December 20, 2017 / Coverage / Coverage Spotlight

Holidays, winter break provide plenty of coverage opportunities for yearbook staffs

Written by Evan Blackwell, CJE

The holidays and winter break are likely a time for most yearbook staffs to pause, regroup and get ready for the second semester. A week or two off to recharge is great for all involved, but it’s also good to keep in mind that this time of year is also filled with story possibilities.

In our latest Coverage Spotlight, we’re going to take a look at how some 2017 yearbooks did a good job with winter break coverage.

Before your school even dismisses for the holiday break, you might have final exams (at most high schools, this will definitely be the case). Consider a spread on how students studied for semester finals. This could be a fresh topic for an academics section.

That’s what the 2017 yearbook staff from Monarch High School in Louisville, Colorado, did, as you can see in the really cool spread above. In its “Guide to Surviving Finals” spread, the Monarch staff incorporated some fun ideas.

2017 Fort Worth Country Day

They surveyed students to determine that finals studying went on for more than 1,800 hours. They also highlighted a sample of students’ favorite Spotify study playlists – a touch that will be fun to look back on years down the road. Then they included quotes and graphics that illustrated the favorite methods students used to study. Nicely done!

Vacation plans

A good student life idea many staffs cover around this time of year is where students travel over winter break. You can see a really well-designed example of this type of coverage above here on the right from the 2017 Flight staff at Fort Worth Country Day in Fort Worth, Texas.

While the copy touches on how many families stayed around home, the spread’s focus of “Winter Adventures” then spotlighted those students who got the chance to travel over the break, from a Disney vacation to ski trips in Idaho and Colorado.

2017 Fossil Ridge High School

Another angle on holiday travel coverage can be found by looking for specific stories from the international students in your school, or from students who got the chance to travel abroad over winter break. That’s what the 2017 Impressions staff from Fossil Ridge High School in Keller, Texas, did.

Fossil Ridge’s spread on holiday travel centered around a pair of siblings who traveled back to their parents’ native homeland of Ethiopia, where they got to spend a few weeks with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Not only are stories like this an interesting profile of two students, it provides an opportunity to give a glimpse of the customs in other cultures.

News happens

Of course, sometimes you just can’t predict what you will need to cover over the break. Life events will happen that you don’t plan for and your staff needs to be ready when they do.

For example, the 2017 Munhinotu staff from Gresham High School in Gresham, Oregon, saw its school’s winter break get extended when the area got hit by a massive snowstorm that shut down school.

2017 Gresham High School

Gresham missed nine days of school due to the snowy weather, which made the winter weather one of the most newsworthy events of the school year and led to them devoting a couple spreads of coverage to the topic (one of which you can see on the right).

The lesson? Enjoy your winter break, but keep your eye out for stories!

Evan Blackwell, CJE
Evan Blackwell, CJE

Evan Blackwell, CJE, is a Web Content Specialist for walsworthyearbooks.com and yearbookhelp.com, as well as a regular contributor to Idea File magazine. He's been a writer and editor for Walsworth Yearbooks for the past 13 years, and is the author of the Yearbook Suite's "The Art of the Interview" unit. Prior to joining Walsworth, Blackwell spent five years as an award-winning newspaper and magazine journalist. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.