July 16, 2009 / Idea File Supplement

What’s a Sidebar?

Written by Idea File Staff

List
Material presented in the clearest, most obvious way. Commonly presented preceded by numbers or bullets. Great way to unload lists of names, awards, etc. from the body of feature copy.

Factoid
Brief (usually one sentence) stand-alone statement. Sometimes known as a fast fact.

Summary/Nut Paragraph
Sentence near top of story which gives the reader a preview of the story. Good nut grafs turn browsers into readers.

Pulled Quote
Quote taken directly from the story and placed on the spread in larger type to serve as a design element and a teaser. Be sure pulled quotes are truly memorable.

Brief
Short, two-to-four sentence mini-story. Commonly used in groups to cover a variety of topics under one umbrella.

Glossary
List to define terms which may not be familiar to readers. Some stories, such as those about in-line skating or teenage slang, might need a glossary.

Directory
Similar to a table of contents. Gives the reader guidance in finding material.

Almanac
Useful facts, often presented in calendar form.

Map
Gives location. In year- books, maps sometimes record where/how an event happened.

Time Line
Sequential presentation of events. Not all time lines need to be horizontal like the ones in history textbooks.

Reader Interaction/Quiz
Anything which asks the reader to pick up a pencil and participate. If the item is a quiz, be sure to provide the answers.

Myth vs. Fact
Documented statements which take the air out of commonly held misconceptions. A great way to handle a school’s own urban myths.

Question/Answer
A classic format. Careful record-keeping makes this an ideal vehicle for getting the maximum number of names in the yearbook if reporters are required to seek out students never before quoted.

Step-by-Step Directions
List to walk the reader through an event or situation. Many times used to include humor in the yearbook, as in giving the directions to becoming a teacher’s pet, etc.

Top 10 List
David Letterman has made this an American classic. These lists do not have to have 10 items. Sometimes three or five work as well.

Harper’s Index
Facts and figures presented in a category-response format. Clever writers also can use this format in humorous ways.

Recipe
A traditional Betty Crocker-like approach with ingredients and directions. Could be used to give the secret to a big win in a sport, for example.

Conference Interview
Three to four people gather to discuss a topic. The reporter serves as questioner and facilitator, recording the interview on tape for future editing.

Idea File Staff

Idea File Staff reports are posts compiled by the Walsworth Yearbooks Marketing Department, covering a wide range of yearbook topics.