The student news site of Southern Lehigh High School

The Spotlight

The student news site of Southern Lehigh High School

The Spotlight

The student news site of Southern Lehigh High School

The Spotlight

Where are they now? Talia Trackim

Talia Trackim
Southern Lehigh High School alumni Talia Trackim collaborates with writers and illustrators to create design elements for the Washington Post. She proudly displays a page she designed and art directed herself.

Back when she roamed the halls of Southern Lehigh, Talia Trackim established herself as “the girl who did it all.” As she developed a profound interest in journalism, Trackim co-founded the Art and Literary Club and served as editor-in-chief of the Art and Literary Magazine for three years. As if handling one publication was not enough, Trackim worked simultaneously as the editor-in-chief of The Spotlight student newspaper in both her junior and senior years.

“I always really enjoyed working on publications and collaborating with others,” Trackim said. “I just thought there was something magical about being able to see and hold a newspaper or magazine that you worked on, and I still feel that way.”

After graduating from Southern Lehigh High School in 2017, she attended Syracuse University where she double-majored in Graphic Design and English at the Newhouse School of Public Communications and the College of Arts and Sciences. 

“I went into college fully planning to be a features reporter or to do something with writing,” Trackim said. “Writing was my big thing.”

However, after being hired as a page designer for her college newspaper, “The Daily Orange,” Trackim found that design was her true calling. By the time she was a senior, “Graphic Design USA” had featured Trackim as a graphic design student to watch.

“I loved that design combined all the parts of journalism and media that I love so much such as planning, being creative, and storytelling,” Trackim said. “It just goes to show that there’s a lot of different things you can do in media and journalism that aren’t just reporting.”

Today, Trackim lives in Washington D.C. where she works as a print and digital designer for The Washington Post. She is also affiliated with the Society for News Design. Trackim’s projects range anywhere from designing the front page or Metro section layouts, to art directing for the business section.  

“Being able to share stories in the world as it is right now is just an immense privilege and something that I never take for granted,” Trackim said. “I like that I get to be creative, learn, and collaborate with people every single day.”

As the world of journalism is constantly evolving, young journalists may face challenges as they find their way. However, Trackim has found that being a part of a community makes the process easier and more enjoyable.

“I’ve been really lucky to be in a city that really values journalism, and generally believes in journalism,” Trackim said. “I think that if you’re nice, humble, thoughtful, and do good work, then people will notice that and they will help you later on.”

Working for a highly regarded newspaper like The Washington Post comes with unique opportunities and experiences. In fact, within six months of her hiring, Trackim was surprised to see Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist, Bob Woodward, hanging out in the hub of her newsroom. This was especially significant since it is a cherished Spotlight tradition to watch the 1976 “All the President’s Men,” which follows Woodward and fellow reporter Carl Bernstein as they exposed the Watergate Scandal.

For those who aspire to explore any facet of communications, Trackim notes that it is essential to maintain a strong work ethic, to have a sense of empathy, and to keep an open mind.

“You don’t need to be an extrovert who is outgoing and assertive to find a place in communications,” Trackim said. “I believe anyone can find their place in journalism.”

About the Contributors
Morgan Downing
Morgan Downing, Opinion Editor
Junior Morgan Downing is a third-year staff reporter and second-year Opinion editor for the Spotlight. She plays an active role in the No Place for Hate leadership team,  Student Council, Angel 34, Ecology Club, French Club, and NHS.  She also volunteers for the Lehigh Valley Youth Council. Outside of school, Morgan enjoys traveling, hiking, listening to  music, and film photography. After high school, she wants to attend college in Boston.
Talia Trackim
Talia Trackim, Editor-in-Chief
Throughout her four years at Southern Lehigh High School, Talia Trackim has surely established herself as the girl who does it all. She joined the Spotlight staff in her freshman year as a staff reporter, became features editor sophomore year, and has reigned the past two years as editor-in-chief. On top of managing the Spotlight, Talia has also been a member of the speech and debate team for four years, and part of both Scholastic Scrimmage and Teen Counseling for three years. She also co-founded the Literary and Arts Club her sophomore year, and has been leading it ever since. Outside of school, Talia was on the Camelot for Kids Junior Board of Directors, has been a writer for a women’s cultural blog and magazine since her sophomore year, and a part of Her Campus high school ambassador program. Looking back, Talia especially treasures the times she spent with the speech and debate team: waking up at 5 a.m. to compete all over the country, visiting Florida and spending the whole day at the beach instead of watching final speech and debate event rounds (sorry, Mr. Long), freezing to death at Harvard, and playing mafia in the car. Two of her most precious high school memories are when she helped raise over $4000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) her junior year, and when she took part in a Global Nomads program her freshman year that allowed her to video conference with a girls’ school in Afghanistan and a boys’ school in Pakistan once or twice a month for six months. However, newspaper will always hold a special place in Talia’s heart. “I can’t not say that it’s stressful, but it’s also been a really huge part of me and my high school experience,” she said, “and has obviously shaped the career path I’m going down.” Talia will be attend Syracuse University with a dual enrollment in the Newhouse School of Public Communications and the College of Arts and Sciences. She plans to major in either Public Relations or Magazine Journalism, and some other kind of liberal arts major that will give her a special expertise in a certain area. In 10 years, she sees herself hopefully working at a nonprofit organization or social good company such as Education First. “Something that I want to do in my career is tell stories about ‘what’ -- for example, what it’s like to live with a mental illness or what it’s like to live in this region of the world or do this and do that,” Talia said. “I think reading those stories and engaging with those experiences with other people is such a valuable tool to tap into people’s empathy and compassion, build bridges, overcome differences, cross barriers, and make change.” Her biggest advice for underclassmen? Just breathe. Everything will be okay. “That sounds so cheesy, but in the last few months, just being accepted into college and knowing what my future is going to look like, I wanna go back in time and slap my past self for stressing myself to death about little things that in the moment seemed so big, but are so small in the grand scheme of things,” Talia said. “Allow things to happen, and allow your experiences to shape you. You are not defined by what other people say about you: you are defined by the decisions that you make, the people that you surround yourself with, and the things that you enjoy.” While Talia’s talent and ingenuity will certainly be missed by all of us here at the Spotlight, we look forward to all of the great things she’ll do, and wish her the best of luck with her future plans! Follow Talia on twitter @taliatwrites