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Behind The Scenes: Girls Who Handle It

It’s that time of year! Scrolling down Instagram leads to pictures of friends posing at the pumpkin patch, casually going apple picking, and sipping on PSL’s. It is common for female students to create a sense of happiness for themselves on social media. What they are actually enduring, however, can often be the complete opposite.

Girls Who Handle It  is a story about two women, Asia Croson and Julia Freet, who partnered up to provide a platform for female empowerment.

When we first found out about the senior project, Girls Who Handle It, my team and I were instantly intrigued by the idea. A platform for girls to come out and talk about their hardships, despite what they make their life out to be on social media. We agreed that we are all guilty of this.

We later found out the details of the project. Girls Who Handle it started as an art exhibit that documented female resilience in the face of personal struggle. The piece showed that women are often pressured to mask themselves under social media.  After diving into it, we all agreed this was the story we had to cover for our first project. Luckily, Molly was good friends with the photographer for the project, Asia.

In order to cover the story well, we each took on a different role. I covered Strategy and Engagement, the Interactive component was completed by Megan, Dylan covered the written portion, and Molly was in charge of Audio and Video. Diving into separate rolls helped us understand the mechanics of what a project like this entails. The amount of detail each role had to pay attention to was challenging, but we all learned a lot in two weeks. Because some of us had strengths where others had weaknesses, we were able to use each other’s knowledge to complete the difficult parts.

After deciding on our topic, we knew we had to get an interview with the founder of Girls Who Handle It, Juila. At first, we struggled to reach her. However, Dylan and Molly were eventually able to get a hold of her. From start to end, our group was solid on communication. Dylan did a great job keeping our group up to date. “Just had a great interview. We definitely have what we need for the teaser!” From there, the project was a breeze.

Molly lifted a rock from our shoulders after her KCPR interview, claiming “It was so easy!”

And Megan helped the team by always lending a hand. In an instance where Molly got stuck on Premiere, Megan was instantly responded with “I may be able to help!”

One challenge for Dylan was the ability to stay optimistic under the stress of a deadline. A similar issue for Megan was trying to make all of our schedules (from our teammates to our interviewees) work together. I think the communication within our team helped us overcome everything that got in our way.

Despite a few hiccups, I think the team did a great job on Girls Who Handle It! We are looking forward to rotating  roles on our next story.


Behind The Scenes: A campus club uses their skills and determination in hopes of taking on the fastest human-powered vehicle

For our first project, we wanted to do a fun but an interesting topic that would grab readers attention easily. We decided to revolve our story around the Human Powered Vehicle Club and their process of building a man-powered vehicle. The HPV club is just one of the many clubs at Cal Poly that work as a team to create fun experiences through building a human-powered vehicle, which is one of the many reasons why we chose the topic.

A team of determined mechanical engineers works together to build a bicycle that will accomplish high speeds.


As we began research on the club, we had no idea what we were really getting ourselves into. The building process of the bike, the passion the club members have for the field, and the members’ anticipation for the competition gave us a bigger, better, more interesting story than we could have ever asked for.

When we first began the project, all we knew was that the club built bicycles powered by a human. We didn’t really realize why, or for what purpose until we looked further into the story. Once we started researching various platforms of social media, we found that this club was gearing up for the World Human Powered Speed Competition located at Battle Mountain, Nevada. This was something that really intrigued us and made us want more information when there were no other articles and little information about the club. Once we found a topic that was intriguing we set out to find what interested people the most about the story.

Although I didn’t receive much traffic throughout the various platforms I posted to, I did find that people wanted to know more about the members of the club and the process of building the vehicle. We found that they were interested in the story itself, which gave us great insight to furthering along our research.

Through social media, our reporter Alyssa Mavor was also able to direct readers to the clubs social media, “I wanted readers to directly have access to the HPV Instagram so they could get a visual of what the club is all about and what exactly they do.” This helped people better understand the story we were pulling together and what exactly it consisted of. While social media was helpful for finding our niche in the story, making quality interviews allowed us to get the facts and really dig further into the club and why they do what they do.

2017 Assembly Process

We found that with each human-powered vehicle, there is a specific jockey that is tailored to fit the vehicle. One of our reporters, Carter Harrington learned through an interview that the building process of the vehicle is more strategic than people think, “Going into the interview, I figured the team just built a vehicle and found a jockey or rider to fill in.  They actually build these vehicles to precisely fit the jockey so if one thing goes wrong or the jockey gets hurt, they have to start from scratch.” By tailoring these vehicles to measure the height and weight of the jockey, the breathing patterns, as well as how well the rider pedals and steers, it allows for the vehicle to increase in speed.

The Cal Poly’s 2017 Human Powered Vehicle hit a top speed of 60 miles per hour.

While the building process of the vehicle is vital to the success of the team, the club has found more of a family through long nights working on the project. When interviewing Chief Engineer, Derek Fromm, reporters Goldberg and Harrington found just how committed the members of the HPV club are, “…I realized that being dedicated to this wasn’t something I had to force myself to do. Because all of a sudden, I was in love with this project and it became easy. It became easy to pull all-nighters, to design and build this thing. It became easy to kind of put everything else on the side just because I wanted to get this done so badly”, said Fromm. Our video reporter Goldberg, was surprised to see all the hard work that actually goes into making a human-powered vehicle and was surprised with how much time and effort the club puts into the project. “I didn’t realize how extensive the process was. It really shows how determined the club is and how they’ve really put their heart and soul into not only the vehicle but the club itself,” he said.

We have enjoyed putting this story together in hopes that people enjoy the hard work and dedication the HPV club has. We wish them all the best luck at the World Human Powered Speed Competition.

For more information, you can go to their website. 


Thinking about Streaking?

The week before pitches were due Cal Poly had the biggest sporting event of the year when the Mustang faced UCSB Gauchos in a heated soccer match. Every year the main attraction of these games are lots and lots of tortillas that are thrown onto the field. This year there was a drastic change with lots and lots of individuals who attempted to “streak”- but were fully clothed. We all wanted to write about this but we didn’t even know what to title our story if the seven people who were arrested were technically not streakers because they were clothed. Our group then decided to look up what the definition of a streaker was when I asked, “what even is a streaker?” After looking it up we saw many different definitions for it and decided that a streaker can either be naked or clothed because as shown above number 12 states “to run, go, or work rapidly”- which they did or number 14 which is “to make a sudden dash in public while naked, especially as a prank” according to

Although there were many streakers, Primo Facchini, a Cal Poly Student said “I did not see the students run into the field at that time. I saw videos of the streaker on Snapchat. My initial reacting was its just another striker at a game and I thought it was pretty funny. The game was high energy the whole time since UCSB is our rival. I don’t think it changed the game much after that.” In this hyperlink you are able to watch a snap chat story yourself and see what is was like to be at the game. group thought that since this was such a big deal going on all around campus and there were many different opinions of it as well as many videos and pictures that we thought that it would be easy to get interviews- but we were wrong.

We initially wanted to focus on the streakers and where they ended up but we had to change our ideas in order to get all of our interviews and a successful story. The streakers were easy to spot at the game but hard to find who they were around campus. Mustang News wrote a story prior to ours coming out about the seven arrests but none of them mentioned names. Here is a link with the story if you would like to get some more information :  We then thought that taking the advice of Kinesiology Professor Maurice and looking at how the players felt would be a good idea. The players were difficult to interview despite a few members of our group knowing a few of them. We quickly learned that public relations tactics are very much alive when one of the players opted out of an interview because we had to go through his publicist.

We  had to change our story angle again, Spenser Judd tunes in on the change of topics by saying that, “Even though we had to change our original story idea, we were able to quickly find a new angle once we got ahold of our sources.” We then decided to focus on staff such as UPD and athletic directors. Jarrod Urrutia shares how a great interview he had with the athletic director and how he helped bring the story together, “Until I got a very strong interview from the athletic director, I was unsure of how I would be able to bring a video together. When the reaction started coming in, so did the video.” We were running out of options and like being a big help to the athletic department he was also a big help to our story!

Another aspect that was surprising to us was how hard it was to get social media content. There was so much being posted but it was hard to go back and find by the time we got around to our story. Being able to add angles that we had not talked about before allowed us to be able to complete our story. Katie Patterson, who was in charge of that says, “I found it difficult to find successful multimedia components for our story; however, our story came together in a cohesive manner.”

We want to leave with you today that streaking might seem like a good idea at the time but is it worth the fines, jail time and possibly even become a registered sex offender?” According to the Shouse Law Group, students who choose to partake in streaking run the risk of being arrested under California Penal Code 314 PC. First convictions can result in misdemeanor penalties of up to six months in county prison and a fine of up to $1000. Any future offenses can lead to a felony with a prison sentence. People who are convicted for indecent exposure are also required to register for a minimum of ten years as a Tier one California sex offender.  It may seem like a good idea at the time, but think twice next time you think about running across the field and get close to jumping that fence.

Thank you and enjoy our story!

Behind the Scenes: Possible BlackHorse Closure

Topic Choice

San Luis Obispo is growing. Growth comes with change. San Luis Obispo might be closing a neighborhood favorite coffee shop in favor of a new apartment complex. For our first topic our group decided to report on the possible closure of BlackHorse Coffee on Foothill Boulevard for the new 790 Foothill apartment complex. When we made the choice to report on this topic we did not realize that there was much more to the topic than we first thought. This was a topic that could provide topics for multiple stories. We decided to cover the story as an overview, but each piece could have been a story on it’s own.    

Photo: Taylor Barnet


For this project I worked on strategy and engagement, Mckenna wrote the article, Taylor worked on interactivity elements and Leanna did video and audio. While we each had our own part of the project, it definitely was a group effort- and I have hundreds of GroupMe messages to prove it.


Every story has its own unique set of challenges. This story was no different. Overwhelming it was difficult for everyone to get interviews.

Mckenna Roberson’s, written article, biggest challenge for this project was getting sources to speak on the record. “It was difficult to hut down and find people in general to talk about this project because it is such a big story, but the real frustration come after finding the sources. A lot of people were not okay being on the record.”

Taylor Barnet, interactivity, used the challenges she faced in this story to dictate the interactive element she created.  “A lot of the information was dense, which made creating an interactive element a bit of a challenge. I decided to do a timeline because there were so many significant dates in the administrative process that I discovered through research.”

Leanna Newby, audio and video, said for her it came in waves. Newby stated, “I tried to be proactive in my role, but when it came down to it, I had a lot of beautifully edited b-roll, but none of my sources were able to be interviewed.” This created a lot of scrambling the last day and a long night of editing, but she put together a video she is pleased with.

For me the biggest challenge of this project was my health. I was not able to help my group as much as I would have liked or be proactive. It felt like I was trying to play catch-up the whole time.

Photo: Taylor Barnet


It’s easy to understand why BlackHorse has a loyal customer base. It has a cozy, greenhouse feel with lots of windows, it’s set up for a collaborative work and has plenty of outlets. The owner of BlackHorse does not want to leave. Tom Brown stated, “I plan to stay here until 2022 at the very least,” he said. “I have a lease. I’m there.” He has worked hard to create an environment that the San Luis Obispo community and students enjoy.  

Image courtesy of the City of SLO

790 Foothill Apartments

The proposed apartment complex would be comprised of 78 residential unit complexes with 155 parking spaces. The building plan proposes that the building will be 43 feet high, which is 8 feet above the city code. Affordable housing is  a problem in San Luis Obispo so it will also include 12 deed-restricted studios that will be rented to residents in the low income category. Dana Leyva, a second-year student at Cuesta supports the decision to remove Black Horse in favor of housing. She noted that there is a severe housing shortage in San Luis Obispo, and plenty of other places to get coffee. 

Appeal Decision

The co-signer of the appeal and city council candidate James Lopes stated, “I think what people and San Luis Obispo neighbors would really like to see is some mixed-use project there that is more sensitive to the view. We should try to make this project more self-contained and respectful of the street and neighbors.”

On January 15, 2019 the appeal will be decided by the planning commission.

Atsá Foods Behind the Scenes

Storytelling has always been a part of human nature. Before language, people would use art to tell their stories. Cavemen drew pictures of their stories on the walls of their caves, ancient Egyptians used hieroglyphics, and so on. It could be argued that telling stories is a primal instinct that is rooted in our DNA. Our ancestors used whatever tools they had available to tell stories, and today we call that journalism.Journalism is one of the fastest changing career fields. Technology is constantly advancing, and journalists are racing to keep up. Even within the last few years the journalist job description includes new aspects that weren’t there before. Now, a journalist has to be able to take photos, edit videos, create interactive graphics, write an article, etc. More than that, they have to be able to do all of those things with very limited time.

In the professional journalism arena, the time between a story being assigned to being publish is very brief. It is an extremely fast-paced career that requires organization and creativity. So what exactly goes on behind the scenes of a story from start to finish? To explore this, we will focus on the first project of the quarter.

The Beginning

After doing the research and arranging an interview, our group realized that our initial story idea was no good. There wasn’t really much to tell. In addition, the story did not lend itself to intriguing video. Since we are in a group of three, we realized that we should cater our story to the different storytelling components we were assigned for each project. The combination of boring footage and lack of a story made us realize that we needed to change our idea, and change it fast. At this point, we were a week behind and had to catch up. Ultimately, we decided to change our story from the new waitlist system to Atsá Foods.

Toasted Nut & Cranberry Atsá bar.

The Roles

Each of us had a unique role in the completion of our story. I was in charge of strategy and engagement, Hollie West was our audio and video person, and Megan Garcia was responsible for the written article. In our situation, a group project proved helpful because none of us felt our given role was our forte. We were there to answer questions for each other and lend a hand if necessary. That being said, we all did face some challenges along the way.

Megan Garcia and Hollie West working on their project components.

The Challenges

Aside from the obvious challenge that came along with needing to catch up after we switched our story idea, all three of us experienced different challenges for our given platforms. For Megan, the most difficult part of her job was figuring out a way to report on the story that wasn’t promotional. She said, “A lot of the questions people wanted answered were the nutrition facts and so I had to weave the answers into the newsworthy story of why Rafael Pintor wanted to create this product.”

For Hollie, her challenges came during the editing process. “The most challenging part of this project was picking out the best part of the story and condensing it down to only 90 seconds while including all of the important parts,” she said. Rafael gave an extremely informative interview and trying to piece together the most important aspects together in the limited time allotted proved very difficult for her.

As for me, my greatest challenge with this project was figuring out a way to post on social media that would ignite a response. In my personal life, I am not super active on social media. It has never been something that was in my wheelhouse. Unfortunately, for the most part, I found that people didn’t really care enough to take the time and respond to my questions. I received very limited responses considering how many followers and group members there were on each social media platform.

Atsá Foods President

While the three of us may have felt overwhelmed and frustrated at times in our assigned roles for this project, I would argue that we all were able to put things into perspective after the interview with the creator of Atsá Foods, Rafael Pintor.

President of Atsá Foods, Rafael Pintor

Pintor, a senior agricultural science major, has been juggling school as well as being the founder of a relatively successful startup. He doesn’t think of himself as a businessman, and said that balancing them both has been a “wild ride.”

When the company launched in April, he took that quarter off of school and focussed on business. He said, “I feel like you’re learning more going out door to door selling to these shop owners.”

What We Learned

No one in our group was assigned to their most comfortable component for this project. Because of that, it left a lot of room to learn and grow for each of us. Megan learned the importance of writing leads. She realized that she is more inclined to write a cliché lead and said it was great practice writing and looking over the original leads.

Hollie learned how important emotion is in video storytelling. She learned how to get emotion out of a person while interviewing them and how much better the footage is when that happens. She is also proud to say that she now knows how to edit a video into Mustang News style.

I learned the importance of reaching out to your readers/viewers before you decide on an angle for your story. In the past, I would walk into my interviews with a very broad question, or simply just asking the person to tell me their story. I would listen for unique qualities when they spoke and would get my angle from there. I learned that just because I think an angle is interesting and needs to be addressed, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best way to go. I also learned how to be creative in my research. Our story was only covered by New Times SLO and was briefly mentioned in the SLO Chamber. The bulk of useful information I got during my research came from the Atsá Foods website and a blog on the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Behind the Scenes: HaptX

At the start of project four, we had decided to do our story on Marijuana ordinances in the City of San Luis Obispo. As we started exploring this topic further, we realized that the project timeline wouldn’t coincide well with City meetings related to this topic.

We decided to do our story on HaptX,  a local company. Haptics is the science and technology of touch – HaptX is creating devices that almost perfectly mimic the feeling of touch. We had the opportunity to visit the San Luis Obispo office and try out one of their newest technologies, the VR glove.

“It is remarkable to see the technology this company has created and the various ways it can help other people and businesses. Virtual reality is a very difficult concept to envision and create, but the peopole at HaptX seem to be adept at creating it,” said Jacob Forester.

HaptX was originally a small start up created in San Luis Obispo by a college drop out, Jake Rubin, and a Cal Poly professor. Over the years, the company has grown to two locations and multiple patents. They are releasing their VR glove later this year.

We chose to do our project on HaptX  but there were still road blocks that made it difficult for us to get the content we wanted. For one, filming was not permitted in the office which made Kelly and Jacob’s portions of the project difficult to complete.

HaptX has a strict policy on video recording and photography in the office and only pre-approved footage and pictures are allowed to be published. Prior to the interview, we also had to sign a form that prohibited us from sharing or publishing any information we saw in the office. The San Luis Obispo office handles all the engineering and design for HaptX and they want any information to be kept confidential.

We met with two engineers, both Cal Poly graduates, who have been working with the company for a few years. They offerred a unique perspective into

The secrecy of the company was intriguing and frustrating all at the same time. They gave us a simulation of the “VR glove” that they created and it was one of the most unique, impressive technologies I’ve had the opportunity of trying. We weren’t able to record any of the simulation but the HaptX website provides great simulations of the gloves.

Being able to experience the latest in VR technology is something we will always remember. VR is on the brink of a whole new revolution of technology that I don’t think we can yet fathom.

“I know very little about VR, but this concept is mind blowing. It was so interesting to learn about this technology and the implications it could have on our society. Also a little terrifying”, said Kelly Jacobs.

Getting to experience the hurdles in this project was an important lesson that couldn’t have been taught in the classroom. We had to learn how to be flexible in order to get the story done.

Behind the Scenes: More on the Syrian Liquor Store owners

In the college town of San Luis Obispo, there are many liquor stores to cater to a crowd that likes their booze. Campus Bottle, Cork N’ Bottle and Sandy’s Liquor are three of the most popular liquor stores in the city. The stores, especially Cork and Campus, are hotspot destinations for the young population of San Luis Obispo to get their weekends going.

But the booze isn’t what keeps students coming back; it’s the welcoming, friendly employees that the customers interact with. They elicit laughs a good conversation over almost every transaction.

It seems like these employees have been a part of every Cal Poly student’s four years in the town. But, these liquor store owners haven’t always been in the United States. The families that own these liquor stores migrated to the United States from Syria.

Infographic by Leah Qiu

After learning this, our group wanted to learn more about these men and their journey to the United States. We wanted to know why they came. We wanted to know why they started their liquor businesses. We wanted to know who they were and their place in San Luis Obispo.

It was a confusing reporting process at first. We didn’t know any of the connections between these families. We weren’t sure who was related and who was running the show. Over time, we were able to connect the dots between the families and report a coherent story about them.

During some interviews there was a small language barrier. Sometimes the sources would be afraid of not understanding a question and answering it wrong. We built our rapport by having some friendly conversation before our interviews, in which we threw more serious questions their way.

We slowly learned a lot about these liquor store employees. Their journey to the United States was something they were initially reluctant to talk about. Eventually, we learned much about their motivations as business owners in a new country.

They have accepted their new home in San Luis Obispo, and they feel warmly received here as well. The employees are on a first-name basis with many of their daily customers.

Some transactions with customers are very straightforward and all business. Other transactions have lead to enlightening dialogue between the customer and the seller.

“Some guys, they come here and they have something bad inside,” Cork N’ Bottle employee Mark Jalhoum said. “They need to talk to someone.”

Jalhoum strikes conversations with seemingly all of his customers. One customer, Jalhoum explained in interview, found relief in a sad moment with the conversation in the store.

“It’s different from customer to customer, some guys they don’t like to talk,” Jalhoum said. “Some guys they came to [laugh], they came to tell you something, they came to say hi to you, so it depends.”

This is the reason why we wanted to do this story. The connection between the customer and businesses are unlike any other. Friendships are made. It’s never about the liquor, and it never was for these men. Their business was their business, but it’s even more important for them to connect to the community, which they have done better than many mom and pop shops in the city.

Yes, they are nice, but don’t try to show them a fake I.D. and argue that it’s real. They are ruthless when it comes to that stuff. It may work at some bars downtown, but the men at these liquor stores will call you out on your bullshit. One time I was making a purchase at Campus Bottle when a young man tried out his fake I.D.

“You can leave or you can wait for the cops bro,” the clerk said after inspecting the card.

As the young man was walking out, the clerk starts to laugh.

“Nobody’s from fucking Wyoming, bro,” the clerk said.


Bulletproof Coffee

Bulletproof coffee – a topic that so few people know about, and quite frankly, sounds pretty weird when you explain it. Putting butter in your coffee? Who would do that, and why? That is the question we tried to answer for our audience, yet it wasn’t the simplest to explain.

From the get-go, our group was interested in bulletproof coffee. It is a fad that hasn’t quite caught on as much as you think it would. The people in LA know all about it, but in SLO? Not so much.

The initial step of creating this story was making sure that this was a valid topic to be writing about, and social media helped us out with that. Based on the Instagram poll and Snapchat story that I posted, we learned that not many people understand understand what bulletproof coffee is, so we learned that the audience needed to be informed first and foremost, about the topic , before getting into the  benefits it can have, or why it is controversial.

Multimedia team member, Kassidy Clark was surprised to see the effects of bulletproof coffee on people around her.

“I didn’t realize how much more energy some people have who drink Bulletproof coffee. Also, how much fat you can burn by having a little bit of good fat in the morning.” Clark said, “For me it was very educational. I think it was a fun topic and overall a great way to tell an interesting story. ”

When investigating this topic further, and talking to Lena Bidley, our group member behind the video for the project, I learned that at first not many professors responded with interest in getting involved with the project. Whether this was due to time being short with the end of the quarter, or professors not knowing much about it, when reaching out to all of the professors in the food science/nutrition department, one professor responded.

Luckily with that response, we were able to get information from Cal Poly’s Science and Nutrition Professor Scott K. Reaves, Ph.D.

“I think to get up in the morning and just have fat and coffee is unhealthy,” Scott K. Reaves, Ph.D.

Bidley followed up with her thoughts, and commented on her experience and perspective, after interviewing our main source.

“This project was fun to report on, because there was a lot of information to be learned about Bulletproof coffee. I started the project with a certain mindset, and after interviewing experts on the topic, I had a completely different view.” Bidley said, “My favorite part about this topic was that I learned a lot, and the angle of the story presented itself when I began reporting.”

Bidley was able to hear the facts straight from Professor Reaves, and was influenced by what he said through their discussion.

Additionally, Ethan Roman, our team member who write the story, had a lot to say about the topic.

“Writing this story on Bulletproof coffee, I got to dig deep into the world of coffee, which was fun and pretty tasty. Moreover, I got a glimpse into the seemingly endless world of coffee varieties and preparation techniques.” Roman said, “People are super passionate about their coffee, to an almost overwhelming extent. I didn’t meet too many people who were jazzed about putting butter in their coffee, though.”

Overall, this was an awesome story to work on. Our entire group leaned a lot, and we look forward to seeing how bulletproof coffee evolves as a product in the future.

Lighting in San Luis Obispo

We struggled for a while to come up with a topic for our final story in JOUR 462, but Sam found out about the petition to improve lighting in neighborhoods in SLO from her ethics class. We all thought it was a good idea and started to research and talk to people about it. The project was a bit different from the rest of our projects which was a good challenge for us. Sam was responsible for the audio/video portion and said, “This project was very cool to be a part of. It seemed more newsworthy than our previous topics, so working on it was a lot different. It was crazy to go around at night and see the differences between photos we took during the day and at night to truly show how dark slo is.”

I reached out to my friends and people in my classes and casually asked them what they thought about the issue and the responses I received were all in support of the petition. Emily talked to Jessica Gallagher, the Cal Poly student who started the petition, and learned that it started out as a project in one of her classes here at Cal Poly. For an assignment, she had to address an issue in the community and at first her partner Emily Gardner and her struggled to find a topic. However, they landed on this idea when they were walking home one night and noticed how dark it is in the neighborhoods around SLO. Gallagher presented to city council and was told that their are simply not enough funds right now. However, she is a junior and plans to keep working on this issue next year.

We reached out to tons of students in this process on social media and in person and the responses were nearly unanimous in support of a change. The petition on reflects these opinions and has nearly 1,300 signatures. Elliot Pyon, a construction management senior at Cal Poly, walks home regularly from class that ends at 8:00 PM and said, “I signed the petition. I always hate walking home late at night because Kentucky street is always so dark. I saw the petition on facebook and thought it was a good idea because it is impossible to see students walking at night on most of the streets around Cal Poly.”

Emily Hulsman worked on the video part of our project and said, “This project was definitely rewarding to work on because we were able to get students opinions on a very important and relevant issue. I really enjoyed working with my group on the final project.”

The final project was good for us as a group because I think all of us were in our least comfortable positions. We had to lean on each others strengths throughout the reporting process and it turned out well. It was also a more serious topic and it is an issue that is being addressed at universities around the nation. It also is something that was addressed not only recently by Mustang News, but years ago.  JB Garcia wrote the story for the project and said, “I enjoyed this project because I got to learn a lot about the city public works and what it takes to initiate change in the city. I also got to work on my writing which is good because I haven’t in quite some time.”

Behind the Scenes: Pirate’s Cove and Cave Landing

This final story was met with an extensive beginning, unexpected angles, and amazing support from our sources. As we began research on Pirate’s Cove, we had no idea what we were diving into. The controversial history behind the location dated back to the late 1970s. There were fallouts on projects, Native American territories and the issue of preserving nude beaches popping up.

Opinion article after opinion article, we’ve learned about the constant battle between SLO County residents wanting to protect the area and the inadequate resources to carry out their vision. We’ve learned about the nuances between state-owned territory and County-owned territory, and how it has affected the overall goal to preserve the area.

Going into this project, we envisioned covering a location that many Cal Poly students were aware of. Pirate’s Cove — a wonderful place to enjoy spectacular views, but such a disgraceful display of human neglect towards nature. So our main question here was simply put: What should Cal Poly students know about Pirate’s Cove? The answer to that was simple. Students needed to know about the history of the area. The controversial topics. Ways they can help protect the land. This was our chance to have voices heard that would add value and appreciation to the site. This was our chance to bring forward issues that people often turned a blind eye too.

Meeting with Shaun Cooper, Senior Planner for County Parks and Recreation, was the perfect opportunity to get a full scope of the site. He provided factual information (although much of it was very cut and dry), but offered insight on the angles that needed to be covered. He mentioned the constant battle between the County developing projects, but having it be shot down by state-level organizations. He mentioned the beauty of recreational spots — how it provides an opportunity for people to relax, reflect, and immerse themselves in nature. He finally tied it all together to show the delicate balance between operating the site as a “natural area” instead of a “recreational area.” His insight made it clear that there was a scope that Cal Poly students needed to be informed about. Students need to know the preservation of the land depends on the effort of every person that visits the site.

Cali Magdaleno was a key reporter in this story. Not only did she talk to Shaun Cooper, but she met with an environmental organization that conducts clean-ups at Pirate’s Cove and Cave Landing on a weekly basis. She was able to provide angles of what the County is doing on a legal level, but also what students are doing to be proactive. Her angle coverage was essential in having our key message portrayed.

“I know the Tribune covers Pirate’s a lot, so I was surprised that Mustang News hadn’t covered it in a while.  This was a cool story to do because we were able to give a more in depth look at the history and rules of the area that most students I’m sure don’t know about,” said Magdaleno.

Bryce Aston was able to capture the importance of the history behind the site. This was important in informing our audience of the rough road that Pirate’s Cove and Cave Landing embarked on.

“Honestly, this was such a good topic to cover because Pirate’s Cove is so well-known in this community but there’s so much that doesn’t really get talked about. Plus, it’s such a visually appealing place, so it made for some good opportunities for multimedia,” said Aston.

Lastly, Nate Edelman tied up all the loose ends of the story with the word section of this story. Without his work of connecting intricate details, our story would’ve never came to fruition.

It was nice to know that we decided on a story that Mustang News hasn’t covered for quite some time. It now makes sense why Pirate’s Cove has no rules, and I hope the readers of this story will feel the same way,” said Edelman.

Pirate’s Cove and Cave Landing deserves to have the spotlight in Mustang News, and we’re all glad to have been apart of gathering the materials to do so.