From South Gate to Annenberg: Valeria Macias is committed to uplifting others through journalism

Macias will be a journalism major at the University of Southern California this fall.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/sungjooyoon/" target="_self">Sungjoo Yoon</a>

Sungjoo Yoon

July 27, 2022
Whether it’s by starting a mental health club at her school, providing resources and opportunities to her peers or reporting on issues that disaffect the marginalized, Valeria Macias is dedicated to uplifting her community by all means possible.

Macias, a graduate of South Gate High School in South Gate, Calif., describes herself as “committed and passionate” to everything she works at — and her work in high school serves as proof of this. 

“Most of my activities that I did throughout high school, I either stuck with them for three or four years and pushed through them really hard,” Macias said. “I always gave it my all. My 100%.”

As a three year member of her school’s newspaper and journalism program that ended with her serving as the Editor-in-Chief, a leader on the varsity tennis team and even a partner of the National Alliance on Mental Illnesses, she was admitted to the University of Southern California’s incoming class this Fall.

And in choosing her major and areas of interest, Macias selected journalism under the university’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

“I am a very talkative person. I think that’s where my nature of wanting to do journalism and pursue that career is from. I question everything. I want the answers to everything because I’m very curious,” Macias said.

When asked more specifically about her journey in journalism, Macias explained she was inspired by watching the show Gilmore Girls, leading her to sign on as the diversity and Spanish section editor of her school newspaper sophomore year — followed by her rising to Editor-in-Chief junior and senior year.

 “Specifically senior year after being back in person, in the school newspaper, it definitely did establish what I wanted to do in my future,” Macias said. “[I realized] this is something I definitely want to pursue the rest of my life. Writing, but also doing the backstage work of creating the layout and getting in touch with different people,”

Macias plans on continuing her career in journalism and uplifting others in the process. (Photo courtesy of Valeria Macias)

After college, Macias hopes to work for the Los Angeles Times or the Washington Post; especially as an editor. 

This summer, however, Macias is an intern for the Los Angeles Times’s HS Insider program — where she is pursuing an enterprise story on how gentrification damages communities like her own. 

“Most specifically, diving into how media and journalism portrays the city. It shows [Los Angeles] out to be something that it’s not,” Macias said. “It usually fails to see the homelessness crisis and gentrification, like the Southeast LA region.”

Although she’s not locked into her future plans, she knows there will be a focus on serving her community just like her efforts in high school reflect.

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