April 7, 2010 / Staff Management

Guide your yearbook with a staff manual

Written by Idea File Staff

One of the most important reference materials for a well-run yearbook is a detailed handbook for staff members – a manual that provides answers to the basic questions they will encounter throughout the year.

Policies, rules, job descriptions and procedures should all be in the staff manual. Right now, in the spring, the outgoing yearbook staff should be reviewing the manual and starting the new one for next year’s staff.

Obviously, the staff handbook should be a detailed, inclusive document, since it will be the first place the staff goes to get information. This list of items is a good start for the type of information you can include:

  • Yearbook policies at the beginning, possibly including a mission statement, goals
  • Job descriptions and duties
  • Writing style guidelines, including standards for punctuation, capitalization, titles, etc.
  • Design rules covering items such as fonts and columns
  • Ad policy covering content, format, billing and payment practices
  • Deadline schedule
  • Staff list with contact information
  • School faculty and staff names and contact information

The following PDFs from Walsworth’s The Yearbook Suite curriculum are examples of the types of documents that could potentially be utilized in a staff manual.

Common sense guidelines

General staff policy

Style guide example

  • an example of this would be great to see! 🙂

  • Lynise

    I would also like to see and example.

  • Landon

    This does not have to be set up like a “book”; it can simply be typed up, and put in a 3-ring binder, or just something to keep it organized. Also, it is fun to let your yearbook staff decorate the binder to give it some character.
    An example would be, “Our mission is to provide accurate data in our yearbook. We strive for our yearbook to have a professional feel, yet still hold a sense of personalization. Everyone is to be included in the yearbook, and correctly represented.”
    “The job of the editor(s) is to run proofs of all pages, as well as take charge during times of the advisor’s absence. The editor will lead out while choosing fonts, layouts, and anything else using proper voting procedure”
    “All names on the ‘mug shots’ should be equally spaced and properly aligned, ALWAYS double-check the spelling of one’s name BEFORE you complete the page. Capitalize names, words at the beginning of a sentence, and follow all grammatical capitalization guidelines. Punctuate all lists of names correctly (Bob Smith, James Darby, Ronald Lofton, Jack Roland and Bobby O’Donnel.) If you run out of space on a line, do not use normal ‘word wrap’ format. A person’s entire name should appear on a line. For any other Writing Style Guidelines, consult your adviser(s) and/or editor(s).”
    “Fonts will be voted on at the beginning of the school-year and will be final. No exceptions will be made for any particular page. Everyone has a chance to choose, and they must all have similar formatting.”
    “Cost of the yearbook is also voted prior to sales, and there will be no exceptions made for anyone. The editor(s) and/or adviser(s) will be solely responsible for writing receipts for all payment received.”
    “[“A deadline for you, is a deadline for me”] Therefore, any pages that are received late without a justifiable excuse will be reflected on the student’s grade report, no exceptions.”

    (Then you may want a separate page with yearbook and school staff on it.)

  • Evan Blackwell

    Thanks for the comments, everyone!

    Since a staff manual is a pretty customized item for a yearbook staff, we don’t have an example of an entire book to show. However, I did go back and post a few PDF documents from Walsworth’s The Yearbook Suite curriculum, which would be examples of the types of things that might be in there.

    There are links to a sample style guide there, as well as some sample staff policies.

    Evan Blackwell
    Walsworth Yearbooks

  • If you would like to see a sample journalism staff manual or if you would like to submit one, you can visit http://staffmanuals.weebly.com/.

Idea File Staff

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