June 16, 2009 / Staff Management

Job descriptions set expectations

Written by Idea File Staff

Using job descriptions to organize staff lets each student know what is expected, and lets you see if every job that needs to be done is covered. Yearbook production flows much more smoothly and deadlines are easier to meet when the staff knows what part they play in the process.

Included here are the most common staff titles and their job descriptions. When preparing to assign these positions, consider the size of the staff and the talents and capabilities of each member. Advisers at smaller schools may need students to double-up on duties, while advisers at larger schools may reformat the staff organization chart yearly depending on the number of people and their skills.

For example, the staff could be managed by one editor-in-chief who oversees everything and reports to the adviser. Or, the position could be split among two, three or four co-editors who oversee various functions, and they all report to the adviser. Another format would be to have section editors at a more managerial level like co-editors, and have specific tasks delegated to assistant editors or reporters.

The business manager is a person who could use assistants, if available, to handle the commercial ad sales, senior ad sales, book sales, budgeting, and accounting. A business manager also can be at the level of a co-editor.

The best way to look at the list below might be to review the tasks, look at your staff, then decide how to organize your staff for optimum productivity.

Editor-in-Chief

The student ultimately responsible for overall development and content of the book. Among the duties:

  • Delegates staff assignments
  • Recruits staff and assigns jobs with adviser
  • Sets and enforces a production schedule
  • Edits every page and proof
  • Leads staff meetings
  • Trains and coaches staff
  • Decides theme, design and coverage with adviser and other editors
  • Plans ladder with adviser and section editors
  • Reports to adviser

Managing Editor

An assistant who keeps the staff operating efficiently. Among the duties:

  • Maintains supplies
  • Fills out production forms
  • Checks individual deadlines
  • Reports to editor-in-chief and adviser

Co-editors

Sometimes used instead of Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor. There can be more than two co-editors; section editors and business managers can be at this level. Among the duties:

  • Same as editor-in-chief and managing editor but are split among co-editors
  • Report to adviser

Copy Editor

The proofreader of all copy before pages are due, checking for style and accuracy. Among the duties:

  • Provides constructive feedback to improve writers’ work
  • Establishes copywriting styles with editor-in-chief
  • Compares copy on all pages to prevent repetitiveness
  • Suggests coverage ideas to designers and photographers
  • Reports to editor-in-chief

Photo Editor

The person who assigns photographers to cover all events and stories. Among the duties:

  • Edits photos and cutlines
  • Ensures no photo runs twice and the same people are not photographed too often
  • Runs the club/sports team Picture Days
  • Works with professional photographer to coordinate senior and underclass portraits
  • Orders supplies
  • Manages the darkroom, organizes negatives, contact sheets and finished prints
  • Reports to editor-in-chief

Business or Advertising Manager

The leader of the book and ad sales campaigns. Larger staffs may have a team that includes a bookkeeper, sales manager, promotions manager and ad designer who report to this position. Smaller staffs may use the advertising/index editor in this position. Among the duties:

  • Balances the budget
  • Provides a monthly report of income and expenses
  • Organizes additional fundraising efforts if necessary
  • Prepares billing statements
  • Writes receipts
  • Makes daily deposits into the yearbook account
  • Reports to editor-in-chief and adviser

Design Editor

Creator of the layouts and page templates. Among the duties:

  • Organizes computer folders for templates
  • Trains staff on design software
  • Creates the style guide for design consistency

Section Editor

The person responsible for completion of all pages within his section. Among the duties:

  • Assigns spreads to other staff members if needed
  • Edits and proofreads every spread in his section
  • Section editors can include academics, sports, clubs/organizations, student life or people, and ads/index
  • Designs spreads if there is no design editor
  • Reports to copy editor, design editor and photo editor

Technology Director

Knows how to operate all hardware and software. Among the duties:

  • Ensures staff is saving text and photos in the correct format
  • Keeps desktops and hard drives organized
  • Sometimes creates, scans and manipulates all the graphics, freeing up the designers
  • Reports to editor-in-chief and adviser

Photographers

Take all requested photos. Among the duties:

  • Shoot assigned event before, during or after school
  • Develop and print photos
  • Write appropriate cutlines
  • Reports to photo editor

Reporters

Cover and submit stories on events. Among the duties:

  • Conduct interviews
  • Cover assigned event before, during or after school
  • Write and submit stories by deadline
  • Reports to section editor or copy editor
  • hajie

    good day

    i came across this article while researching on responsibilities of yearbook staff.

    can i use this and give to my students for them to understand the role of each person? thanks a lot for your reply

Idea File Staff

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