Writing: Tell Me a Story

By Susan Massy

To capture readers, your yearbook staff should be writing personal stories and finding unique angles for the year. This unit will help kick-start that creative process.


So why do we even bother to write yearbook copy? I mean, seriously… nobody likes to read and yearbook staff members claim they don’t like to write, so why go to the trouble?

Let’s start with why we produce yearbooks – and why people buy them.

  • A yearbook captures memories. It is the sentimental version of a bank vault where we store the important events, the touching memories, those defining moments that give meaning and life to a year.
  • The yearbook is a time machine that allows readers to remember what it was to be in high school, to be a teen.

Yearbooks without stories have a hard time capturing defining moments or reminding readers who they were and how life has changed. To do this, you need to write stories that are captivating and personal. Once you learn the process for researching, writing and rewriting, you can write those engrossing stories for your yearbook.

Susan Massy

Susan Massy is the yearbook adviser at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School in Shawnee, Kan., where her Lair yearbook staffs have been demonstrating excellence in writing and design for the past two decades. The Lair recently won its 18th Pacemaker award from the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) under Massy’s guidance. In 1999, Massy was chosen the National Yearbook Adviser of the Year by the Journalism Education Association (JEA). In 2013, Massy was inducted into the Kansas Scholastic Press Association (KSPA) Hall of Fame.