Who We Are

Founded in 1984, duPont Manual High School’s Journalism & Communications Magnet is a unique and exciting high school program that has grown in the last decade to become a model of 21st century learning, challenging students to be innovative, enterprising, creative, and well-versed in media and technology. Students come to J&C with a number of interests and ambitions — most often related to the fields of journalism, broadcasting, photography, graphic design, public relations, business communication, public speaking, politics, and advertising — but these areas of knowledge are applicable to any career or profession. Nationally recognized and awarded, J&C students take exciting and instantly applicable communications-related courses under teachers with professional experience.  Students also select AP courses, core content courses and other electives that Manual offers to complete their schedule. The program prides itself on a number of desirable qualities:

  • Students have real world decision-making power as the student press. All students naturally gain confidence when they see their work printed or uploaded, beginning their freshman year. They lead and manage projects and staff members, especially in their junior & senior years in editor and producer positions. Our internship program allows students to engage with the professional world, earning school credit while gaining career experience with businesses and organizations.
  • Students enjoy a close-knit, family-like atmosphere.  An emphasis on respect, cooperation, and personal support between students and teachers is a program priority. For example, a summer retreat is held annually for students of publication staffs to learn leadership and problem-solving skills, as well as develop friendships.
  • There are numerous opportunities to travel domestically and internationally each year to conventions (such as the fall 2013 National Scholastic Press Association annual convention in Boston), workshops (such as the 2012 media workshop in China through the Summex program), and reporting opportunities (such as the 2013 Inauguration).
  • Students have access to superior technology. Our computer labs are comprised of iMacs with superior graphics technology. Our photojournalism students can check out professional lenses. We have the best Adobe software products, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, and InDesign, installed on every computer for page layout, web design, videography, and photography.
  • Personal attention from teachers is standard. J&C teachers go the extra mile for their students to provide opportunities or just lend an ear. The teachers are in constant collaboration with one another — an authentic Professional Learning Community — in order to help students personally and academically. By the time students graduate, J&C teachers have usually worked with students over four years in a myriad of settings, enabling teachers to understand and advocate for their students in a more knowledgable way.

In 2012, the school’s SBDM council voted to change the magnet’s name from Communications/Media Arts to Journalism & Communication. The change distinguishes the magnet from other programs in Jefferson County Public Schools with similar names but with key differences in mission and scope. The change was also meant to more closely identify the magnet with college programs of similar scope.



All courses emphasize critical thinking, authentic learning experiences, and project-based learning. Students accepted in the duPont Manual J&C magnet are eligible to enroll in the following courses for magnet credit. Most of these courses are not open to enrollment to non-J&C magnet students. For course descriptions, see the Courses page.

  • Journalism I: Introduction to Journalism & Media*
  • Journalism II: Journalistic Writing*
  • Digital Design*
  • Oral Communication & Debate
  • (prerequisite for all Broadcast classes)

  • Film Studies
  • Photojournalism I & II
  • Web Design
  • Principles of Marketing
  • Media Internship
  • Editorial Leadership
  • Yearbook I, II & III (produces The Crimson)
  • Newspaper I, II & III (produces The Crimson Record)
  • Broadcast Journalism I & II (produces Manual AM)
  • Multimedia I, II & III (produces Manual RedEye)
  • Creative Writing I & II (produces One Blue Wall literary magazine)

*Required for all students in the program.


James Miller, CJEJAMES MILLER, CJE, is the chair of the Journalism & Communications department. He graduated from the inaugural J&C class (formerly CMA, Communication/Media Arts) at Manual in 1989 and went on to earn a B.A. in Communications from the University of Memphis and a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Louisville. He teaches Journalism 1: Intro to Journalism & Media; Journalism 2: Journalistic Writing; Broadcast Journalism 1 and 2 (which produce the weekly morning news series Manual AM); and Multimedia, which produces the online news site Manual RedEye. He currently serves as the media critic for WFPL News and a book reviewer for the Courier Journal. He is a recipient of duPont Manual PTSA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Like his colleagues in the department, he was granted a fellowship at the ASNE Reynolds High School Journalism Institute at the University of Texas at Austin. He teaches at the annual Young Writers Workshop and co-directs Summex, a travel journalism program for high school age students. Previous to teaching, Mr. Miller’s experience includes working for WHAS-11 and the Courier-Journaland a long list of community projects. He and his wife, J&C Magnet Coordinator Liz Palmer, have been married and collaborating together for over 17 years and have one child, Kieran.

Liz Palmer, CJELIZ PALMER, CJE, is the Magnet Coordinator for the Journalism & Communication program. She studied journalism and English at the University of Georgia and the University of Louisville, then went on to work for Ziff-Davis Media and also freelance for local publications as a designer and writer. She earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Louisville. She teaches Photojournalism, Digital Design, manages the media internship program, and advises the yearbook (The Crimson). Ms. Palmer’s awards include the Journalism Education Association (JEA) Special Recognition Adviser of the Year, the JEA Rising Star Award, the James L. Highland Media Adviser of the Year,  the S’Park Media Mentor Award, the duPont Manual PTSA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Jefferson County Teachers Association’s Spotlight Award. Like her colleagues in the department, she was granted a fellowship at the ASNE Reynolds High School Journalism Institute at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the director of the annual Young Writers Workshop also also co-directs the Summex workshop. Prior to teaching, she worked as a graphic designer and a freelance writer, served as an intern with the Louisville City Council, served as president of the board of a local youth center, and published a Louisville youth magazine for three years. She and her husband and colleague, James Miller, have one son.

Amy RitchieAMY RITCHIE has 14 years of teaching experience in Jefferson County. She holds her teaching certification in English and Dramatic Arts, with a Master’s Degree from the University of Louisville. Ms. Ritchie has taken post-graduate classes at the University of Cambridge in England, and is a fellow of the Louisville Writing Project. She advises the Crimson Record newspaper and One Blue Wall, the school’s literary magazine produced by the Creative Writing class. She also teaches the Oral Communication and Debate course and Film Studies. Like her colleagues in the department, she was granted a fellowship at the ASNE Reynolds High School Journalism Institute at the University of Texas at Austin.