year as a yearbook adviser regarding coverage, so I wanted to elaborate and
provide some ways that I eventually worked through that. When I first started as the yearbook adviser
at my small school seven years ago, I had many battles to fight, so to speak.
The one dragon I decided to slay first and foremost was the fact that the
yearbook had morphed into this exclusive book for big sports and seniors. That saddened and worried me all at the same
time. If a book is to document the year
that everyone enjoyed and was a part of, how can this time capsule I am helping
to create only reflect a portion of those events, memories, and people? So with gnashing of teeth and some tears, we
forged ahead and began to reshape our purpose.
Ultimately, we grew our coverage to represent our entire school. In
past years, we have had up to 70% coverage of students in our book least 3
times. Here are 5 ways that any staff
can include more students in your book.
|Back to School Yearbook Coverage Project|
that is easy and safe. Yearbook students are no exception. One way to ensure diverse coverage is to assign
staffers projects that reach out to different students throughout the school. If
staffers have a task (attached to a grade), they are more likely to get out of
their comfort zone and reach out to more students. Not only does this begin to build more
opportunities for coverage, but it also begins to build trust bridges between
the staff and the student body. If the students see that we are reaching out to
all students, no matter what group, then they begin to see value in what we are
doing. And that, well, that affects our bottom line. Over the years, I’ve done several projects
that promote coverage. The projects
always have a theme, require an interview and picture, and must be presented in
class. That way I can make sure my
staffers are reaching out to a variety of other students, we are collecting
good pictures, and I have a grade for my grade book! One new project I did this
year for back to school is my From Clique to Click: Breaking Down Barriers
Project. It really ignited some great discussion and
some great images.
could get lost in the shadows. My staff often struggles with how to reach out
because we don’t want to embarrass anybody, but we also know we have a task to
do. We want everyone, and we really want them at least three times. That is a
tall order, I know, but it makes for a much more meaningful book. Technology is your friend when it comes to
yearbook. Kids are always taking a selfie
or posing with their friends before a game, but they would never feel
comfortable letting a staffer take their picture. Set up a Dropbox, email, Facebook page, or
Instagram where students can submit their own pictures. In return, feature those images on sales
posters in the hallway. Just be sure to
ask their permission or state that upfront.
Another idea to get stellar
images from students is to host a photo contest. I set up 5 or so categories
(school spirit, landscape, illustration, etc.) and let students submit their
images. We get our yearbook
representative to help us judge (sans names), and those students win a small
prize. Plus those images with the photographers’ names are featured in the
book and in a hallway display, and you can use all the other images, too! Sometimes we just need a
picture quick to go with a quote perhaps, but students are so reluctant. What
we’ve found is that no one can resist a sweet treat! Invest in some candy to
give students who are willing to pose, and you will have line!
|Print tags on colored paper using Avery Label Templates and tape to suckers|
can cover in a book. My book is about 200
pages, the smallest trim size available, and we have about 600 students. Some pages you may have not thought of to use
for coverage include business advertisements and index. If a business has affiliations with a
student, maybe they would like to give a shout out on their ad. Another type of ad that generates both
coverage and money is the Senior Memory Ad paid for by the family of the
senior. Also, you can include sidebars or photo bars on the portrait pages or
club group pictures in the reference section. Just get crafty, shrink those
mugs, and move in some cute packages with tons of interesting pictures and
coverage. Most kids don’t love their school picture anyway! Use that space to
cover them in a more natural, fun way!
opening quotes and captions
that include entire classes or groups of students.
teams. With a quick quote or image carefully placed, those stats have extra
|Numbers are coverage, too!|
open-minded and invested in the goal. I
think part of the problem that I had when I first started was that yearbook class was
only for seniors. It was an exclusive entity, and the privilege
was there to be taken advantage of. Only
certain people were able to join, and everything was a secret. I want my staff
to think of themselves as working for the school, not the other way
around. We are creating a gift for
everyone. If possible, take applications
to see what qualifications students have and how diverse they are with their
interests, activities, and skills.
Accept applications from sophomores, juniors, and seniors so that it is
easier to reach out more. Once you have
an established staff, be sure to keep it mixed up to avoid cliques forming inside
the staff. Randomly assign projects and keep page assignments thoughtful and
worthy of our time and attention. We’ve never had 100% coverage of every
student three times, but we’ve gotten close.
It is something we start focusing our energies on from the first week of
school. Be organized, keep lists, and
make sure it’s everybody’s task. Challenge your staff to see how many different
people they can cover on a page and offer incentives to them. It is a struggle, but it’s a productive one!