Karly Ortiz is a High School Insider summer intern and a rising freshman at Cal State Fullerton. (Photo courtesy of Karly Ortiz)
Buena Park High School

Purpose in the newsroom: Karly Ortiz finds her passion and confidence through journalism

From a young age, Karly Ortiz looked to writing as a creative medium to express her thoughts. When she discovered journalism at the start of her freshman year of high school, she found another form of conveying her thoughts to the world: writing editorials.

When Ortiz first joined her school newspaper, she initially thought the class would be “an easy ‘A’” but ended up wanting to pursue a career in journalism.

“I’ve always really enjoyed writing. But then, when I joined [my journalism class], it was such a new experience. It felt like I’d found my place, and I ended up staying for the whole four years of high school,” she said.

Ortiz is the second student since the journalism program’s establishment to be in the class from freshman year to senior year. Her involvement led to her becoming managing editor of her school paper, Quest News, during her junior year, before being selected as editor-in-chief the next year.

Quest News adviser Annette Deming said the program academically challenges students to commit to an elective class for all four years of high school and Ortiz was determined to be involved for her four years.

“When I think about her, even with this internship, it’s so amazing to watch her flourish, thrive and grow,” Deming said.

Driven by her love of writing and passion for social change, Ortiz regularly wrote opinion pieces for Quest News. She wrote about current events, including Kobe Bryant’s death and immigrant policies.

“Early on, she came in as a commentary reporter. She really had a flair for having a strong opinion, being really passionate about issues that matter to her and trying to understand the basics of journalism,” Deming said. “Karly is the epitome of what we designated as a rising star.”

However, Ortiz’s confidence in her writing didn’t come to her naturally. She struggled with Imposter Syndrome, a phenomenon that she said made her doubt her writing abilities.

During those moments, she often talked with her advisor Annette Deming. Deming reminded Ortiz of all her national accolades and accomplishments within the newsroom.

“I learned to be confident within myself and understand that I deserve my achievements. Over time, I realized that I am a good writer and I deserve to be happy in what I do for the rest of my life,” Ortiz said. “So that’s when I decided that I want to make this a career.”

One issue Ortiz was particularly passionate about was the Black Lives Matter movement. During last years’ protests, she wrote an article on the contrasting relationship between the murders of Black Americans by police and Black Lives Matter protests, which gained recognition as one of High School Insider’s top stories of 2020

.“I saw that story and I [thought], ‘Wow, this is really well written and it’s a really important perspective and definitely needs to be shared. People need to know what she’s thinking,’” Isabella Balandran, High School Insider Producer said.

Ortiz plans to major in journalism at Cal State Fullerton. Looking toward the future, she hopes to become an editor or columnist at a newspaper.

“When I was first considering getting into journalism, I was really nervous about it because I didn’t see many reporters that come from my background: low income and women of color,” Ortiz said. “I hope to create the representation that I wanted to see when I was younger.”