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Published by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University, Diag Center.


Contact: Matt Itelson
phone: (415) 338-1665

SFSU student shows dedication to help others as medic, journalist

Marcos Mocine-McQueen of Ferndale puts aside notepad to help save student's life

SAN FRANCISCO, December 14, 2001 - Marcos Mocine-McQueen is dedicated to aiding the less fortunate, working seven days a week to do so. However, as he completes his bachelor's degree in journalism at San Francisco State University this month, he is torn between two very different promising career paths that will enable him to continue to better the community.

While Mocine-McQueen is an award-winning reporter and has earned the prestigious and competitive James Reston Reporting Fellowship at The New York Times - being one of only four reporters selected from several hundred applicants - he already has a fledgling career as an emergency medical technician and paramedic.

"I will try the journalism thing for a couple years and give it an all-out effort, but I love paramedicine," said the 22 year old from Ferndale. "I can always come back to it."

Mocine-McQueen has helped countless lives as a San Francisco medic, worked up to 36 hours a week the last two years, and has tackled tough issues as a bulldog reporter. As a reporter, he believes his responsibilities are to cover all angles of a story fairly, include all "voices," and inform the community on pressing issues.

"Journalism is like teaching, on a large scale, to a classroom that is your entire community," said Mocine-McQueen, who graduated from Eureka High School in 1997.

Though he juggles a busy schedule as a student, medic, journalist and runner for the University's cross-country team, he is constantly on call in case of an emergency.

Two weeks ago, Mocine-McQueen rushed to a classroom where a 25-year-old student had just suffered a seizure, collapsed and stopped breathing. While several of the student's classmates had already performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Mocine-McQueen assisted firefighters and paramedics to insert an IV, monitor his pulse, and help him breathe. Miraculously, the student is now up and about and expected to recover.

Since the seizure, Mocine-McQueen has visited the student in the hospital as well as the student's classmates - thanking them for helping save the student's life. Though he said EMTs generally try to detach themselves from the tragedies they encounter, he felt a connection to this incident because of the severity of the seizure, particularly for such a young person, and the mere fate of his involvement. He was on his way to class when the seizure occurred. He wouldn't have known about it if not for a firefighter who recognized Mocine-McQueen's EMT-uniform pants while running to the scene.

It is this compassion that causes his roles as a medic and journalist to collide.

"If I get called to a scene, I feel like I should help and not report," said Mocine-McQueen, who was the investigative team editor this fall for SFSU's student newspaper, Golden Gate [X]press. "On a certain level, I'll always be a medic first."

Yvonne Daley, [X]press lead faculty adviser and assistant professor of journalism, said his experiences have also helped his reporting and interactions with his colleagues on the newspaper.

"Because Marcos has a busy life outside campus as a dedicated medic, he brings a mature sensibility to both his own work and his comments in our class," she said. "He understands that the world is complex and challenging and tries to bring the fullness of his experiences to his reporting."

Mocine-McQueen recently won story of the year in the editorial category at the Associated Collegiate Press and College Media Advisors convention. The national award is considered the most prestigious in college journalism, Daley said. His winning column discussed the controversy surrounding an advertisement submitted by David Horowitz to college newspapers around the country, including the [X]press, that argued against awarding slavery reparations to African Americans. Mocine-McQueen, who considers himself African American and white, argued that newspapers should run the ad to spark public debate on reparations.

During an internship last summer at the (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) Sun Sentinel, he focused a great deal of his coverage on diversity affairs in a region that often struggles with those issues.

If he decides to pursue journalism, Daley is confident that he will succeed and make a difference in many people's lives.

"I know he will do well as a journalist because he has the qualities that distinguish the best - dogged determination for fact and understanding balanced with compassion and personal integrity," she said.

Jim Di Modica, chief paramedic and operations manager for King American Ambulance, has known Mocine-McQueen for about two years and is very pleased with his work.

"He has shown dedication to patient care and works well with his co-workers and as a team player with the company," Di Modica said.

Mocine-McQueen plans to continue his EMT work through late May before beginning his fellowship at The New York Times in June.

Although he is still unsure of his long-term career goals, he will remain committed to "helping people the rest of society forgets about." In fact, Mocine-McQueen's desire to help others runs so deep that he disdains a day off because that means there is one less ambulance on the streets.

"Bottom line is when I come home, the people I dealt with are better off because I went to work today. The community is better off," he said. "It's really nice to have a job where when someone is panicked, you can put a hand on their shoulder and completely relax them."

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Last modified April 24, 2007, by Office of Public Affairs