Between the Issues: Back in Session
February 27, 2023
Two newspaper-plastered classrooms filled with tired, yet eager reporters sit side by side on the third floor of SF State’s Humanities Building. These are the magazine and newspaper production rooms, and the single door separating the two finally opened last semester.
Welcome to Between the Issues, the very first collaborative podcast between the Golden Gate Xpress newspaper and Xpress Magazine.
In our first episode of 2023, editors Myron Caringal and Oliver Michelsen discuss the tumultuous first month back at school, student organizations, the upcoming graduation issue of the magazine and more.
Oliver: Hey everyone, and welcome to the first Between the Issues episode of 2023. I’m Oliver Michelsen and I’m joined here by Myron Caringal. For those of you who don’t know, SF State’s Journalism department hosts two student-operated publications: the Xpress Magazine and the Golden Gate Xpress newspaper.
Myron: Yeah, we both have our own newsroom and staff. But after 20 years of coexistence, we decided to come together to discuss some of our favorite stories and get you excited about what we have coming.
Oliver: Okay, Myron. Well, first of all, how are you today?
Myron: I’m doing all right, actually. Thank you for asking, Oliver. How are you?
Oliver: I’m pretty good. I guess. First, we can talk about our newsletter, which is back for since first time since last semester, you have been a little bit in charge of the newsletter. Did you want to talk about what that’s looked like coming back this semester?
Myron: Yeah, actually. So this semester, we did a little rebrand, a little fresher look. And we’re introducing some new sections to it like Hotshot of the Week, just to honor or just to recognize our awesome visuals team shadow — shoutout Miguel and Aaron, and the other photographers, of course. And yeah, there’s also a little section at the bottom where it’s like campus events that are going around just so students can get involved. And hopefully down the road, we want to introduce a print newsletter, just so we have, you know, physical deliverables for our students to actually, like, really know what’s going on around this campus, which I feel I feel like there’s a big issue and it’s our job to inform the students.
Oliver: Yeah, true that. In other news, the magazine is back. And we’re printing all four issues this semester. For those who don’t know, with the pandemic, the magazine stopped printing for a while. And then the past two semesters, we’ve been printing only two issues each semester. But this semester, we’re printing all four. And our fourth issue is going to be a collaborative graduation issue with the newspaper, which is exciting.
Myron: Yeah. And we’ve never really printed on the newspaper end. We did print before the pandemic, but after that it fell off, and we never got back into it like magazine. So I’m kind of excited to see what it’s going to look like, between the two issues….between the issues!
Oliver: Between the issues, between the issues!
Oliver: Yeah, and it’s exciting, because we are also working with the design department this semester. They have a great team over there. And they’re honestly really excited to be putting this together for the graduation issue. It’s going to be like a really great mix of stories. And it’s really interesting to see a lot of the writers and reporters from Golden Gate Xpress who haven’t had the chance to see their work in print over the past couple of semesters have the chance to see their work in print. So, super excited about that. In non publication news, we’ve had a pretty eventful month, or it hasn’t even been a full month since we got back to school, but a pretty eventful month that GGX has been covering pretty intensively. Anything on your radar that you wanted to, wanted to talk about off the bat?.
Myron: Yeah, I mean, we’ve really got into it right off the bat with like 10 reporters. So we’ve been pushing out stories a lot. ChatGPT is like a hot topic right now — you know, that AI that kind of produces work for you. And it’s become a problem in the journalism world too, not just art or like writing or plagiarism. But that one by Stephen Rissotto was a really cool article, he got the input, and they’re gonna have a panel actually, of professors and students talking about like, the future of it and what it looks like.
Oliver: Yeah, the implications of ChatGPT. I mean, I think — I personally have like, done the fun — like, had fun with it, like done the thing where you download it and type in random prompts, like it is kind of a fun tool. But you know, as that article shows, the implications of it for academics and you know, kind of like the professional and legal world are, you know, unsettling. Like, unsettling to say the least. It’s very, I’m very intrigued to see where that’ll go. And it’s interesting, at least, that SF State is holding some sort of panel to address it, you know, because it’s important to get ahead of that in some capacity, I think.
Myron: Yeah. And it’s like, they’re coming for people’s jobs, even artists. That’s the big controversy. Thinking of new jobs, Chancellor, the CSU Chancellor, they’re actually looking for a new one after a whole year. Yeah. So yeah, SF State actually hosted an open forum for it just so students in the CSU community can, like, give their input on what the new chancellor looks like. I feel like people don’t really get involved, so it’s interesting. I wonder what the attendance will look like. But a reporter, Andrea Rodriguez, she actually covered it for Golden Gate Xpress.
Oliver: Yeah, I totally agree. I think a lot of students aren’t in the loop totally on, you know, who the CSU Chancellor is, or like, what that position even implies or anything like that. So Andrea, covering that, I think is huge. You actually, you wrote about the CSU Chancellor, like almost a year ago now or like, was it six months ago now? Any hot takes, any opinions going into the new chancellor, the new chancellor race? Or is it literally kind of like, who knows at this point? It kind of seems like a little bit of a confused situation, even on the higher levels.
Myron: Yeah, I think the only hot take I have — not, it’s not a hot take. But the person who resigned, his name was Joseph Castro, he received a $400,000 salary for resigning. And so, I think that’s kind of a big issue with the selection process is like, what is this person doing to deserve all that money and like, do people even know what that person does? Like you mentioned, I feel like people don’t.
Oliver: Yeah, I mean, I’d love to get 400k for quitting my job.
Myron: Yeah, right? And the reason he resigned, which you can read, it’s kind of crazy.
Oliver: Yes, it is. But you know, be on the lookout for that. I’m sure Andrea is gonna continue to look at that as the coverage for that develops. In other news…SF State’s walkways have been very, very, very, very clogged up since since we got back to campus, lots of construction, there was talks of broken pipes, but also the the West Campus Green has been completely fenced off for a new housing development for the campus. And while I think a lot of people would agree that we need, we always need more housing, I think there’s a little bit of turmoil around shutting off one of the most active fields on campus, as well as shutting off like some of the most active walkways. And it’s gonna be interesting to see how we continue to deal with that moving into the next couple semesters because we’re kind of just kind of just getting into that.
Myron: I am graduating. They come out and they’re gonna get built in 2024, officially, but on the social end of things, people have been commenting on those posts about West Campus Green and people are mad. It’s a place where like, you know, people find community, they play sports out there, and even the skaters out there. And this new student housing is for incoming freshmen and not for upperclassmen who, like, really need the housing. And it’s supposed to be affordable. But is it really affordable? So there’s a lot of controversy around West Campus Green.
Oliver: Yeah, exactly. I mean, you also, you know, not to hype it up. But like, there is a pretty notorious skate spot over there that like, a lot of skaters not even that go to SF State will, will post up at and, you know, skate for a couple hours. So, yeah, I’ve noticed the same thing, a lot of unhappy comments about that kind of stuff. Also funny to see other parts of campus with construction, there’s, there’s tape up everywhere with these construction sites, and a lot of people will just duck under the tape —
Myron: Come on, ya’ll!
Oliver: —and walk through so we don’t recommend that. But we understand how it could be, you know, frustrating to have all these walkways and stuff blocked. Oh, yeah, student packages! Speaking of, speaking of student housing. You guys like that transition? Was it a lot of students, both on and near campus were experiencing their packages just kind of being taken off their doorstep? Can you talk about that?
Myron: Yeah. I think, it’s San Francisco. You know, there’s gonna be porch — what did they call it, porch pirates. But specifically at UPS, which is technically campus housing, and Park Merced, student packages have been stolen. And some of our reporters — actually one, Samantha Morales, she was able to talk to some of them that got stolen. It was like a student’s first time on campus and like living here, and it’s just or the person hasn’t experienced that before. But I think a residential director commented on our post saying, you can actually send mail to Manzanita square and it’s protected, so you don’t have to worry about that. And I was like, “Okay, well, you’re — okay. Okay.”
Oliver: Yeah. That’s always — it’s always helpful to hear that after your package has gotten stolen, you know, like, “Thank you! I’ll think about that next time.” And yeah, you know, while it is, for people who have lived in San Francisco or you know, are from similar areas, it is easy to say like, “oh, this stuff happens like you should be aware.” I’m sure for a lot of people who aren’t from here, it can be a little jarring to have your things stolen from you. So be careful with your packages, guys. I guess order to Manzanita Square if you need to, but watch out for those people trying to steal your packages.
Myron: And also stop buying from Amazon.
Oliver: And also stopped buying from Amazon, yeah. Let’s go to our, let’s go to a local store or something like that, guys, we can — I believe in us.
Myron: (laughs) In the words of Lynn Mahoney…….. “We can do better.”
Oliver: (laughs) We can do better, shout out Lynn Mahoney! Well, in a little bit here, we’re going to have the multimedia editor from Golden Gate Xpress on and she’s going to talk to us about some of the student organizations and a new series that Golden Gate Xpress is working on with student organizations and meeting the Gators. One of those student organizations, BSU, hosted a march to the Daly City City Hall as a protest/action after the events of the Tyree Nichols murder. Yeah, the video being published online obviously stirred up a lot of controversy, but when BSU posted about this action, it got some some good traffic on on social media and you know, sometimes student-organized protests can maybe, not get the attendance that they usually like. But they had a pretty solid, pretty solid turnout. That’s a long walk over to Daly City City Hall. So the fact that people were committed enough to hold their signs all the way there was was impressive, and you know, kudos to you. We also, two of our reporters were live tweeting the whole thing.
Myron: Yeah. So it was about an hour. Daniela Perez, the online editor of Golden Gate Xpress, was live tweeting the protest and there was a lot of, a lot of people there. They actually had to take a break because the march was kind of long. But yeah, there was police even monitoring it, so that can kind of tell how big it was.
Oliver: So for you know for future actions and future protests by student organizations keep tuned into Golden Gate Xpress because we’re going to keep on covering those and you know, follow those organizations on Instagram yourselves. They’re posting a lot of them all the time. So tune in either via us or tune in directly!
Before we close out and talk to Andrea about some multimedia stuff with Golden Gate Xpress, we just wanted to touch on a couple more somber stories. Prior to school coming back to session on the 31st, student wrestler Hamzah Alsaudi went missing off the coast of Pacifica. The search was called off by the end of the day and he still has not been located. His family has put together a GoFundMe though to keep funding the search for him. All we can hope for is that he turns up or we get some new information soon. But should any of that kind happen, Golden Gate Xpress will be there to update you guys. But that’s what we got right now.
Myron: I also want to acknowledge the student in Student housing and Residential that passed away the day after Hamzah Alsaudi went missing. It was actually, it wasn’t made known to the SF State campus, it was only made known to the people living in housing. So it can be a really hard time and especially after the Lunar New Year’s shooting, so, you know, look out for each other, look out for yourself. If you need help, there’s a lot of resources on campus. Are they good? Umm….
Oliver: Yeah, yeah, there are resources on campus. And, you know, unfortunately, this specific incident happened in between semesters, so…raises some questions about, you know, housing, our accessibility to resources, all that stuff. So, you know, check on your friends, make sure they’re okay. Those are all the news updates we have for you right now for Between the Issues, be on the lookout for the first print issue of the semester, where you can get some news updates from the magazine! And we’ll be publishing our first stories of the semester.
Myron: Yeah. Next up, we have our staff spotlight for the first episode of Spring 2023. We have Andrea Sto. Domingo, Golden Gate Xpress’s multimedia editor, coming on to talk about her multimedia goals and her new series.
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Oliver: You guys just started a new series on Instagram reels, and I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about that; what its goal is and kind of what you guys have done so far.
Andrea: Yeah, definitely. So I guess I had started the new series called “Meet the Gators.” Basically, what it’s about is I’m interviewing different SF State organizations trying to get to know who the board members are, what their goals are, what their resources are and how students can access them. I feel like this is kind of a way to tie together the student orgs as well as Golden Gate Xpress because I feel like there is a lot of disconnect, especially with, like different stories that we’ve done and kind of just building the community that we have here on campus all together. I feel like that’s like really important as well, too.
Myron: Yeah. And I think in the past, I mean, me and Oliver have been here for three semesters, so we kind of have a little more insider knowledge for the listeners too, but Xpress has had issues with past organizations, particularly the more marginalized ones like SKINs and BSU. So I do think this is a great project for the publications to really establish those relationships.
Oliver: Yeah and is that, is that really how the pitching started out? Like you guys were just talking about that saying, we want to like engage more with that part of the campus and that’s what you guys went for?
Andrea: Yeah, so it definitely started with a lot of soft pitches and a lot of the times they were emphasizing like, “Oh, we need to like get to know the orgs more. Who’s in the orgs? Duh duh duh duh,” and my big brain went: Idea. Meet the Gators. Let’s start this. I want to get to know the student orgs, who’s in the student orgs and how, honestly, a lot of people don’t know what resources the different orgs have. So I feel like when I started the series, I started with BSU, so Black Student Union, and I met with their president Victoria, also known as Aloe. They were such a great resource and they really knew what they were talking about. And I felt like it was such a, it was such a great start because Aloe just knew what they wanted to talk about, how they wanted to get the campus involved. And I felt like I felt their passion when they were talking about what they were excited about, like their goals and like how they started at BSU, so I definitely want to continue that. I was trying to work with SKIN s, but no one’s gone back to me just yet so that’s kind of one of the organizations and as well as some of the new orgs like “Mixed at SFSU,” which is a biracial student org here on campus as well. And I know they just started so I definitely reached out to them, so hopefully we have somewhere to go in the future.
Oliver: Gotcha, sweet. And I think the first one’s been up for like about a week now, have you guys noticed any interaction with that from like, Instagram or social media at all? Are people appreciating that? Or is it a little quiet on the social front right now?
Andrea: People can only share a video so many times, you know, like before people get tired. Exactly. Yeah, before people get tired of it. It’s kind of just like, “Oh, great, like you did this video.” But I didn’t want to make it sound so like PR. I wanted to like really build a connection with each organization. And that’s my biggest thing. I don’t want it to come across as PR. I genuinely care about this project and I want to get to know the orgs because as a transfer student, you don’t know anything. You come into this campus, you’re just like, “Who’s my community?” And I was telling Myron about this before we went on air, and I was thinking, I never had a community until I joined Pub Lab, you know? So I felt like students can see these videos and think, “Oh! This org can work for me,” and, “This is how I can get the resources,” or “These are the people I should talk to” kind of thing.
Myron: But yeah, I think BSU was a good start too. I mean, not only was Aloe like a great guest to have, but I think just their history is really important and a lot of people don’t know that it’s the first Black Student Union that ever existed and like they have a pretty cool history.
Oliver: Yeah, all those Third World Liberation Front protests and strikes back in the 60s were headed by the BSU here at San Francisco State! So yeah, they have a very rich history here and I think, yeah, I agree with Myron. It’s great that you got that you started with them. What has been the reception from the people you have reached out to? Like, for example, BSU. Were they open and happy to collab? Or were they a little bit iffy at first? Or how was that first experience for you?
Andrea: Yeah, so at first, I was actually going to go in alphabetical order, but Josh—our EIC—recommended, like, oh, we should start with BSU, you know? And I reached out to Aloe that night after finding out, oh, I should reach out to BSU. And Aloe was so receptive to it. They messaged me, within like a couple minutes of me sending that message. I was like, “Hey, this is my idea. This is my goal and I would love you to be like my pilot for it.” Honestly, like, even walking into BSU’s office, everyone was so like excited. Everyone was attending zoom classes, but just seeing the excitement on getting their voices out there and kind of getting people to know about BSU, especially where they’re located in Cesar Chavez. N o one really walks around those offices. Everyone’s either going straight down to like the food court or like, up above on the main level. So it was really nice seeing where they were, and seeing also what groups are in that hallway. To get them to be like, “Oh, you should talk about them, you should talk about them.” I didn’t get a chance to put in the video but Aloe recommended me so many different organizations.
Oliver: Awesome. So we can look forward to hopefully some more Meet the Gators on Instagram Reels specifically, right?
Andrea: Correct. Yeah.
Oliver: Gotcha. Looking forward to that.
Andrea: Thank you.
Myron: Yeah. So you’re, you’re it’s your first semester on Pub Lab and you you plan— Well, maybe we’ll see, but next semester, you’ll be around. Where do you see the series going? And like, what happens when student orgs run out you know, your list runs out?
Andrea: Um, I actually thought about this funny enough. So Meet the Gators, it’s very generic, you know? It could be student orgs, it could be professors, it could be students, it could be alumni. So that’s kind of where my head was starting to go. I wanted to not only just feature student orgs, but kind of like who are the gators from SF State? Who are the people who went to school here and now teach here, or are doing something else? You know? So, I feel like even when we’re gone— Oh my God, that sounds kind of morbid, but when we leave SF State the campus—
Oliver: When we die and our bodies turn to ash.
Andrea: (laughs) Right, when we start decaying and Meet the Gators is somehow still running on. No, I’m just kidding. But yeah, I just want this to be like a long form thing that like hopefully GGX continues, you know? It’s such a generic name. So it can go with so many things, but it is still pertinent to the campus, of course.
Oliver: Don’t use generic, use universal.
Andrea: Okay, universal.
Oliver: Universally usable.
Oliver: No, that’s great. I totally can see that like happening moving forward. Outside of Meet the Gators. I’m just curious, like, as multimedia editor, like what kind of scratches your fancy? Like, as far as multimedia do you like podcasts, video more? Like, what’s kind of your area? And are you hoping to do some stuff outside of Meet the Gators this semester as well?
Andrea: Yeah, so I started doing, I started exploring more like lighthearted videos, because I feel like now everything’s so serious, you know? And, you know, as a journalist, you’re supposed to like, you’re supposed to know, breaking news. But personally, that’s just not me. I want to go into like audio and video production. So for example, like, Between the Issue is such a great way to reach audiences through a different form without having to be looking at a text and like reading. But basically, I just want to like, learn more and just expand my knowledge and like, expand my skills and kind of push my boundaries, you know? I’ve just been so comfortable with sticking with like news and like, campus stories. As much as that’s nice like, you know, we want to— I feel like as a journalist, you want to investigate more, you want to learn more about who’s in your community, you know. I think that’s just like my big thing; learn about the community and get them involved as well.
Oliver: That sounds awesome.
Myron: No, I just have wanted to add, yeah, definitely like the way you’re going about your projects, it humanizes it, you know. It’s outside of like, the objective, hardline journalism. So I just want to say good job.
Andrea: Thank you. Appreciate it.
Oliver: Well, thank you so much for sitting down with us, Andrea. You can see more of Andrea on the GGX Instagram with Meet the Gators as well as on our website at goldengatexpress.org and xpressmagazine.org
Oliver: Thanks for tuning in! You’ve been listening to Between the Issues. I’m Oliver Michelsen.
Myron: And I am Myron Caringal. Be on the lookout for Xpress Magazine’s first issue of this semester, online and in print. Until next time.