Sunday, July 9, 2017

Fresco News Exclusive: Late Fire in South San Jose on Colleen Drive

SAN JOSE - As I was the only Fresco News user on the alert for any activities in Silicon Valley during the late Saturday hours, San Jose Fire Department and media outlets were paying attention to the fire along Silver Creek Valley Road near Piercy Road in San Jose, not far from highway 101. The problem was that media outlets were focusing solely on the fire on Silver Creek Valley Road.

And apparently, no media outlet mentioned about the fire that burned behind the residences on Colleen Drive. I was the only Fresco user about to return to my San Martin residence when radio calls were activated for the fire in South San Jose - I got to the scene within ten minutes. Here's what happened as far as the fire on Colleen Drive...

San Jose firefighters were called to reports of a small, but fast-moving grass fire behind the residences along Colleen Drive near Brenda Lee Drive, between Brenda Lee and Snell Avenue just after 9:30pm Saturday night. Fresco News was the only news crew on site of the fire and caught the blaze on video within 20 minutes of the fire. About 100 residents started smelling smoke in the area as the first calls came in around 9:30pm. All residents close to the fire line were evacuated as a precaution, though winds were blowing from the west.

The fire was dangerously close to nearby power lines, and as a result, assistance from Santa Clara County Fire's Cupertino unit and CAL FIRE were called to the scene minutes later. Two battalions fire vehicles were set up on Colleen Drive and Mary Evelyn Drive. CAL FIRE and Santa Clara County Fire were stationed along Colleen Drive near Blossom Avenue as scores of San Jose fire trucks were lining up along much of Colleen Drive. An off-duty Santa Clara County fire battalion chief from the Cupertino unit exclusively told Fresco News that he was home near the area at the time the fire started.

Firefighters were able to access the area off of the south end of Snell Avenue near Rocking Horse Court, not far from Colleen Drive. In spite of the blaze, the fire was completely put out by 11pm and residences were allowed to return in cheers. However, the cause of the fire remains under investigation, and it is not known whether the fire was deliberately set.

Original Work: Kyle Chak
Twitter: @KyleSChak
REMARKS: The following still images are exclusive to this blog. For video images of the fire on Colleen Drive in San Jose, please open the Fresco News app.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

CHAK'S EDITORIAL: Revisiting the KSBW 2009 Editorial and Near-Mishap

It was late-January and early-February 2009 - KSBW, a primary NBC affiliate owned by Hearst Television, broadcasted an editorial that angered some top officials from the Salinas police department. Has anyone recalled this news report from 2009?

If you recalled the investigation by the Salinas police department, recalled that during the time, interim police chief Daniel Ortega held nothing back in accusing KSBW anchor Dan Green and KSBW's management, particularly the president and general manager Joseph W. Heston and news director Lawton Dodd.

What KSBW's management was unaware was that the bias is to a much less extent a version of a bias of media in Hong Kong involving the former Asia Television for false reporting, such as for the death of a Chinese leader. KSBW has no false reporting as of so far, including those of former Salinas councilman Jose Castaneda, but KSBW's parent company Hearst Television (the TV arm of Hearst) has a reputation of not buying any FOX-affiliated stations upon my review of the television portfolio. Hearst has yet to give any reason as to why they were unwilling to buy any FOX stations. In addition, it is unknown what KSBW's or Hearst's position on freelancing apps that allow users to upload organic content to an app, of which a television station receives. Fresco is one, but Stringr is another, as I handle content for both for separate stories exclusive to apps.

And is Hearst is against any freelancing news app? Upon my review of Hearst's style, I see fewer cameramen on average by media market, which puts me into question about how many cameramen should be in a particular media market. There may be some mishaps such as the encountering of a freelancing news app user and an actual reporter like those at KSBW. Like KSBW said about the mishaps in their report by president and general manager Joseph W. Heston, I do apologize for any of those mishaps.

Even so, I do promise to develop any rules regarding encountering non-Fresco or non-Stringr partner stations, particularly regarding duplicate content. If you have any questions or comments, please inform me below.

Original Work: Kyle Chak
Twitter: @KyleSChak

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

BLOG SERIES: The Freelancing Video App and the Problems, Part One

EDITOR'S NOTE: This series of blogs is my first of five blogs centered mostly on Fresco News app. There are certain places that this user is not allowed to mention or promote, but it is part of my investigative series. 


As local news starts to skyrocket in costs in regards to video equipment and the maintenance of the equipment used for gathering, some local news organizations are turning to apps that allow for local stations to view and purchase video from users like this blogger. The series took several months of investigating, making inquiries, and taking any comments into consideration for this series of blogs that I was trying to compile.

The primary culprit and largest video app behind one of the first local news videos centered around technology that allows users to upload and let stations use their video is a freelancing app called Fresco News, based out of New York City. The idea behind the freelancing app is the person in charge of the operation, the CEO of Fresco News, John Meyer. Fresco has grown with the introduction of Fresco Gold, a rewards program which allows users to upload as many videos for any rewards like a press pass and extra bonuses.

Fresco has grown in popularity over time, but other local news apps were starting to come into play. That is only the starting point of where I discovered some problems - that problem is tied to when a user that attempts to upload the same content onto another app, which users will think it may be a good sell, but hold on for a minute.

Although no user is immune to using both Fresco and various other news apps, the user typically uploads only one or two videos to the Fresco app, however, the app is unlikely to make any extra change in a user's pocket for the Fresco app but will go towards the Fresco Gold rewards program. Although Fresco and other apps do agree that the content is exclusive to only one particular app, there are some chief differences between Fresco and other apps that I have noticed over time. I'll explain why Fresco and other apps do not mix in Part II of my series when I dig deep into another app that competes with Fresco. I also do plan to explain in the second part if the app has a comment on the Fresco Gold program as well.

Parts III and IV of my series introduces my viewers to more news apps that does make change, but encounters a major problem with the app. And Part V of the app shows my viewers how to handle different app requests for the same content (some of the content in Part V may be repeated from part II), and what should people know about before opening up a freelancing video app. I also discuss at the end of Part V about how I feel using the Fresco app since I've started using the app.

Original Work: Kyle Chak
Twitter: @KyleSChak

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

CHAK'S EDITORIAL: The offender against a Fresco user - Most Films

For as long as I can remember while doing stories for an app called Fresco News (even though I also handle request for other apps), there are some offenders that have tried to hamper my investigation on the behavior of the people behind the project called "Most Films." Fresco News CEO John Meyer and the community manager, Nicole Coiscou, will likely not like this reason why sometimes I got carried away too much. And one particular reporter from a non-Fresco partner is trying to find out as well - that is KRON 4's People Behaving Badly and Philadelphia native Stanley Roberts, who he has documented several stories on sideshows and illegal car activities. All of them are trying to explain what I meant by those illegal activities.

For three years, I have been investigating what the founder of "Most Films" would be doing in regards to his creation of his films and his actual behavior surrounding his friends. Many of them are posted on social media, like the one seen in this blog post. Law enforcement from Stockton, Sacramento, Modesto, and possibly San Jose may be on the lookout for those people. I often do get outraged on those activities.

The people who support the "Most Films" project are the ones that have been doing or supporting illegal activities, even if it means deleting their images or videos on social media and on YouTube. The names of the people currently supporting the project are the ones trying to make threats against me even though I warned them against illegal activities. Deletion of the videos that involve any illegal activities does not end any investigation such as this one here. There are public service messages warning people to think before posting, but the postings involving illegal activities still go on and on, without an end in sight - even my in-person inquiries are useless.

The illegal activities that I am referring to is under California Vehicle Code section 23109, which addresses illegal activities that many of the drivers perform. The definition for sideshows is found under section C of the code, which translates from the "exhibition of speed," something that is prohibited in California. I have identified as of so far some of the people that have knowingly supported illegal activities as posted on both social media and on YouTube, which included Cesar Perez (Respect Most), Erica Ann, Di Flore, and Nick Higgins (Higgins Built). All of them have claims that they promised that no illegal activities will be presented in all of their videos, but those I found were falsified. Even my tough questions were unanswered as to why Perez, who lives in the Evergreen District of San Jose, is still posting his "Vlogs" on his YouTube page.

The videos are shot in San Jose, Sacramento, and Stockton, as well as in Hawaii as evidenced in a YouTube video seen within this blog. Hawaii has no laws or regulation in regards to the reckless driving in the exhibition of speed like in California. Although the state of Hawaii is not always in the "Vlogs," I found many of them to be very disturbing - the Instagram video for example I found online was shot in San Joaquin County, specifically in Stockton.

Bay Area Racing founder Dean Hodel had no comment in regards to my latest findings, but I found out for myself a couple of years ago that Perez falsified promises to build a movie for Hodel and his team, which eventually led to the break-up between Perez and Hodel. Bay Area Racing, however, is being investigated along with Fresno-based Fearless Muscle. It is unknown as to if the California Highway Patrol's status of the investigation against both Bay Area Racing and Fearless Muscle.

I have put in multiple response requests to the California Department of Motor Vehicles and the state of Hawaii as to clarify any laws to the illegal activities. I was unable to get any answers as of this write-up. Perhaps those videos will convince a law enforcement investigation, as Facebook and Instagram are vowing to check more videos for any illegal activities like the ones below. It is unclear for Twitter and YouTube at this time, but I will be watching for illegal content on social media. As long as those illegal activities are posted on social media, someone (and not only me) will investigate this disturbing behavior that has me overreacting.

A post shared by Respectmost (@respectmost) on

Monday, May 15, 2017

Chak's Editorial: Fresco News On Scene of a San Jose Police Officer-Involved Shooting

Friday, April 21, 2017 - the day started out quiet, but didn't stay for long. The ending to a work week was a nightmare, but I ended up with some extra change in my pockets via the Fresco News app. I was out and about on a sunny day and listening to the 5-0 radio app for any sign or detection of a major incident. The first one was a palm tree that caught on fire not far from Story Road on Remillard Court, though I could not trespass due to restriction signs.

That was only short-lived, as I was heading inside a nearby Walmart to search for a small meal, using the Ibotta app. I was then heading back to downtown San Jose to rest when during my drive along Santa Clara Street, I was on the 5-0 radio app and tuned into the San Jose Fire dispatch radio channel for a possible Delta radio call of a man that was seen holding a knife and making threats on other people around 12:44pm (PST). Gunshots were also mentioned on the dispatch, so I went almost immediately to Google Maps and pinpointed the intersection. I was there within 20 minutes due to me having to find parking - surprised that I was the first Fresco user on the scene. And so my own investigation began.

For three straight hours, I aimed my iPhone's camera directly at the scene just across the street along Senter Road at Lewis Road. At the time of the arrival, reporters from KTVU FOX 2 were unavailable, but I started to upload Fresco content as quickly as possible, given the overwhelming evidence I uncovered. Reporters Azneith Smith and Jesse Gary were unavailable; the latter of which was covering ComicCon.

The one that I was deeply concerned about was how long the investigation was going to last. And it was not looking so good. Lewis Road was shut down for at least 6 hours to facilitate the investigation. Seeing the enormous evidence I uncovered, I did make contact with the KTVU newsroom and identified myself as a Fresco user to report at least 3 gunshots were fired. I also was the first to tweet out the warning about the incident after. News crews were still not there during the 3pm hour, and so I stayed at the scene to grab more information and upload as fast as possible on the Fresco app.

KTVU was apparently shocked to hear a crime happening in San Jose while Jesse Gary was having fun at ComicCon. But I was not having fun at all, and what was more shocking is that San Jose was not the only city in the Bay Area to have gun problems. Hayward was also having problems with police activities there as well, but no video was fed in, according to KTVU crime reporter and former San Francisco Chronicle reporter Henry Lee. I did put in a quote tweet in a response to my question to San Jose police that the activity may last several more hours. News crews never arrived on scene until around 4pm, when reporters from NBC and Telemundo arrived. CBS and ABC also arrived on scene as well shortly after, but Univision didn't arrive until 5pm.

In response to the late arrivals by NBC, CBS, ABC, Telemundo, and Univision, I created memes to show proof that a Fresco News user (literally, me) was on the scene within 20 minutes of the San Jose fire radio call for gunshot reports. Because San Jose police has as many as 7 frequencies, I was unable to track them all - San Jose Fire on the radio (via the 5-0 radio app) was very helpful in giving me tips of where things are happening. As San Jose fire on the 5-0 radio app was the critical tool in helping me track stories for the Fresco app, I still think that KTVU and Fresco News (on that fateful April day) have embarrassed local Bay Area news outlets for being almost 4 hours late.

The content eventually went to air about the officer-involved shooting, who I eventually learned later that the suspect was named Khanh Tran. He aimed his knife at officers which led officers to shoot him. While I was tuning in to the 10 O'Clock News on KTVU via my iPhone on a mobile browser, my content was recognized, even though my name was not mentioned that time - instead to read what happened there. Fully Involved Media's Andrew Tetreault also jumped in to ask me about my content, as I opted not to get in too close in order to preserve the crime scene.

Maybe Andrew's next road trip should be in the Bay Area, as random assignments are given out due to increasing Bay Area traffic...


The CEO of Fresco News, John Meyer, does follow me on Instagram and Facebook (the latter without a friend request), but not on Twitter. I so far managed to sneak too much stories on social media without Meyer looking at the Fresco app like my scene in San Jose. It's too obvious that Fresco is having too much fun with my silly uploads. Not all of my uploads have a three video minimum unless requested. I usually upload one video at a time to facilitate my ability to record and upload more as needed. Meyer only claims to have seen it all in terms of my posts on Fresco stories, but not follow all. I think Meyer may want to follow more users to see more exclusives, as some Fresco users have a Facebook setting that only allows users' friends to see the content supplementing the Fresco uploads like the officer-involved shooting mentioned herein.

Oh man, this story was only the start of a string of stories that were purchased by KTVU and/or other Fresco partners. I am getting some buzz among executives at the Fresco headquarters in New York City in spite of being a regular user (not yet a pro user)... Some examples as of so far in 2017 are described below...

1. Treatbot and Moveable Feast founder Ryan Sebestian saw me at the beginning, but he never realized that I was there to see and spot Steve Wozniak in person. I caught Steve Wozniak making announcements regarding ComicCon... and I was unaware that my shot on Wozniak caught KTVU's attention - and even Meyer himself! Meyer told me via a Twitter response that he did meet Wozniak in person.

2. While KTVU was covering a mudslide in the Santa Cruz Mountains, I uncovered a mudslide along East Dunne Avenue as the Anderson Reservoir was almost completely full. I was there from start to finish as other people were having a problem crossing the bridge. The mudslide completely blocked the roadway. I watched as truck after truck worked to clear the mudslide. The kid was late for school at Britton Middle School - lucky that another person took him to school. Over 11 cars were waiting on the bridge as the only road to Morgan Hill was not available, so they had to sit out and wait for 2 hours. I eventually called KTVU and they ended up snatching 5 of my videos - the most from any Fresco user.

3. When a flood affected north Salinas, KTVU called for the content and I responded with videos from the scene, despite the presence of another news station in the immediate area. The road was inaccessable for some users, but I was determined to get there within 30 minutes. Eventually, I shot some 5 videos and 2 of my videos ended up in KTVU's hands.

4. When a flood spilled over from Anderson Reservoir, I was among the 3 Fresco users that shot content from various spots, including one along Tully Road where some equipment near the Coyote Creek was flooded. I eventually got my video purchased by the Weather Channel - the first time that my video was snatched by a cable network.

5. My most recent content so far was the blackout at Great Mall in Milpitas (and one of 2 stories covered for Fresco in which KTVU got my contents), which I called up the KTVU newsroom to report it quickly. Then I dashed around the mall to get answers, and found out the whole mall was blacked out. I was the only user to capture content seconds after the blackout; that one ended up in KTVU's hands - and they subsequently reported on the blackout that day during the evening newscasts starting around 5pm up to around the recently launched 11pm news. Before that, I also covered an assignment in Redwood City, which was a funeral for San Mateo County officers that died in the line of duty. I was a bit surprised that 2 of my videos were purchased, despite the presence of a KTVU cameraman - probably because that my videos were uploaded before KTVU's cameraman got to the vehicle!

So far, what a year it has been for me. I do look forward to covering more stories at the sound of police or fire activity. KTVU does appreciate my calls to the newsroom for some of my tips even though they are busy - I am always ready to dial up the newsroom at anytime when news breaks in San Jose or upon the request of the Fresco app somewhere in Santa Clara County from Gilroy to Palo Alto and Milpitas to Los Gatos, even though I do not limit my Fresco stories to only Santa Clara County (I did have success in San Mateo and San Francisco; some of which I ended up stealing the show!). I do envision that I will cover more stories for Fresco from all parts of the Bay Area someday - but not now.

Original Work: Kyle Chak
Twitter: @KyleSChak