It’s no secret that this year has been unique and confusing. I won’t go into explaining the national horrors of 2020 that we’ve all experienced or try to lighten the situation by using phrases like “unprecedented times.” To be completely honest, this year has been tough for all of us in different ways. As a collective whole, we’ve been forced to jump into a new, virtual learning curriculum, an abrupt change to a school system that had remained unchanged for so long; and in the midst of all this, the national turmoil of 2020 seemed never-ending.
At a glance, student journalism can seem like a minuscule piece in the puzzle of everything going on; but as I prepared to lead the staff of Manual RedEye through a pandemic, I knew that good journalism, especially student journalism, is important now more than ever. This fall, I aimed to find unique ways to tell the stories of you all — the Manual community — as you’ve tackled a new reality of school from home and struggled with socializing with your friends through a computer screen. While freshman and sophomores had to adjust to a new building without actually being in it, juniors and seniors dealt with the stress of AP classes and the college application process with limited access to their counselors. Manual parents watched as their houses turned into classrooms, and feared that their children would be deprived of opportunities from a normal high school experience. The teachers and administrators were hit the hardest as they scrambled to replan curriculum and administrative responsibilities. Every one of you has gone through a big change, and we wanted to tell stories that reflect these struggles while letting you know that you aren’t alone.
The lack of connection has also affected us here on Manual RedEye. Our most important goal is to report on events and tell the stories of those in the Manual community. With school activities halted and no way to physically see students and teachers, we’ve been forced to rely on contacting you all via social media and email. The uncertainty of extracurricular activities and limit of crowds has made the act of event-reporting much more difficult, especially sports coverage. Red-White Week, a momentous event at Manual and one of RedEye’s biggest packages of the year, was canceled and left behind in the warpath of COVID-19. These setbacks made adjusting to staff a challenge.
However, I would be ignorant to just focus on everything that has set us back these last few months. Through every challenge we’ve faced, I’ve continued to be proud of our staff. We’ve managed a schedule of getting stories out consistently to you all at least once a day, something that initially seemed impossible without in-person school. As we felt the urgency of the presidential election, our reporters worked day and night to update our viewers throughout the four-day election. From holiday-themed, COVID-safe activities to updates on Manual sports to a powerful opinion piece about the difficulties of NTI, our reporters have worked hard to cover the issues that mean the most to you all.
With all the negativity surrounding us this year, I am also astounded by the strides we’ve been able to make in legitimizing the power of student journalism, especially during a much-needed national conversation of systemic racism and corrupt law enforcement. With the help of other students in the magnet, we broke open a conversation about the horrors of police training in Kentucky by exposing the horrifying training of the Kentucky State Police and Kentucky’s Department of Criminal Justice Training. Not only did this story receive international acclaim, but it also led to a substantial change in the leadership of KSP.
But when it all comes down to it, no matter how many statewide and national events we report on, our main loyalty will always be to our local, Manual audience. You give us a platform to tell your stories, and going forward we will continue to do so. We see your struggle, but we also see your passion during these times, and we want to showcase that.
Thank you so much for your loyalty and support of our staff; we will continue to report on and create newsworthy content to highlight our school and its unique community. As a reader, look forward to even stronger content coming from us — our staff’s collective opinion on local and national issues that affect our student body, more specific and personal stories of the students that make up our school and most importantly, consistent reporting on everything going on within Manual. Our staff is ready to enter the new year strong and prepared, and we can’t wait for you all to see what is in store.
Happy New Year and happy reading,
Payton Carns, Editor-in-Chief