My first and last year in Insight


Members of Bulldog Media Group (left to right): Ashley Braunstein, Katie Castillo, Kassandra Aguirre, Victoria Tu, Salma Valle, Analisa Soriano, Atiyana Sowell, Marianna Ayala, Raylene Guadron, Adrian Talamantes, Kylie Chao, Rachel Leon, Isabella Scothorn, Nicole Song and Andrea Salazar visit San Francisco’s Lombard St., famous for its steep and curvy structure. Photo credit: Stephanie Perluss

Salma Valle, Staff Writer

Journalism informs, educates, and allows journalists serving the public with facts and interesting stories anywhere. In less than a year, joining Insight, an online student-run media news website, gave me the tools and preparation to produce my own work to a world filled with many opportunities. 

At the end of my junior year, I felt lost, confused, and uncertain about my future. During the spring, I was assigned to read “A Saint in the City” by Scott Glabb in my Athletic Leadership Council (ALC) taught by Jason Heilman. The book shared experiences of former wrestlers at Santa Ana High School.  It sparked my interest in sports and media introducing me to the world of sports journalism. As a woman, I never imagined I could seriously pursue a career as a sports journalist. I realized that it is possible for me to join and make space for other women to also be in this industry because of the stereotypes that women are not qualified for the business. Despite the challenges many have faced in the past, there has been an increase with women representation across the nation. 

From that moment, I took the opportunity and reached out to staff writers of Insight and shared my passion in joining the class. I felt a bit uneasy given the fact I have zero experience in journalism, but I wanted to discover if this would be the profession I wanted to pursue. I took the chance and submitted one of my writing samples, giving me the opportunity to join Insight even though I was not the best writer.

After a successful first day of classes, Adrian Talamantes enjoys the view San Francisco has to offer.
Photo Credit: Salma Valle

It was frustrating for me to communicate and elaborate on certain topics such as understanding the format when producing an article, something that I couldn’t grasp effectively. As I continue writing stories and gaining knowledge, it has improved my work ethic. Insight gave me that challenge to overcome my writing abilities given that I was a newest member.

The first article I published while on Insight staff was “New year, new policies,” that informed students of the new policies at West Covina High School. Some challenges I faced when writing this story were making sure I covered each new policy the school implemented. 

The deadlines, formats and research progress were all new to me. Since joining Insight, I have collaborated and written over seven different articles with topics ranging from opinion to sports. Adjusting and adapting to AP style significantly improved my writing abilities. 

In Nov. 2022, BNN, Yearbook and Insight were all given the opportunity to select five students from each media group to attend the Journalism Education Association (JEA)/ National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) National High School Journalism Convention in San Francisco. The convention was dedicated to educating high school journalists through different workshops and guest speakers on topics such as broadcasting, editing, law and ethics.

“Craft your copy: Improving feature writing” presented by Kathy Smith at 2023 JEA/NSPA Journalism Convention discussed several writing strategies to improve sports feature writing, including sample techniques that can improve staff writers telling a story.
Photo credit: Salma Valle

Hearing about this trip made me feel that I was one step closer to my dream of becoming a sports journalist. However, all media groups would only select five students to represent each media group because of the numbers of each class; it was not possible to take everyone. For Insight, we all had to write a letter as to why we should be the choosing ones. In my article, I talked about my passion in journalism and saw this opportunity to educate myself through seeking advice from experts. 

After weeks of waiting, I was one of the chosen along with Staff Writer Rachel Leon,  Assistant Editor Kassandra Aguirre, Digital Editor Katie Castillo, and Editor-In-Chief Atiyana Sowell to represent Insight. At the convention, I was able to create connections and meet people from different states; this was an opportunity of a lifetime. 

Our time at the convention consisted of attending workshops such as visual storytelling, basics of writing for broadcasting news and the history of women in sports broadcasting. Every workshop I attended was unique in its own way. 

Sports anchor and reporter Kate Rooney shared the unfair treatment women in sports have faced for decades. It brought to light the struggles and adversity many women have overcome and how we have progressed. After having a conversation with Rooney, she shared helpful advice and tips to help me along my journey. She mentioned the importance of patience in the industry. Everyone starts from somewhere and Rooney gave me the clarity to realize I would have to work hard and be dedicated in order to make it far. 

As my time at Insight comes to an end, attending the convention has given me guidance towards my future career. It educated and gave me an opportunity to meet people my age who have similar interests. Not only have I developed as a person, but also a writer.