Staffing Done Right

Written by Bryce Griffler

If you want something done right, do it yourself, right? Too bad the world of yearbooks doesn’t work that way. However, an effective use of your editorial staff can help you to be well on your way to a great publication – done right.

Your assistant editors-in-chief are competent-use them! Create a checklist for the assistant editors-in-chief to check spreads for consistency and design flaws, after staff writers have completed their work. Also, have them apply the changes to the spread’s digital files.

Sick of dealing with the same petty problem? Teach your assistant editors-in-chief, as well as other editorial staff members, how to fix problems such as printer errors. This way, your staff writers can go to them for help instead of always to you.

Contrary to popular belief, senior ads are very complicated. Designate two staff writers to be responsible for all aspects of senior ads, including: hosting parent workshops, announcing a deadline for submission, noting the number of pages needed, scanning and returning all photos, and revenues.

Don’t make the captain of the football team angry. Get your scores right. Make it the responsibility of your sports editor(s) to check and double-check all scores, team rankings and rosters.

Want a full-scale index for once? Assign two staff members as index editors. These individuals should be entirely self-sufficient and should have no other responsibilities to worry about.

Sometimes, a picture’s worth a thousand curse words. So, no matter how you obtain your photos (staff photographers, professionals or staff writers), choose a staff member or two to load, scan, organize and adjust all photos. No editor wants to deal with lopsided or low-resolution photos right at deadline time.

Don’t have time to check for minor grammar mistakes? Designate a staff writer as a copy editor to review all copy. Give this person a complete student and faculty roster to check name spellings on spreads, even if staff writers have already done so.

Do not split up the revision process. When revising spreads, it works much better, especially once proofs come in, if all editors look at and revise them together – either simultaneously or one after another. Every spread should be reviewed by as many editorial staff members as possible. While it is faster to divide the proofs among the editors for review, one set of eyes may not catch all the errors.

Don’t be afraid to either create editorial positions or assign multiple people to the same editorial position. It gives your staff the opportunity to catch their own mistakes. The business manager position lends itself to more than one person, since it’s a large job, as do editor positions, such as senior ad editor, index editor, photo editor and editor-in-chief.

Editors-in-chief are responsible for so many aspects of the yearbook, which is why it is so tempting to try to do so much on your own – to get it done right. But it is not possible to do everything on your own, so have faith in your editorial staff to get things done right.

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Bryce Griffler