No matter if you are in charge of a staff of seven or 17, there are several essential keys to holding a productive, organized, smooth-running staff meeting. For starters, organization is a must!
Sandy Masson has counted before, and the last time she checked, there were 37 languages represented among the students at her school – Grace King High School in Metairie, La.
As the yearbook adviser at Grace King, that puts Masson in an enviable position. Her school is a melting pot, and the yearbook staff is typically a reflection of that – a mixture of kids who are male, female, Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic, Indian and many other ethnicities. Masson’s diverse journalism room reflects well on the coverage in the school’s yearbook.
As a member of the newspaper and yearbook staff during high school, I would always remember the sense of joy and accomplishment when I would see my name in print. I knew journalism was the career for me.
Fifteen years later, the world of newspaper reporting is behind me. No longer am I sitting in my cubicle writing stories and designing pages at a Pittsburgh newspaper. Now I am standing in front of 50 yearbook students, proving to them how journalism can make an impact on their life and give them benefits that are unimaginable.
They stay up late on work nights, suffer the anguish of deadlines, and fill the need for food.
They are the parents of yearbook students.
These parents stay up late to pick up their child from school, spend time and money feeding the staff and suffer as they watch their children learn to balance their lives. But the benefits of yearbook outweigh all that, and they are passionate about the value of the experience to their children.
All of those D-Days during the school year – those deadlines that needed to be met – were just the precursor to your yearbook’s big D-Day – Distribution Day. Distribution is another yearbook job that requires planning, organizing and coordination. It is a lot of work, but that effort before the big D-Day will make handing out the books as rewarding for you as for the recipients.
Anyone who has been on the yearbook staff probably knows that it is not all fun and games. It is highly unlikely that any staff has not endured those long days – and sometimes nights – filled with coffee, food, the occasional tear and, of course, utter chaos. Therefore, in addition to overseeing the publication of a however-many-page chronicle of the year, it is the responsibility of the editor to make sure yearbook includes activities to lighten the experience and unify the staff.
School starts and the countdown begins. You have six weeks – may- be – to whip the new staffers into shape. And that means teaching them the basics of InDesign, a variety of strange yearbook terms (colophon? ladder? folio?), design rules that may or may not be broken, and the importance of meeting deadlines.