Creating a yearbook can be one of the most gratifying aspects of high school, but it can also be a particularly thankless and stressful job – especially when submission deadlines roll around.
In my progression from beginning journalist to editor-in-chief, I have attended three JEA/NSPA fall national conventions: 2008 in St. Louis, 2009 in Washington, D.C. and 2010 in Kansas City. All have provided invaluable opportunities to me personally and to our entire Cambia staff at Oak Park High School in Kansas City, Mo.
Copy editing and fact checking are crucial to the production of a strong yearbook. Responsibility for keeping details accurate belongs to the copy editor.
Some staffs are devoid of dedicated writers and have regulated copy to languish in mediocrity. Even if your staff loathes the written word and your copy editor jumped ship, it is still possible for your publication to have wonderful writing.
At our school, yearbook is not a mandatory activity, but one that requires staffers to dedicate their own free time. It always proves to be a challenge to finish our 308-page book with an extracurricular staff of only 16 members who don’t get a grade. Encouraging them to work is not an easy task, but we have learned some surefire methods needed to meet our deadlines.
From experience I learned that even the biggest control freak of an editor-in-chief cannot afford to micromanage, regardless of how friendly the whole staff is.
It is always with some hesitation that a wholly original approach is taken in developing a yearbook theme. Given the diversity inherent to our west Texas border town of El Paso, the 2009 Franklin High School yearbook staff and I sought to reflect the many dimensions of living on a border by choosing a theme relevant to our existence.
Yearbook staff members typically form cliques based on previous friendships and their grade levels. Freshmen are often intimidated by the upperclassmen and are reluctant to ask them for help during deadline crunches. New members of any grade are unsure of their roles and how they fit in.
These situations can create an uncomfortable working environment within the classroom. Experienced staff members know how to make newcomers feel welcome in this high-stress environment where they have much to learn.
No matter if you are in charge of a staff of seven or 17, there are several essential keys to holding a productive, organized, smooth-running staff meeting. For starters, organization is a must!
Our staff always joked that yearbook could easily be a successful reality TV show. Can’t you see the advertising teaser now? “Find out next week, will Katie lose her cool when the editors decide not to use her template, and how does Jake take it when Emily rewrites his copy?”