May 27, 2009 / Spring 2009 / Staff Management

Building a better yearbook through critiques

Written by Idea File Staff

Book critiques can help your staff learn from their work and improve their yearbook. While your staff can analyze their own book (see sidebar), another point of view is always helpful. There are a few ways to get a professional critique. Some state associations and universities offer these assessments. So do national scholastic associations, and here is some information about their services.

Columbia Scholastic Press Association

CSPA offers its members Medalist Critiques, which provide specific instruction to students on improving their work. Using a written set of standards, experienced yearbook advisers analyze the publication and provide written comments. Every entry receives a rating of Gold, Silver or Bronze. Middle school, high school and college publications are eligible for membership and critiques.

Deadlines: Submit the membership application, membership fee and two copies of your yearbook to CSPA as soon as the yearbook is printed. Spring delivery yearbooks must be submitted by June 16. Late summer and fall delivery yearbooks may be submitted as late as Oct. 15.

For more information and forms, go to columbia.edu/cu/cspa/docs/contests-and-critiques/medalists-critiques/index.html

National Scholastic Press Association

NSPA offers critiques to full members from middle schools and high schools. Professional journalists and media advisers evaluate the yearbooks, looking at coverage, copy and design. Ratings from Third Class to All-American are given.

Deadline: Send payment, membership application and a copy of your yearbook to NSPA by Dec. 1. For more information and to download the entry form, go to studentpress.org/nspa/contests.html and click on contests/critiques.

For more information and to check deadlines and cost for critiques at each convention, go to studentpress.org/nspa/ and click on Conventions.

Associated Collegiate Press

Critiques of college yearbooks are available by request through the ACP. Non-members may submit a yearbook for critique, though members receive a reduced rate. Judges provide feedback and rate publications from Third Class to All-American.

Deadline: Submit form, payment and a copy of your yearbook to ACP before Dec. 1.

For more information and to download the entry form, go to studentpress.org/acp/index.html and click on Membership. Questions can be sent to critiques@studentpress.org or directed to the ACP Critique Desk at 612-625-8335

Idea File Staff

Idea File Staff reports are posts compiled by the Walsworth Yearbooks Marketing Department, covering a wide range of yearbook topics.