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Ask Mike

May 23, 2019 / Ask Mike / Podcasts / Theme

Mike Taylor, CJE, believes yearbook theme copy should be so strong that the school principal can read from it at graduation. Writing strong copy for the whole school year is no easy feat considering themes are typically developed in October. Some schools are even working on their 2020 themes now – in the spring of…

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Over the last several years, I became known by the title of Ask Mike. This is mainly due to the questions I get when traveling around the country or through my podcast called Ask Mike. Now it’s time to answer some of those questions. D’Angilo in Kansas writes: Hey Mike, when we look at our…

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February 14, 2019 / Ask Mike / Podcasts

A beacon for student journalism, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) is only weeks away from its 95th annual Spring Convention in New York City. What better time for Mike Taylor, CJE, to interview the organization’s executive director, Ed Sullivan? For the first episode of the Ask Mike podcast’s second season, Taylor and Sullivan discuss…

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October 25, 2018 / Ask Mike / Podcasts

With many schools just past that first big yearbook deadline, now is the perfect time to refocus on storytelling. In this week’s episode of Ask Mike, host Mike Taylor, CJE, speaks to two advisers who lead their students to tell great stories. Tiffany Kopcak Tiffany Kopcak teaches her students to eavesdrop. Really. That’s how the…

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September 25, 2018 / Ask Mike / Design / Fall 2018 / Idea File Magazine

For this issue of Idea File, I have collaborated with my good friend Becky Tate from Shawnee Mission North High School in Overland Park, Kansas. We decided there are two areas of design that everyone should pay attention to – deciding on and using fonts correctly, and creating pages/spreads that will visually help tell the…

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March 14, 2018 / Ask Mike / Spring 2018 / Theme

Before your 2018 yearbook is delivered, distributed and the final bell rings, let’s get everyone on the same page about this yearbook theme thing. Let’s get them all thinking in a direction that the staff can work toward. The 2019 yearbook staff needs a theme for their yearbook. Gather the returning staff, sans graduating seniors,…

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September 14, 2017 / Ask Mike / Coverage / Fall 2017 / Idea File Magazine

“Suzy, you are going to be the academics editor of the 2018 yearbook.” These words strike pride, excitement and dread into academics editors across the country. Why? Let’s explore that for a few minutes. Yes, you have a great responsibility. You are in charge of a portion of the book. Yes, a portion that could…

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March 24, 2017 / Ask Mike / Design / Spring 2017

HEY, why are you using font sizes that can be read from the space station? You and your students have a vision for the final project. Hopefully, in that vision, you dream of a classy, sophisticated book that your student body and community will love. You know your colors, you’ve planned great coverage, you’re getting…

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December 14, 2016 / Ask Mike / Staff Fun

One of my favorite memories of advising yearbook has very little to do with the actual production of the yearbook. Instead it has to do with developing caring young adults. I was determined to teach my students that giving a portion of themselves to the world around them is more important than constantly taking from…

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September 27, 2016 / Ask Mike / Design / Fall 2016 / Idea File Magazine

Basic design knowledge is necessary to creating a strong yearbook. Teaching students how and why design is important is a worthwhile exercise. It may seem to take forever, but once students grasp the basics, they will soon be able to use those skills to create a sophisticated spread. You can start here with my Top…

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