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    The Portrait

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    The Portrait: Telling the story of Louisville, one person at a time.

    Weekly staff meetings for On the Record, the student-run magazine housed in the journalism and communications department at duPont Manual High School, don’t run like typical classes. Rather than faculty adviser Liz Palmer standing at the front of the room, it’s 17-year-old editor-in-chief Ysabella Leon. Students run every aspect of the magazine — writing, editing, photography, design and even advertising. Sometimes, when they are close to deadline, the student staff of 39 blasts some Taylor Swift and takes a dance break under the fluorescent lights.

    “A lot of times, adults are trying to cover our issues for us,” Leon says, “and that is what we are trying to combat by covering our own issues.”​ 

    On the Record is distributed to local libraries, Heine Brothers’ locations and public schools, and is available online. Students spend about a month reporting each issue, then tell their stories out loud to one another to get closer to the material. After editing and designing, they spend a week in crunch time, sometimes staying at school as late as 10 p.m. to get to print. The magazine, which comes out at the end of each semester, always includes a themed package, like the environment, consumerism or immigration. The last issue covered sexual assault, with articles about rape kits and why sexual assault is underreported. Leon’s piece, “1 in 12,000,” was about a woman who was conceived because of a rape. “It was a hot-button issue at the time and still is,” Leon says. “But who’s telling it from our perspective? That stuff happens to teens, too.

    “Print journalism is not dying, it’s just transforming into more of the multi-media aspect,” she says. “Sometimes it can be hard to sit through an article, and that’s our job: to make it interesting.”

    This originally appeared as the Portrait in the December 2019 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Photo by Danny Alexander,

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