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writing

June 15, 2009 / Copywriting

Before you begin to write, read over your interview notes and gather related terms and important information. Listing and clustering start the juices flowing; they put you in the writing mode.

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June 15, 2009 / Copywriting

The old saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” However, without a caption, readers may get a thousand different messages from a picture-and all of those messages may be wrong.

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June 15, 2009 / Copywriting

Just as a story needs a captivating opening, it also needs a final thought that will leave a lasting impression with the reader. Review these four types of conclusions to better understand what makes a good feature ending. Some may be more than one type.

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June 12, 2009 / Copywriting

Story leads work much like ice cream toppings. They draw attention to the subject, making it more attractive, imparting a distinct “flavor” or “personality.”

Leads can inspire. They can question. They can shock, tickle, tease or entertain. But what is their ultimate purpose? Working together with headlines, designs and photographs, leads invite readers to come inside, kick off their shoes and stay for awhile. Good leads should not just grab attention; they should also harmonize with the tone or attitude of the copy. Even the cleverest lead, however, cannot salvage a poorly written story. A punchy lead followed by a boring story is a letdown. Instead, that same lead should pull the reader into a fabulous story that deserves to be read. All of the elements need to function together to make a meaningful presentation.

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June 11, 2009 / Write Away

One of the most useful tools in the yearbook room is the lead notebook. At the beginning of each year, I make a standing assignment of 10 “knock your socks off” leads per week from each writer. They must cut these out of newspapers or magazines and glue them onto a piece of notebook paper. I give the students credit each week for the 10 leads by just glancing at the papers; then I put them in the big red lead notebook that everyone uses. Periodically, I grade them carefully, just to let them know I am serious. And only the sheets with 10 outstanding leads receive an A.

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June 3, 2009 / Write Away

One way for writers to learn style is to mimic the style of professionals. Every writer should have a style notebook and should practice something new either daily or weekly.

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June 2, 2009 / Write Away

When we were studying the epigrams of Alexander Pope last month, I told my English 12 students to ask their parents to share with them any popular sayings or words of wisdom they had known while growing up. One student came back with “You read what you sow.” After laughing a bit, I started to realize that in the world of yearbook, this misstatement actually made sense.

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November 25, 2006 / Winter 2006

The best-laid plans of mice and men … can get messed up by travel agents.

if you do not know the original quote, you will not understand why this line might be amusing. Good writers read good writers so they can build upon a foundation, like John steinbeck did by reading poet robert burns for this line. so here is a fairly classic list of what the best-read people have read, and you should encourage your students to read. Why? so if someone asks them for whom the bell tolls, they will know.

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