Photo by: Notre Dame de Sion, Kansas City, Missouri

Picture the Year – Finding Great Imagery for Current Events

Written by Danielle Finch

spread by Woodland Junior High School, Fayetteville, Arkansas

2022 was full of unforgettable moments, and your yearbook has a responsibility to record those events. Whether it’s full features or modular packages, it’s vital that your book covers the things that happened both inside and outside your school walls. Your staff might groan at the task of covering current events; however, recording current events in a yearbook is important for a number of reasons:

  • A yearbook is a historical reference. Yearbooks help provide a historical record of the events that took place during the school year. Information about current events helps contextualize the experiences of the students and faculty at the school at the time the yearbook was published.


  • Well-rounded students are better students. Covering current events can foster a sense of community within the school. By reporting on local, national and international events, students learn about and engage with important issues, creating a more connected and informed student body. Interview students who do not yet have coverage to make everyone in your student body feel heard.


  • Get them thinking. Current events promote critical thinking and media literacy. Students must research and evaluate their sources as well as consider different perspectives and biases. This process develops discerning consumers of media.


Spread by Legacy High School, Mansfield, Texas

Ethically source your photos

You know the why, but the how can sometimes be the tricky part. Using photos that you do not have the right to use can lead to legal problems. Copyright laws protect the rights of photographers and other creators, and using a photo without permission or a proper license could result in a lawsuit. It is important to ensure that you have the necessary rights to use any photos that you include in the yearbook and teach your students how to understand which photos they can legally repurpose.

Using Google Images to source your photos isn’t going to cut it and can come with serious ethical implications related to copyright. Be mindful of this when you work with your students and give them the tools they need to create great features and packages for current events.


Here are a few of our favorite places to obtain photos:


  • Campus for Yearbooks – Tribune News Services. Tribune News Services offers a photo package called Campus for Yearbooks, which was previously known as MCT Campus. Campus offers a top 25 events of the year or gives you unlimited access to Tribune’s archive of 300,000 images of the top stories of the year. To see the service and sign up, go here. 


  • Associated Press/Wide World Photos (AP). The Associated Press offers a photo package. Photos can be selected individually from AP Wide World Photo’s entire archive, or you can pay for access to and unlimited purchase of 900 photos of the biggest events of the year. Click here to learn more. 


  • Getty Images Online Photo Services. Getty Images customizes their photo services to fit schools’ needs. Images can be purchased individually or as part of a package. Pricing depends on total yearbooks printed per school. For more information, click here.


  • Creative Commons. Creative Commons is a non-profit online community that provides free, easy-to-use licenses for copyrighted images and other creative works. Photos from events of the year can often be found in the Creative Commons archive. 

    Spread by Marcus High School, Flower Mound, Texas


  • Want to be trendy on a budget? Use apps like Procreate or your own students’ illustrative talents to create illustrations of some of the most iconic and recognizable images of the year, from celebrities and global events to images and students from your own student body. This is also a great way to include images that were not high enough resolution to print.

Covering current events in a yearbook is important because it helps to provide a historical record, fosters a sense of community, and promotes critical thinking and media literacy. By including information about current events in their yearbook, students and faculty can create a rich and meaningful document that will be valuable for years to come.


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Danielle Finch

Danielle Finch is a former journalism adviser at Smithville High School and now works as a Digital Marketing Specialist for Walsworth. Danielle's passions lie in writing, managing web content and representing the needs of advisers.