Publications invites first guest speaker in nine years

For the first time in nine years, the Publications staff invited a guest speaker, Daniel Chou, to present his experience in journalism, Wednesday, Oct. 7.

“The greatest thing about having him come was to show how life doesn’t always go as expected. His message taught me that I should be more open to try new things and to take risks in life because I think that’s what he was really able to do himself,” Cayuse Clubs reporter sophomore Jocelyn Chow said.

As a former member of the newspaper program at his high school, Chou spoke about his full scholarship to USC for print journalism and his transfer to studying public relations after a few years. While working in public relations, Chou wanted to cover stories that revealed truth and justice in reporting. However, he eventually left his job at public relations due to his realization that he was publishing for large corporations instead of the general public.

“It was kind of sad for me [to leave PR] because my life was really good under PR. I was able to get newspapers and magazines to write these awesome stories. But at the end of the day, I thought, [whom] was I helping?” Chou said. “I remember having these thoughts a couple years after I started working at PR, and it was a traumatic moment for me in terms of thinking about publishing in media and all that kind of stuff.”

After quitting his career at public relations, Chou starting working as the editor-in-chief of an Asian American Christian magazine called Inheritance, which focuses on how faith and culture interact in people’s lives. He has also been giving lectures on graphic design using Adobe Indesign, Photoshop and Lightroom at USC’s journalism program for the past eight years.

“[At USC] every semester, the classroom changes and the students differ as well. At one point, a lot of us designers thought that because technology has become so easily accessible, designers would one day no longer be necessary or special,” Chou said. “Over the past eight years, I’m glad to say that this is not the case. Most people do not have [a designer’s] skills even though they have the tools available, which is a pretty scary thing.”

Chou is also a freelance designer, which qualifies him to lecture about the use of design in public relations. His course lectures began during his junior year, when he took over the role of an older designer.

“Since he pretty much started the same way that we did, as a student journalist in his high school newspaper, I was impressed with how useful the things he learned from newspaper were. They were clearly very practical and allowed him to be flexible with taking on many different roles–as an educator, designer, writer and leader,” Hoofprint editor-in-chief senior Michelle Chang said.

Chou critiqued the newspaper, advising the newspaper editors-in-chief to market specifically toward the student body on the website and gave tips such as keeping a consistent font and finding a general look for the newspaper.

“[Chou’s] tips were helpful in the sense that they made me think about why we’re doing some of the things we’re doing and what purpose it serves in publishing it to the public. Something I learned from him was how to prioritize integrity when you’re producing in a publication,” Hoofprint editor-in-chief senior Bryan Wong said.

By incorporating his own experiences and opinions into his suggestions, Chou connected and shared a similar understanding with the students. The Publications team is now striving to produce a new website layout and include multimedia to attract more attention, while standardizing its design elements and unifying it with the school’s newspaper.

“When he was talking, I kept an open mind to his ideas, and I could see that he came from experience. It was inspiring to see the passion he had for journalism and how he was able to continually reevaluate his life purpose so that his actions aligned with his values, and that’s something we should all learn from him. I felt glad that he was able to share it with all of us,” Chang said.

By Jessica Huang, Staff writer and Eric Peng, News editor