The importance of student journalism


Courtesy of Andrew Golden, Tekla Carlen, and Stella Lorence.

Former staff members of The Burlingame B (from left to right) Benjamin Rosenberg, Tekla Carlen, and Stella Lorence.

Amelia Harris and Allison Cohen

The Burlingame B is a longstanding tradition of Burlingame High School, but more importantly, it’s a way for students to express their opinions and stay updated and informed about their community. With unique opportunities to take on greater levels of responsibility and many avenues for students to explore, journalism teaches and molds hardworking and passionate young adults. Many former B writers have gone on to pursue journalism in college. We talked to three journalism alumni about their experiences in the program and what skills they acquired through their experience. Read on to hear about what these students are up to now and learn why they support student journalism! 


Benjamin Rosenberg ’17

Benjamin Rosenberg covers a Northwestern football game at the University of Nebraska as part of his work at The Daily Northwestern.  (Andrew Golden)

Former Burlingame B copy editor, Benjamin Rosenberg graduated from Burlingame in 2017 and has since gone on to study journalism at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, one of the highest ranking journalism programs in the United States. Rosenberg joined The Burlingame B during his junior year to learn how to tell people’s stories and explore sports writing, ultimately falling in love with journalism. Though he learned many skills during his time on The Burlingame B, Rosenberg mainly attributes his increased confidence and conversational skills to his early years as a reporter. 

“[Journalism] gave me the confidence to approach people with the mindset that I’m going to be able to talk to them. I was always somewhat of an introvert and somewhat of a shy person. Doing journalism at BHS was really the start of my career so by the time I got to college I had that confidence coming in,” Rosenberg said. 

Since studying journalism in college, Rosenberg has gone on to write for his university’s newspaper, The Daily Northwestern, and will cover the election this fall while interning with Vox. Rosenberg’s dream is to be a professional sports writer, following one team throughout their season, but as he enters the world of professional journalism he is willing to take what he can get. 

“There’s no paper that’s more local than [The Burlingame B],” Rosenberg said. “The Burlingame B can be the paper record, not just for the school but for the City of Burlingame and for us to do that we’re going to need to get computers, to get cameras, to get all the other equipment we need to do that kind of work.”

“As it evolved, it became my love for telling people’s stories because I think that everyone does have a really unique story to tell and the world is waiting to hear it.”

“[Journalism] was big for my confidence and made me a much better conversationalist.” 

“From interviewing so many people and asking them about things that are very personal or at least major parts of their identity, that gave me a lot more confidence talking to people in more conversations that weren’t in an interview setting or in other professional stuff.” 

“It gave me the confidence to approach people with the mindset that I’m going to be able to talk to them. I was always somewhat of an introvert and somewhat of a shy person. Doing journalism at BHS was really the start of my career so by the time I got to college I had that confidence coming in.” 


Tekla Carlen ’20

Tekla Carlen is a freshman at Wellesley college. (Tekla Carlen.)

Tekla Carlen was the editor-in-chief of The Burlingame B from 2019-2020, and is currently a freshman at Wellesley College. Carlen was intrigued by The B during her freshman year and joined as a sophomore.

“My freshman year I read every issue that the paper put out and that kind of confirmed that I wanted to do it,” Carlen said.

After becoming a copy editor as a junior, Carlen rose to editor-in-chief in her third year of journalism. While serving as editor-in-chief, the publication received a lot of feedback in and out of class on elements of the paper that were perceived as being biased and controversial. Amid conversations that provoked class discussion and reform, Carlen was forced to become more assertive and establish her authority in the classroom.

“I think everyone wants to be liked and wants people to like them, but then it’s hard also when people aren’t respecting you. After a certain point you have to kind of forget the balance between trying to be liked and trying to accommodate people and actually put your foot down,” Carlen said.

Carlen was challenged to use her position as an opportunity to understand and manage difficult issues. Journalism provides opportunities for students to take on leadership roles and delve deeper into topics they are interested in.

“It’s a class, but it’s also kind of like a club or like a workplace environment, because we had to put out a paper, so it was just cool to have that kind of unique experience,” Carlen said. “Journalism has something for everyone. If you like photography or if you like business…there are so many different ways to get into it.”

Journalism encourages students to find their niche and decide how they want to inform the community on their own terms. Beyond becoming more informed and improving at writing, journalism teaches the values of leadership and being a collaborator.


Stella Lorence ’18

Stella Lorence pauses during a photojournalism class at Boston University.


After writing for The Burlingame B for three years, Stella Lorence continued on to study journalism at Boston University, where she is currently a junior. Lorence first joined journalism at Burlingame as a sophomore to immerse herself in the school community.

“Being part of journalism really opened up kind of the whole school to me,” Lorence said.

Writing for The B allowed Lorence to be more involved in the community and gave her the opportunity to speak to new people she may not have otherwise talked to.

“It was really a way to break out of my bubble a little bit and have the confidence to go up and just [start] interviewing whoever I needed to,” Lorence said. 

As a journalism student, Lorence dealt with setbacks that made it difficult for her to advance in the hierarchy of journalism. She aspired to be the paper’s design editor, but decided against it after a miscommunication that reflected poorly on her page designing capabilities.

“That shook my confidence a lot. I was like, how can I even apply to be design editor after this?” Lorence said.

Luckily for Lorence, a student transferred out and the position of design editor was made available. Despite prior complications, Lorence took on the opportunity and proved she was capable of the position.

“I took the chance to really make myself indispensable and shape the role in a big way… I really tried to make it my own and leave my mark,” Lorence said.

Lorence was able to learn and grow from difficulties she faced in journalism, using the challenges set before her as a way to prove herself. By pushing herself in journalism, Lorence was able to become a better student and a better leader.