Eagle’s Eye Enamors, Enhancing Everlasting Education
November 17, 2022
Overlapping voices and the wrinkle of paper fills the hall. It’s the 1970s, and the new spring edition of The Edison Eagle just came out. Bold, alliterative headlines and enthralling black-and-white photographs capture everyone’s attention—“Devoted Doodlers Dabble Dauntlessly In Daily Diversion” by Bea Riemschneider ‘71 and “Males Crack Culinary World, Gains Knowledge Plus Pounds” by Mark Silk ‘70 are just two of the many articles that students read. But what about today?
The bright bustle of the halls remains as students look at their phone, eagerly opening their emails and looking for friends who authored the newest articles. It’s 2022, and the new spring edition of The Eagle’s Eye just came out. Vibrant cover photos and a red and gold-themed website captivate hundreds of students as they read “Twirling Into the Spotlight: EHS Dance Day” by Meher Mehta ‘25 and “Inside Edison’s Airpods: What Do Teachers Appreciate?” by Sarina Ahmed ‘23, Arielis Canela ‘23, and Robyn Nemeth ‘23.
As I’m sure you both are aware, we live in a divided nation and there is bullying and harassment in schools and in communities. Students need an outlet to vent their grievances without too much interference. The newspaper could be this outlet.”
— Ms. Carol Bamdad
From transitioning into a new publication medium to revamping existing articles to focusing on unbiased and masterful writing, the newspaper today remains a consistent platform for student news and opinion within Edison High students.
Hatching Out Of The Egg
THE END OF THE BEGINNING: THE PAST OF THE EAGLE’S EYE
Although now a digital publication, during the “fledgling” stage, The Eagle’s Eye was a paper publication that went out every quarter. It was previously known as The Edison Eagle and run by a multitude of advisors over the years. Traditional publications persisted due to their viewership and intuitive navigation.
Much like the current process, various section-editors and one editor-in-chief in the past ran the newspaper along with their subsequent advisors, who oversaw the entire process. The entire process of content-gathering, pre-press, press, and post-press resulted in articles and editions read by hundreds of students.
Some newspaper alumni, inspired by their high school experiences, even decided to pursue journalism post-graduation.
“I loved working on the The Edison Eagle as Editor-in-Chief for two years,” said Bea Riemschneider Ebeling ‘71. “I learned valuable leadership lessons, how to write clearly, and how to work as a collaborative team to put out the publication. We had fun doing it and enjoyed the teamwork.”
Ebeling was an Editor-in-Chief of The Edison Eagle. Now the Senior Director of Publications of the Outpatient Surgery Division for the Association of perOperative Registered Nurses, Ebeling noted the impact being editor-in-chief of various publications––including scholastic journalism––has had on her adult careers.
While the publication has changed throughout the years, the core of the Eagle’s Eye stays the same: to provide insight for high school students within EHS. ”
“Scholastic journalism continues to be challenged by the pace of innovation and scientific discovery and how and where to share that information. In my career, I have launched a variety of digital products that reach a select audience and I have really enjoyed having that personal connection and expressing my personality,” adds Ebeling.
Tumbling Out Of The Nest
NEWER BEGINNINGS: THE TRANSITION TO A DIGITAL PUBLICATION
Edison High School’s transition from a paper publication to a digital one in 2019 was motivated by a need for flexibility, accessibility, and sustainability. Although challenging at first, the introduction of layout editors and a streamlined process has allowed The Eagle’s Eye to become an award-winning publication, reaching successes such as the Garden State Scholastic Press Association (GSSPA) awards.
“The digital age opened up a lot of doors for many people, including ordinary people who want to share their opinions and information with the public,” added Ebeling.
Pragya Singh ‘23, the features editor-in-chief for the 2022-2023 school year and past layout editor for previous years was a main contributor in developing better systems of communication and figuring out how to use SNOSites, the platform The Eagle’s Eye uses.
“It was definitely hard to set up a system with which we could track the progress of the articles and ensure that all the editors had the required access and permissions. For the first few editions, I remember the layout crew pretty much pulling the entire edition through in a day and staying up to get the editions ready and in,” said Singh.
With time, Singh and layout members Arnav Chinchankar ’22 and Jayesh Chaurasia ’23 were able to “[develop] systems to better communicate and streamline the process of our editions,” and even amassed a prominent social media presence, with The Eagle’s Eye Newspaper account having hundreds of followers.
Nevertheless, in the midst of new developments of The Eagle’s Eye, many of the experiences and lessons remained the same. New newspaper staff members retain the same passion and wonder when introduced to high school journalism.
Scholastic journalism continues to be challenged by the pace of innovation and scientific discovery and how and where to share that information.”
— Bea Riemschnieder Ebeling '71
“I really enjoy writing and I think the newspaper is a cool way to showcase people’s writing and learn how to be a better journalist,” said new staff writer Shriaditi Kancherla ‘26. “All the editors are really hard-working and provide a lot of support for new staff writers, and I also just enjoy the collaborative process of it.”
OVERCOMING ADVERSITIES: CENSORSHIP
Regardless of current successes, editors over the years have faced numerous adversities and progressions throughout the years. Censorship and implicit bias, for example, was a huge hurdle in the past and remained until recently last year.
Ms. Carol Bamdad, the advisor who oversaw The Edison Eagle during 2001 experienced censorship issues while attempting to print a special edition of the newspaper regarding the turmoil of 9/11.
“I felt it imperative that we print a special edition addressing it [9/11] immediately,” said Bamdad. “At the time there was a great deal of backlash against Muslims in the high school. We decided to put an opinion piece, written by my editor-in-chief, on the front page [which] addressed this issue head-on.”
And of course, a controversy as such may not escape the confines of restrictions.
“The principal was angry, and my editor could not write for the paper for the rest of the year. Because of the furor over this, someone started an underground newspaper. He printed and distributed this,” added Bamdad.
Similar to The Edison Eagle, a few articles within the digital publication were revised at the suggestion of the principal; however, such “recalls” have allowed The Eagle’s Eye to take note of bias and focus on making quality, multifaceted articles.
With the New Voices Act, the writers of The Eagle’s Eye are protected from revising their content because of controversy.”
“In my mind, it was recalled necessarily. We did not have a well-rounded article,” said English teacher Diane Frey, one of the current advisors for The Eagle’s Eye in reference to the article “Return from Winter Break Brings Mixed Emotions”, which was asked to be rewritten on the grounds that the article used a biased sample of quotes.
“There was bias,” said Frey. “Good things came out of that ‘recall’: Our focus this year is making sure that we are fair and well-rounded in our reporting.”
The passing of the New Voices Act within New Jersey earlier in 2021 now further protects student journalists’ First Amendment rights. In other words, students no longer have to ask permission before publishing controversial articles. With this new law, the writers of The Eagle’s Eye are protected from revising their content because of controversy.
“[Journalists] should be aware that they have a unique responsibility to offer an alternative with accurate, balanced reporting,” added Ebeling.
Nevertheless, staff writers and editors are now focused on improving the quality and diversity of their articles and interviews by capturing the breadth of opinions within EHS.
THE FUTURE OF THE EAGLE’S EYE
The Eagle’s Eye continues to develop and grow as new ideas are implemented within the publication. Some sections of the newspaper are being refocused and reorganized, while others are growing in size.
One particular section is Sports; once mostly filled with short articles at the end of each edition that recapped the ends of sports seasons, important wins are now being covered so students can read about their fellow athletes. “Edison Defeats Lenape in Sectional Finals” by Alvin Wu ‘24 and Sushanth Balaraman ‘24, for one, has garnered hundreds of views within the first week of its publishing, and other sports articles exhibit the same increased viewership.
“As the [Sports Column], we have an obligation to cover the athletes’ achievements, and boy have there been a lot of those this year,” said Sports Editor Wu. “We have very committed writers who have worked to get articles out on short deadlines.”
While the publication has changed throughout the years, the core of the Eagle’s Eye stays the same: to provide insight for high school students within EHS”
Another section being refurbished is Features, known for its more in-depth articles that have an overarching theme for each edition. Past sections covered themes such as overcrowding, mental health, and technology. However, with a multitude of articles going out every edition, many feature articles have been overlooked in the past with no clear semblance of a theme.
Beginning within the winter edition of the 2022-2023 school year, the Features section has more organization, with plans of publishing weekly rather than with the edition for students to read and enjoy. Feature Editors Gabrielle Dharmawan ‘25 and Madhav Mandala ‘24, Copy Editor Shrinidhi Ramachandran ‘23, and Features Editor-In-Chief Pragya Singh ‘23 hope to increase readership of the newspaper and exposure of the features section this school year.
“Before, we just used to have them all go out at once, and didn’t highlight the theme or the articles at all. They had almost no viewership,” said Mandala. “We’re trying a new method of pumping out articles, and we’re hoping to have the features articles garner more attention, as they are generally buried in the midst of the rest of the edition.”
With better quality of writing comes better visuals to accompany each article. This year, the Film Club has collaborated heavily with The Eagle’s Eye, taking pictures of events and allowing readers to see gallery walls and vibrant cover photos alongside writing.
“The Film Club photographers have also been extremely diligent and going to events in-person, so every article we’ve put out has had beautiful images to accompany it,” added Wu.
While the publication has changed throughout the years, the core of the Eagle’s Eye stays the same: to provide insight for high school students within EHS.
“As I’m sure you are aware, we live in a divided nation and there is bullying and harassment in schools and in communities. Students need an outlet to vent their grievances without too much interference,” said Bamdad. “The newspaper could be this outlet.”