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10 YEARS OF MANUAL REDEYE a Reflection

To our readers:

Manual RedEye wants to thank you for viewing our content over the past ten years, and for the overwhelming support we receive on each article, photo and video we publish. Many of us were in kindergarten when the first RedEye article was published, and we are forever grateful to be able to continue the legacy built by those before us. We have grown tremendously since the beginning of our website, but our first priority still stands: informing and representing the Manual and Louisville communities. Thanks to you, RedEye will continue to grow and serve the Manual community to the best of our ability, and we hope that you continue to support what we do the way you have for the past decade. Thank you for everything that you do, and enjoy our recap of the first ten years of Manual RedEye.

- 2020-2021 Staff

The mission statement of the 2020-21 staff.

“Redeye actually started in 2009 and didn’t publish its first article until January of 2010,” said J&C teacher and RedEye founder Ms. Palmer. “We had nothing in store. We didn’t have a name, we didn’t have an Internet service provider, we didn't know how to do WordPress. We did a lot of decision making and then the kids started writing their content, so when it launched, it would have a lot of content on it already.”

RedEye's first homepage from February 11, 2010. Photo courtesy of Ms. Palmer.

In the beginning, Ms. Palmer had a difficult time finding students to take on the job of editor-in-chief. “A lot of people joined, but people were a little hesitant to take leadership. I remember I didn’t have a flood of applicants for that position, even if I had a lot of people join the class.”

Leadership was not the only problem RedEye faced in its beginning years, however. Many administration complications arose in the development of the new site. “I think the biggest problem — it's still the biggest problem now today — is getting things paid for, and being told by the district ‘Oh you’re not allowed to register a domain, you’re not allowed to get a website, you’re not allowed to do this or that,” Palmer said. “It was just a lot of stumbling blocks and waiting for the district to do the next thing.”

In the early days of RedEye, the main focus was getting out as many Manual-focused stories as possible. "Our sports reporter was doing sports columns for RedEye and he had a regular column that he did," Palmer said. "Other than that, I think we reported a lot of school news [in the first year of RedEye.]"

RedEye received its first national award for Story of the Year in 2011 for a news package about Arab Spring. "I remember from those early years, one of the coolest things with RedEye, when we had Marianna Michael as one of the co-editors in chief and she was Egyptian-American," Palmer said. "We suddenly found out during the RedEye class period that there was this uprising called the Arab Spring, where people were overthrowing some of their leaders because they wanted a democracy. It was very exciting to Marianna, and as we were looking at this news, we were all like, let’s cover the reaction to Arab Spring."

This package went on to win Multimedia Story of the Year, and was one of RedEye's first global news coverage attempts, while still tying it back to Manual. "We had a person doing an editorial cartoon, we had a person who was getting a video from all the Arab-American students in the school, we had photographers getting reactions," Palmer said. "We got this great photo of this kid, I wasn’t sure who he was, but he saw the news flash up on the screen, we got a reaction video, of him jumping for joy or something. And we had a bunch of other things, we submitted that to the national awards for story of the year and that was the first major award we won, first place, multimedia story of the year from that whole package."

Though Palmer founded Manual RedEye, she is not the current advisor for the staff. "I loved doing RedEye, and honestly if I had to choose between RedEye and doing yearbook, because back then, I was the yearbook teacher too, I would’ve just done RedEye, except there was no one to take over yearbook at the time," she explained. "I really love breaking news and harder journalism, that’s why I started RedEye. But it was just so hard, those publications are way too involved to have together and so I needed to back off from one and since I didn’t have a taker for yearbook I gave RedEye to Mr. Miller and I thought he was a really good match for that particular class too. Obviously, he’s done really well with it."

On the left: Mr. Miller with 2018-2019 EIC Piper Hansen.

Mr. Miller is the current advisor to the RedEye staff, and is constantly reaching out and finding ways to improve the staff. This includes expanding story coverage from the Manual community to national and global news, while still tying the events back to the school. Here are some notable stories from each year RedEye has been around.

Click below to be redirected to an interactive timeline highlighting notable stories from RedEye's first ten years.
Find us on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Facebook under the username @manualredeye.
RedEye tweets reactions from the Manual community after school was first shutdown due to COVID-19. This article marks the first two weeks of what ended up being a semester and a half of online school that is still continuing as of January 2021.
Instagram post of Manual's tower after being struck by lighting on July 13th, 2014. The tower was replaced in 2015. Watch it be replaced in the video below. Video by 2015-2016 EIC Peter Champelli.
RedEye reporters talk with a protester outside of the 2012 Denver presidential debate. Did you know RedEye's social media handle was @TheCSPN (for Crimson Student Press Network) until 2018?
Instagram post of Student Brandon Colbert protesting a grand jury's decision to not indict Darren Wilson, the police officer that shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
RedEye students tweeted live from the March For Our Lives rally in Washington D.C. in 2018. Check out a video from the rally below. Video by Robbie Spencer.
Grammy nominated rapper and Atherton High School graduate Jack Harlow sat down for an interview with RedEye's Peter Champelli for his podcast "Synapse." In the interview Harlow discussed how social media had impacted his music career. Check out the full podcast below.
In October of 2020, RedEye expanded its social media reach to TikTok, using it to promote stories using short videos lasting up to a minute. Check out the TikTok account below.
RedEye reporters E.P. Presnell and Piper Hansen traveled to Frankfort in March 2019 to cover the teacher sickouts that caused school districts to shut down as teachers went to protest in Frankfort.
In August of 2014, Peter Champelli and Kate Hatter were invited to talk about their viral Louisville Purge story on ARTFM, a local radio station.

Although Mr. Miller is the head of the publication, he allows for the students on staff to lead the day-to-day tasks and be as independent as possible. Here are some memorable times from the Editors-in-Chief, the highest position on the staff, throughout the first decade of Manual RedEye.

While the main focus on RedEye is to publish news and other content that represents the Manual and Louisville communities, staffers still take time to enjoy the company of their amazing colleagues. Whether it's a breakfast party to celebrate a pitch meeting, or hanging out outside of RedEye hours, everyone considers their fellow staffers as some of their closest friends.

A collection of staff pictures throughout the first 10 years of RedEye. Courtesy of multiple former EICs.

Most of the RedEye staff traveled to Washington D.C. for the NSPEA Journalism Conference in November, 2019. During this conference, 2019-2020 EICs Reece Gunther and Maddie Gamersfelder hosted a session on how to be a good leader of a staff.

A video recap of part of the 2019-2020 RedEye staff's D.C. trip.

Dear reader,

Thank you so much for taking part in our journey to honor 10 years of Manual RedEye. Throughout the years, our publication has changed and grown tremendously, but one thing that has always stayed the same is our passion for journalism and reporting on the truth. Whether our staff was as big as 30 people or as small as 10, this has always been our purpose.

I want to reiterate how proud I am of the current 2020-21 staff. While leading a staff through a pandemic isn’t very easy, the true backbone of our publication is the dedicated staffers and editors diligently working to keep publishing good and consistent work. Even while adjusting to a new way of learning and only meeting as a staff one day a week, we’ve found unique ways of covering our main and most dedicated audience; the Manual community. I have loved watching our staff grow in the face of adversity, and I know that even with 10 years of growth and success under our belt, we will continue to reach new heights with our story-telling. I can’t wait to lead this staff for another 6 months, but I’m even more excited to see the direction our publication goes in the future, and watch from afar.

Most importantly, I want to thank our wonderful advisor, Mr. Miller, and the publication’s original creator, Ms. Palmer. None of this would be possible without the massive amounts of dedication they put into forming us into true journalists. Their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed, and I definitely wouldn’t be the writer I am today without them.

As we begin another decade of RedEye, I thank you for your loyalty in keeping up with our content and articles. We will continue to create and tell the stories of our community while upholding the standards of journalism and the truth. Thank you for coming along for the ride!

Here’s to 10 more years,

Payton Carns, Editor-in-Chief of the 2020-21 RedEye Staff