3-page essay I submitted:

The position of managing editor for The Sentinel becomes a more lustrous position each year. A distinguished non-daily collegiate publication rivaling that of any four-year school, the paper has morphed into a gargantuan sized fish in the vastly diminished pond of two-year schools. However, after spending four semesters as an editor on the paper that schools nationwide now compare themselves against, I have come to realize the single most inherent flaw associated with running a paper as celebrated as The Sentinel: A completely distorted viewpoint concerning the paper’s true existence.

Rather than mirror the North Idaho College experience of students in the college paper, editors are instead tailoring a paper that will please judges across the board. They focus on winning awards rather than publishing a paper that students look forward to reading! This does not benefit North Idaho College in any way – save for the writers who win awards by composing stories read only by judges.

Indeed, it should never be forbidden to yearn for recognition. I’m the first one to admit that what we do deserves plenty of acknowledgement and respect, in fact I take great pride in the awards I have received from working on The Sentinel. Where I do realize our current trend in transgression, however, is that we’re focusing more on the recognition than on the final product.

In a very major way, I feel hugely responsible for the onset of the transformation into a gaudy sized paper obsessed more with the size of photos and stories than the quality inherited within those entities. Somehow along the way, I encouraged those around me that (in lieu of a better example) quantity breeds quality; that the more pages we have in our paper, the more crap we can stuff in it and voila: An obscenely-sized college paper that NIC would want to read. But we would be wrong.

In doing just that [creating a huge paper, we slowly disintegrated the high journalistic standards set forward by earlier staffs – where hard-hitting, student-related news and features that the campus anticipated with a fervor was commonplace – and replaced it with a tabloid-esque paper obsessed with huge photos, larger-than-life layouts with controversial headlines and stories.

I realize only now how wrong I was.

In doing just that [creating a huge paper], we slowly disintegrated the high journalistic standards set forward by earlier staffs – where hard-hitting, student-related news and features that the campus anticipated with a fervor was commonplace – and replaced it with a tabloid-esque paper obsessed with huge photos, larger-than-life layouts with controversial headlines and stories.

I firmly believe that if we strive for success among our own students, attempt to attain recognition from our actual audience instead of judges, we will in turn win the greatest award of all: Respect from our scholastic peers on campus. In providing a student paper for an appreciative campus, national recognition will undoubtedly follow. Moreover, the recognition that comes when you’re not searching for it is the sweetest recognition of all.

So how funny is that? I went from an idealistic, school-oriented, humble(ish) former sports editor not worried about awards, to an Editor-in-Chief foaming at the mouth for national stardom.

Oh well, I'm almost done at NIC. So instead of worrying about making papers for awards, all I'm going to stress about now is training the future editors for 2009-2010 on the wonderous world of newspaper design.

If they become half as obsessed as I am, I see great things.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

More San Diego photos

Again, I can’t say thank you enough to James Hannibal. Also, if you want to submit any art, photos or literature to his literary magazine (which I help design), go here.


This is from the backseat where James was wedged with Fawn and Nick during the drive between San Jose and Los Angeles in the early a.m. on our drive down.


Stop! No, look above the sign. Sherman Ave in San Diego? A little piece of Coeur d’Alene right in our hotel’s backyard!


I see London, I see France. This is a tribute next to the air force carrier in San Diego bay. David and I looked up her skirt, but she’s about as anatomically correct as a Barbie doll. We were disappointed (and not the only tourists who looked.)


Fiz. Playing frisbee on the beach… Look at that hangtime!


The Chase. David chased Nick threatening to throw him in the cold ocean… 


Ocean dive. David is on the right, and if you look to his left you will notice me faceplanting into the sandy, salty pacific ocean. We figured the best way to get in was just to run and jump straight in. It sounded like a good idea, until I stepped into a hole 15-yards in and landed on my face on the bottom.


Playing quarters. Again, James is so phenomenal! Look how clear he got the quarter during our pre-game festivities at the hotel room. I dominated overall at the drinking game, but Nick had the longest streak.


Drunk. David, for some peculiar reason, felt it necessary to wear the lampshade. What scared the rest of us was how he told us he had looked forward to this moment all trip.


Bored. This was taken of me during my presentation on how to manage a newspaper. Obviously, as I will explain later, I was bored with the others on my panel as I spent a few seconds on my phone while they spoke!

Why I hate The Sun

The sun made San Diego amazing, yet The Sun also ruined my whole trip to San Diego – and in many ways, ruined the whole academic year concerning all things Sentinel-related. For, you see, the sun’s warmth (88 degrees at the high) made the beach an amazing place for frisbee and swimming in the Pacific Ocean.

(Sidenote: one amazing thing about visiting SoCal from NoHo ((cool abbreviation for North Idaho: I made it up. After all, why does Southern Cali get the only sweet nickname?)) was that we are so used to cold weather up here, jumping into a freezing ocean was nothing. While locals surfed amidst each other clamored in full-body wet/dry suits, us NoHo boys sprinted feverishly into the salty abyss in our scanty swim trunks. Needless to say, Nick, David and myself were the only shirtless warriors on the beach – oh yeah, the Californians were speechless, but probably ‘cause we’re so white)

Obviously, the sun was amazing. I even didn’t mind it’s glaring wrath as we were backed up along I-5 in Los Angeles.

However, The Southwestern College “Sun” is another reminder that the world is not perfect. It’s also a reminder that fate is but a cruel bitch lover. The Sun, which hails from Southern California’s own Southwestern College, took home Best-in-Show for the ACP journalism convention.

Why? Because local bias obviously dictated the judging.

After all, the eight awards (1st through 8th) for Best-of-Show included six California schools. Only North Idaho and a school from Wyoming were also “honored.” Furthermore, not to take anything away from The Sun, but even though they finished second to The Sentinel in Kansas City (they’re really not a bad paper at all), not one other school we asked felt they held a chance at winning first this time around.

No lie, their paper is consistent: consistently mediocre. Whereas The Sentinel is phenomenal in most sections, yet sub-par in others (our Student Life and Sports sections are the most poorly-designed in the paper – yet still better than most papers), overall we trumped every two-year college paper at the convention.

And that’s not just me.

Dozens of other newspapers complimented myself and those in attendance with me about The Sentinel. Where all papers constantly fail (headline writing, photography and – most importantly, as far as I’m concerned – design), we dominate. Regularly. And people notice.

So that’s the thing, if nobody else thought we were a superior paper I would kindly bow down to The Sun. But that is obviously not the case. You be the judge. Check out there paper here. Check out ours here. Let me know what you think (their website rocks. Ours sucks. But I’m only worried about print editions).

So as bitter as I can be – and will continue to be – my girlfriend looks to bring solace as much as she can: While I have always considered second place the equivalent of honorable mention (i.e. nobody cares!), Holly tries to bring be back down to earth: “Learn to lose like a champ.”

I will never do that.

But at least I won’t obsess about taking first in every competition this year. Because now I can’t win first in everything.

Almost the perfect trip

Got back from San Diego yesterday evening, but I also picked up my girlfriend from the airport last night. She’s in town until Wednesday for a friend’s wedding.

I will update the world on our trip in a day or so, but here’s a taste of what happened (all photos by James Hannibal – one of the world’s greatest photographers! See his other photos and website here.)

From Matt Bouldin and the Gonzaga Bulldogs’ basketball team staying in our convention hotel to frisbee on the 88-degree sunny beaches, the trip was almost perfect.

More to come later …