Between the Issues: Mid Semester Check In

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 second episode of 2023, editors Andrea Sto. Domingo and Zackery Stehr discuss the revival of The Chomp Pod, student stories, and the upcoming EIC applications. Later in the episode we will be having Daniel Hernandez, Art Director for Xpress Magazine to talk about what it was like to transition from Design Assistant to Art Director.


Andrea Sto. Domingo: Hey everyone, and welcome to the second Between the Issues episode of 2023. I’m Andrea Sto. Domingo and I’m joined here by Zackery Stehr. 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.

Zackery Stehr: 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.

Story discussion

Andrea: It’s crazy to think that we’re over halfway through the semester. We’re basically through the first week back from spring break and graduation is less than two months away!

Zack: It’s gone by so fast and both publications still have a lot of work ahead to wrap up the spring semester. But we want to take some time to reflect and appreciate the work the staff has put out so far. There’s so many trees falling on campus. GGX had a couple of stories done this semester about trees, but while the most recent story, a “large tree falls down on a maintenance vehicle as it attends to other fallen trees” done by Leti Luna really had me on guard for other trees on campus.

Andrea: No, literally, trees are falling left and right. My thing is, I wonder why, as the state has planned for all the missing trees. But I do want to talk about something about the story. Our feature photo was actually done by another journalism student, Dan Hernandez, who’s actually not on staff. But luckily he was on the scene and he was able to capture that really sick photo of the tree that just fell on the car.

Andrea: It’s like crazy that happened.

Zack: I know, call that breaking.

Andrea: Let’s call that breaking a breaking tree, I guess — and something that we noticed that associate professor at the climate science, Alexander Stine, was out on the scene with his research group collecting specimens. Stine Students were able to find that the 100 year old Monterey trees were falling due to the heavy rain on the soil. So students, be aware of your surroundings and be careful out there.

Andrea: When you think about it. We got to keep on guard. And let’s talk about the students that are keeping guard on the basketball team. Let’s talk about SF State sports.

Zack: We have sports here at SF State?

Andrea: Yeah, you don’t know? We literally have the first episode of The Chomp Pod. It’s back after two years! Student reporter Arman Archouniani and Jack Davies talk about local sports, how SF State sports is doing and they also interview Senior Forward, Eche Okeke and his beginning in sports in the fourth grade to being awarded the All-CCAA honors.

Zack: Wow! I’m glad GGX is amping up coverage of sports on campus, I know I’m not in the loop when it comes to SF State sports.

Andrea: Honestly, I think it’s great for students like yourself who may not know about SF State sports so that way The Chomp Pod is back so we can share that wide range of coverage for our athletes and our students.

Andrea: So now let’s talk about the other side of the room. The PDF for Xpress Magazine has been out for over a week now, and Xpress has posted some of the stories to the website, I just wanna know Zack how you feel about them? Let’s talk about the recent cover of SF Spidey and we can talk about some of your favorites.

Zack: Yeah, so I feel really good about this issue. I feel like we didn’t even have time to really celebrate the last the first issue that is in print. You can catch it at any of the boxes on campus or the library or Cesar Chavez Center. But I think the stories this issue, definitely some of them are more text heavy.

Zack: And while we have some nice kind of picturesque stories, we also have some more in-depth stories that talk about, you know, student equity. And I also talk about where our money is going from our fees to our tuition. So I think this issue kind of stepped it up. And as far as the reporting this semester.

Andrea: Definitely and I think starting off with your dyslexia in higher education story, I love what you all did on the social media about doing a little poll, seeing if people know what it’s like to have dyslexia, especially in higher education.

Zack: Yeah, this story for me was painstaking. I also did like kind of a first person are in there, which for traditional journalism is not really what you see often. And it’s kind of seen as just like not real journalism. But I thought, you know, I’m somebody with dyslexia myself, and I just felt like a big part of the story was that I just a sick person is telling the story.

Zack: And I felt to my sources that was one of the big things to build that trust was letting them know that I also have dyslexia. But I think in general, people don’t really think about dyslexia other than Bella Thorne and that one commercial she had for Disney. And they kind of just, you know, make that joke. But it’s a real thing and it does impact a lot of people’s lives.

Zack: And there’s probably a lot of people, you know, but you just don’t know they have dyslexia. And so I thought my story just did a really good job of firstly telling stories of students with dyslexia, what they go through, you know, even before getting to college, and then also looking at the support system that we have as a state to support students with dyslexia where they can go to seek out help and find other resources.

Zack: And I really hope just people can read that story. And even if they might not have dyslexia or whatever, like, you know, mental disability or difference, they have just see themselves in the story and know that they’re not alone. You should be able to be open about what you struggle with and where you need help.

Andrea: And I think you did an amazing job kind of detailing each and every aspect of this. And you have some really good sources here. And I think it’s an important subject that people should talk about and also learn more about. And I think it’s something that should be discussed and also higher education also, and just the education system in general.

Andrea: So I think you did get a great job. Thank you. And I think something that I really enjoyed about this issue is that front cover by Leilani Xicotencatl. Let’s talk about that.

Zack: SF State Spidey made the front cover for our diversity editors story. Sierra O’Kelley wrote this one into the SF State Spider-verse And I thought this was just a very, like, kind of fun story. We’ve had the original SF State Spidey on a podcast before. We’ve also, like, you know, how many stories that have to do with like protests on campus usually have him somewhere in there because that’s where he usually shows up.

Zack: But I thought this story did like a really good kind of more of an in-depth thing on actually looking at them as a group and as individuals as well, and what they really do for the school, what their motivations are. I feel like Sierra did a really good job just kind of exploring the why they choose to dress up, why they choose to adorn the Spider-Man costume.

Andrea: And I think it honestly, it’s really great that we have a group like this on campus because this is something that you typically would see on social media. But knowing that this is like on our campus and that there’s students around doing such cool things, such as like the Spidey verse, I think it’s a great opportunity to build school spirit.

Zack: Additionally, EIC applications are coming up. They’ll be sent out this week with the deadline to apply being Monday, April 10th by 5 p.m., and it should be fun to see who’s going to be running for EIC for Fall 2023.

Andrea: Looks like I’ll see you there.

Zack: Hehe.

Ad Break

Andrea: Next for our staff spotlight, we’ll be having Daniel Hernandez Xpress Magazine’s design editor. He will be talking about how it was creating layout for the first two issues and where he wants to take his skills in the future.

Andrea: Support Xpress Publications’ work by signing up for our newsletter, following us on social media @ggxnews and @xpressmagazine or visiting our websites at and

Zack: Interested in advertising with Xpress? Check out our advertising page at

Andrea: Or you can send us mail addressed to Golden Gate Xpress or Xpress Magazine at 1600 Holloway Ave., San Francisco, California 94132.

Staff Spotlight

Andrea: Hi Daniel, how’s it going?

Daniel Hernandez: It’s going good. Thank you for having me. Thank you, guys.

Andrea: All right. So just to get started, talk about your role at Xpress.

Daniel: Well, my role at Xpress, I’m the design editor, so basically I’m in charge of the look of the magazine in terms of like the actual, like print edition. So I basically focus on just laying out the designs, working on InDesign, putting everything together to look good alongside my design assistant.

Zack: I know last semester you were on Xpress as the design assistant. How has coming into the design editor changed and do you like it better?

Daniel: Yeah. So when I was design assistant last semester, I think I was really able to see how a magazine works. And it gave me a good idea of like how I would visualize a magazine because I came from a newspaper design world back at my community college. I just focused on laying out the newspaper. And in that kind of world, you want to fill up as much as the page as possible, and there’s no such thing as leaving open space, and you’re supposed to be too creative.

So then when I transitioned to being the design assistant, I was actually able to see, okay, this is what people want, this is what people you know, this is what would be really beautiful to see. And then coming in now, as the design editor, I’m able to flesh out my own vision that I’ve had for the magazine ever since last semester.

Andrea: So you mentioned that you transitioned from newspaper design to now magazine design. How did you get into magazine design in general?

Daniel: So for that, I think it just kind of fell into the kind of work that I love to do. When I was 17, 18-years-old, I picked up a camera and then I was just really into photography and really into video editing. And then I started kind of getting these like ideas in my head where I wanted to do something with my photo.

I wanted to kind of make it stand out more, pop out more. And then I kind of started teaching myself Photoshop. So out of nowhere I kind of ended up in a newsroom at my community college. And then from there there was just like this third time I was like, You need to learn InDesign because we need someone that can lay out your stories. It’s just I’ve always wanted I’ve always had like a big, like visualization kind of background. When it came to storytelling, you know, when it came to kind of making of graphic designs or anything. So for me, I just kind of ended up falling into this world of like, you know, learning not only journalism and learning how to write and learn how to do photos and all this stuff.

But I also kind of learned the layout perspective just because I like doing entire projects and not just just focusing on one aspect of journalism.

Zack: But what are some of the behind the scene things that, like listeners might not know about the design process?

Daniel: I think it’s just all of the thought that goes into it. It’s not like, you know, when I show my friends the magazine and I show them, you know, this is what I’ve done, this is what it looks like, they kind of look at it and they’re just like, whatever, Just because, you know, it looks like it’s supposed to it looks like it’s a magazine. Like when you want to edit something or when you design something, you want to make it look like nobody touched it. You know, when you start noticing the designs and you start noticing the edits, that’s when you’ve failed as a editor designer. So for I think when it comes to the background or the behind the scenes of being a design editor, I think a lot of that goes into making sure that there are no kind of visual mistakes.

Daniel: You’re not taken out of the page. And I think we’ve, you know, I can still say like we failed a couple of times, but luckily I don’t think anybody’s really like noticed or nobody’s really like said, like this is a horrible design. It’s more just little tiny things for me. I’m just really happy to know that we’re not making jarring mistakes.

Andrea: And so you mentioned that you did fail in some of the process. Could you talk about like, what’s your most favorite part of designing and like the stressful parts about it?

Daniel: My favorite part personally be kind of show everybody like the final parts of it, put it all out there at the end of the like after deadline and people come back to me in the newsroom and they’re like or not even in the newsroom like I had today. There’s someone in a different class kind of come up to me and they’re like, you know, I just saw that magazine that you guys put up online.That was amazing. I’m loving this magazine. And I was like, Oh, I didn’t like I didn’t expect you to actually look at it. But you looked at it, you enjoyed it. And they actually point out the design, the the aesthetic, you know, they go like it’s a vibe. And I’m like, Oh, nice, perfect. So I think that would be my favorite part.

Daniel: Just the the getting the feedback, but my least favorite part definitely would be kind of being in that situation where the same way writers get writer’s block, designers get design block, you look at a story and you immediately get inspired and you’re just like, I know exactly what I want to do with this. And then with some stories, like, I just wish I was inspired and I just wish that I had that feeling every single time.

Daniel: And then but sometimes I just don’t. And it gets frustrating because I don’t want to resort back to a previous design. I don’t want to resort back to doing something that’s kind of been done before in the magazine, like look wise. But sometimes I’m just on deadline, so I have to just kind of deciding and go, You know what? I need to just put this on paper. I just need to be done with it and send it in because we don’t have time for me to spend another 6 hours for me to figure out and brainstorm and kill myself over this.

Andrea: Yeah, I totally get that.

Zack:After you graduate, after you get your degree, what does your career look like? Is there a future in design for you after you’re done here at State?

Daniel: I would love for there to be some sort of design after state. I think for me it just I want to be more of a reporter personally. I want to go out and I want to be able to tell stories, but I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied with just storytelling. I think I’m going to have to find something that gives me that ability to go out, report and, you know, report, interview people kind of be able to see someone’s lived experience and then come back in, write it or edit it, or some sort of video, but then also kind of find a way for me to, you know, be part of that final process and say like, you know, I don’t want to just kind of move on. After I finished taking photos or finish taking them to the finished writing the story, I want to actually be part of that process that allows me to design or come up with some way to kind of get it out to the world. And I want to be able to get that sort of feedback with everything and just kind of say like I had a hand in every single part of this process.

Daniel: So I don’t know what it is for me. Yeah, I mean, I’d really like to be some sort of like jack of all trades, like a kind of Swiss Army knife kind of reporter where I’m able to do a little bit of everything, but I haven’t thought about it too far. Just because I’m not close to I’m not close to graduating yet. Still got another year and a half. But I mean, if anybody out there that knows of you know, some sort of job that I can do, anything let me know.

Andrea: And so now that you’re halfway through your education journey going into this like field, what would be some advice you would want to give to other students?

Daniel: In terms of like advice? I would say just start doing anything. You know, just start start learning Photoshop or if you can even learn Photoshop, you know, if you don’t have the time, don’t have the money, don’t have anything, then work on Canva or start drawing or for me, like I’m not a draw at all, but like, I really love working with graphic designs or I love looking at photos. I like looking at designs, so I just try to keep in tabs constantly with the design world, even though I’m, you know, I don’t want to be a full time forever designer, but I always like to keep tabs with it because you never know when, like, when it’ll be useful one day. And it’s definitely saved me a couple of times, like when I’ve had just random jobs come up and they were offered to me.

Daniel: It’s like, Oh yeah, I do have some design experience and I’m actually able to, you know, just do this for you and, and that kind of aspect. I’ve, I feel like everybody should just kind of start figuring out the creative side in some sense.

Andrea: I think that’s great advice.

Zack: Yeah. I need to get on Photoshop.

Daniel: Yeah. And for me, I think I think people don’t take into consideration how amazing Canva is and how like time saving it is and how my like I’ve had friends where they want to start up their YouTube channels. They want to start up kind of doing their own newsletters just because they feel like they want to grow in life. And then for them, you know, they ask me is like, Oh, can you design me something on Photoshop? And I’m like, No, just open up Canva, do it yourself. And then they come back. The product looks amazing. I’m like, Perfect, free. It was free. It was easy. Took you 10 minutes. Got it. Nice.

Andrea: Thank you so much, Daniel, for coming on the pod today. Where can listeners find you?

Daniel: You can find me @db9productions on Instagram and on Twitter. And then you can always pick up a magazine. Please look at Sydney and I’s designs. I think we did an incredible job for the first issue and for the second issue. So shout out to her for all of the help and I think that’ll be the best way you can check out what we do.

Andrea: Well, thank you so much.

Zack: Thank you for coming.

Daniel: Thank you.


Andrea: Thanks for tuning in. You’ve been listening to Between the Issues. I’m Andrea Sto. Domingo.

Zack: And I’m Zachary Stehr, be the lookout for Express magazine’s third issue of this semester, online and in print. Until next time.

Andrea: Later!