April 19, 1996 / Spring 1996 / Staff Management

Summer Work

Written by Judy Crumpler

Workshops play an important role in next year’s book

Summer workshops are just around the corner. Now is the time for you and your staff to finalize plans to attend.

As a publications adviser for the past 16 years, I have had only two summers in which only one student attended a workshop.The yearbooks produced by those two staffs were liked the least by our student body and received the lowest ratings in competitions.

At the beginning of the school year, my editors and I always instruct students in good yearbook journalism,so why were the books better when I had more than one person attend a workshop?

First, my staff got excited about the possibilities for their book and the year ahead as they saw examples from some of the most creative books in the country and shared ideas with students from other schools. Power comes from numbers, so when several students came back excited, the entire staff got excited.

Second, the staff bonded as they brainstormed for ideas and worked together to create a theme package. They also got to sit with a company designer to see their cover come to life on paper. Of course, we lived together and ate together for a couple of days which helped us get to know each other better.

Third, the students learned the basics of yearbook journalism from experienced, award-winning advisers. They did not just listen to lectures; they did hands-on work. The year was so much easier because the staff came back from the summer with a theme package, a ladder diagram and knowledge of current trends in yearbooks. Staffers also created designs, stories, headlines, captions, and graphic notebooks that the instructors evaluated.

Fourth, staffers learned first-hand how the publishing company expected them to submit pages. Some students received desktop publishing experience while other received photography training. This instruction saved headaches and misunderstandings when deadlines came and proofs arrived.

Last, and maybe most important, students learned how to be responsible and work together to create a finished product under the pressure of a deadline. Staffers could not prepare for the pressure of a deadline; they had to experience it.

As an adviser, I learn something new every year. The workshops give me a chance to talk with my peers who get ideas from other advisers on how to solve problems.

I cannot imagine starting my 17th yearbook without attending a summer workshop with my staff. I know it will give me the energy and excitement I need to help my students produce a book that the school and community will treasure.

Judy Crumpler