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Yearbook Journalism 101

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Brendan McCann

on 25 October 2018

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Transcript of Yearbook Journalism 101

Our girls basketball team worked hard this year. The season started off slow, but the girls bounced back and finished with more wins than losses. The coach was proud of what the girls did this season even though they lost a few important games early on. This season was not a slamdunk, but our girls showed the other schools in the district that they were a team to be reckoned with. Good work girls!
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?
Yearbook Journalism
Steps for understanding yearbook copy
Anatomy of Caption
Direct Quote
- Unique response from someone in the photo talking about the event or experience.
Levels of Writing
for a Yearbook
Yearbook Journalism

NOT TRUE! -- What you really mean, is no one wants to read boring yearbook copy.
The writing in a yearbook personalizes the year by telling the story of the people who were part of it.
Multiple paragraph stories that include quotes and descriptive language to present specific experiences to readers in an interesting and people-centered way.
Shorter chunks of text that present a very specific glimpse into a topic.
Text that helps explain a specific photo with information about the subject and people involved.
You and your classmates TODAY
(when the book comes out)
You are NOT writing for your teacher and you are NOT writing an essay.
Know Your Audience
You are writing for TWO primary audiences:
Focus on PEOPLE and not events. Look for specific stories within an event.
Find an Angle
Get Off Your Butt
Good reporters do NOT sit on their butts in front of a computer... You need to be there in the moment. Good copy hinges on quotes and perspectives from the people involved. So get out there and talk to people.
You’ve done the leg-work now its time to write that copy. Review your original ideas and interview notes.
Review & Write
Ask yourself, “what is the most interesting thing about this topic?” and try to build your story around that.
Your job is to transport the reader to that moment in time and highlight the people involved.
Edit & Share
This yearbook isn’t just for you... it’s for your school and community. So have other staffers read, review and help edit your work.
You and your classmates TOMORROW
(20 years from now)
Consider the Before, During and After
Look beyond the obvious
Brainstorming Coverage Angles
Always focus on people and personal stories instead of general event coverage.
Coverage angles and sources are everywhere; you just have to pay attention and talk to people.
Consider the Before, During and After of any event or topic to help expand your coverage.
No matter what the coverage angle... remember to include the 5 W's and How.
NEXT>>> Break the topic down into as many subtopics as you can think of.
Well-written copy can take a yearbook from “good” to “great!”
The copy can be written through the lens of your theme to help unify stories and ideas.
Copy helps connect readers to special moments in time by adding depth to images and triggering their memories of specific events.
QUICK READS (Secondary coverage)
FEATURE STORIES (Primary Coverage)
Spirit Week
FIRST>>> Get together with a small group and start the process by listing the main topic.
Float Building
How to build a wining float step-by-step.
Class warfare Juniors vs Seniors
Timeline of the day's preparations.
Nervous or Not?
Boys vs Girls feelings on being on court.
Into the wee hours with ASB cleanup.
Spirit trends from head to toe.
How to find a friend in a crowded gym.
CONTINUE>>> Breaking each of the subtopics down into smaller elements.
Now you have plenty of ideas for coverage angles.
Some of these ideas could be combined together into a feature stories and some of them could end up being smaller quickreads or sidebars.
Brainstorming Coverage Activity
- Presenting the information received from a source without using their exact words.
- Beginning or introduction to an article; should grab the reader’s attention and give the story direction, setting the tone.
- You know what a quote is... The key idea is that the quote is insightful and provides a personal point of view.
Easy as “A-B-C-D”
Attention Getter
- (Lead) This is like a mini headline. Quick verbal title for the photo.
Basic Info
- Present tense sentence that identifies the people and action. Present tense because it is “frozen in time.”
Complimentary Info
- Past Tense sentence that give the reader an insight to what can’t be seen in the photo.
Caption Writing Exercise
- Words or phrases that help a story move smoothly from one point to the next
Attention Getter - (Lead) This is like a mini headline.
Basic Info - Present tense sentence that identifies the people and action.
Complimentary Info - Past Tense sentence that give the reader an insight to what can’t be seen in the photo.
Direct Quote - Unique response from someone in the photo talking about the event or experience.
Select an event or activity that will take place at your school this year and complete a brainstorming web to find as many unique coverage angles as possible.
Mr. Brendan McCann
Session Goals:
Successfully apply the "ABCD" method for caption writing.
Understand the purpose and importance of copy in the yearbook.
Recognize the different levels/types of copy in a yearbook.
Learn how to brainstorm coverage angles.
What's wrong with this?
Some students on the other hand go the Sparknotes route for much different reasons.

We all jumped off the cliff despite what we were told.
Students choose
for a variety of reasons, but is it always the best option?
"I actually read the the
, but I had trouble staying focused. I always felt like they were speaking another language. Sparknotes just helped me understand the book better," explains Sophomore Jenni Frias.

Junior Mark Deeds admits, "I don't think I've ever read an entire novel for school, but Sparknotes help you fake your way through it."
Almost 60% of the 150 students surveyed responded that they have used Cliff's or Sparknotes this year.

One senior explained that he has more important things like work and band practice to fill up his time than to read the books assigned in classes.
etc. etc. etc....
Full transcript