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volume twenty-one issue one __

2015 award winners See all of the Herff Jones-printed yearbooks honored in last spring’s CSPA Crown & NSPA/ACP Pacemaker competitions.


year-specific coverage Go beyond the events and topics you know need to be included each year, and your book will truly reflect the coverage year.


everyone has a story Profiles of students and teachers help “localize” your book and provide great opportunities to include different campus personalities.


editor-in-chief Ann Akers, MJE art director Katherine Morgan

__ Justin Daigle | CJE with 11 years advising at Brighton (CO) HS

Summer highlight? Daigle and his yearbook bestie, Carrie Hendrix, led a sing-a-long of Disney songs with 150 yerds in Washington state. __

designers Rashaad Bilal Brandon Lee Samantha Long Greg Rutkowski

Charla Harris | CJE with 31 years advising at Pleasant Grove HS, Texarkana, TX

copy editor Kristen Creed

Harris traveled almost 20,000 miles this summer — with a wedding in Spain and a cruise in Hawaii in the span of three weeks — and that didn’t include all those yearbook workshops before and after!

staff photographs from Lewis-Palmer HS Monument, CO

__ Carrie Hendrix | CJE with 14 years advising at Lewis-Palmer HS, Monument, CO

Mountain View HS Mesa, AZ

Lots of people say yearbook is like a family, but Hendrix demonstrates the idea when her parents travel with her staff as additional chaperones for national conventions.

Pleasant Grove HS Texarkana, TX

__ Joe Humphrey | MJE with 11 years advising YB at Hillsborough HS, Tampa, FL

A former student and professional journalist, Humphrey and his family traveled northeast this summer as they worked on visiting all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums. They’re up to five. __ Nicole Laughrey | MJE with 9 years advising at Carmel (IN) HS

For the first time in a decade, Laughrey is actually wondering if the 500-page yearbook/supplement/website combo is going to be enough to keep her staff of nearly 70 busy and engaged for the year! __ Linda Puntney | MJE, Lifetime yerd and former HJ Special Consultant

Vacaville (CA) HS HJ locations Charlotte, NC Indianapolis, IN Kansas City, KS Logan, UT Montgomery, AL

One of several who have been dubbed “Queen of Yearbook” by others through the years, it was fun/funny when her granddaughters decided “Queenie” was a better name for her than Gramma.

Winnipeg, CN


Issue One of Herff Jones’ Yearbook Discoveries Volume Twenty-one was produced electronically using Adobe® InDesign® CC, Adobe Illustrator® CC and Adobe Photoshop® CC. This magazine was created on a Mac Pro, 2.66 GHz with 6 GB of RAM and printed by Herff Jones, LLC, at its Logan, UT printing facility. The cover was printed on White Vibracolor endsheet stock and the magazine itself was printed on 80# matte stock using four-color process inks. The fonts used in this issue are AHJ Bodoni Recut and AHJ Livingston. Herff Jones and the Herff Jones logo are registered trademarks of Herff Jones, LLC. Apple and Macintosh are registered trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc. Adobe and Photoshop are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems, Inc.

Maya Wildgoose | 2 years advising at Vacaville (CA) HS

Back into the routine of teaching and advising after a summer of traveling, one of Wildgoose’s summer highlights was surfing for the first time off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. __ Landon Wrather | 17 years advising at Mountain View HS, Tempe, AZ

Besides loving “every part of yearbook,” Wrather is “slightly obsessed” with the musical, Hamilton — which her entire family has memorized.



Again, Winners Galore!

Make Your Space Work for You

Dozens of 2015 HJ-printed books (and a number of others) were recognized for journalistic excellence in last spring’s Crown and Pacemaker competitions.

If your room (or even a portion of it) is set up to remind staffers of their progress, it’s easier to keep the entire group on track.

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There’s More to Yearbook Than Pages

Editors Beyond Excellent

Carmel’s Media Team allows yearbook staffers to choose which additional contributions they’ll make; from raising visibility on campus to recruiting new staffers and selling more books, there are other tasks that require attention.

Like many others, they were talented technicians and great leaders, but these five traits made last year even more fantastic!

10 That’s Why We Call It a YEARbook

In addition to the annual events that you expect to cover year after year, there needs to be some flexibility in your ladder to allow for coverage of this-year-only topics or events.


22 Another Outlet for Creativity

Demanding student attention with creative, personal posters is yet another way to encourage conversations about — and desire for — the yearbook.

No Excuse is Good Enough

One of the most important life lessons our students can learn in yearbook is the reality and importance of meeting deadlines.

14 Writing Compelling Profiles

From choosing your subject and preparing for the interview through writing, curiosity and compassion — as well as attention to detail — set great personality profiles apart.

24 Work at Being Creative

While the expectation of “being creative” on command may feel awkward, these are actually some exercises you can do to build your imagination muscle.


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best best of the

National scholastic press associations recognize and honor 2015 yearbooks.


t’s great that it happened again! When Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) announced the Finalists in its Crown competition last December, we celebrated as the 35 staffs working with Herff Jones outnumbered all others. In February, 50 Herff Jones-printed yearbooks were listed among the National Scholastic Press Association’s (NSPA) 103 Pacemaker Finalists. Honored for their stunning photography, compelling storytelling, solid reporting, creative design and unifying

concepts, these books come from schools large and small, public and private, urban, suburban and rural. What the staffs share is passion, drive and dedication to excellence. And when the final judging was done, our partner schools were smiling some more. The numbers went our way in not just schools winning both Gold Crowns and Pacemakers, but in schools on both lists as well (see infographs). Year after year, we celebrate your successes. Great yearbooks are what you do!

__ online Find a gallery of HJ award winners


All winning yearbook staffs had lots of things to celebrate. The seven spreads to the right belong to books who honorably received both Gold Crowns and Pacemakers — what a feat! And not to mention, these seven were among only 12 yearbooks nationally who achieved this. Titanium, Antelope (CA) HS The Prowl, Powell MS, Littleton CO Westwind, West Henderson HS, Hendersonville, NC The Buzzer, Brookville HS, Lynchburg, VA Sentry, Robinson MS, Fairfax, VA Jamboree, Toby Johnson MS, Elk Grove, CA Hawk, Pleasant Grove HS, Texarkana, TX

61 Herff Jones books were

24 Herff Jones books comprised

7 Herff Jones books made up

of the award winners on one list or the other.

of the award winners that made both lists.

of books winning both Pacemakers & Gold Crowns.



58 %

2 1 1



10 14



3 1


california 14 recognized books 9 by CSPA 10 by NSPA 5 on both lists.


colorado 10 recognized books 8 by CSPA 6 by NSPA 4 on both lists.

1 1

virginia 16 11 15 10

recognized books by CSPA by NSPA

on both lists.

states with recognized books Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas


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2016 GOLD CROWN WINNERS (2015 BOOKS) Golden Images, Chaparral HS, Parker, CO • Hawk, Pleasant Grove HS, Texarkana, TX • Jamboree, Toby Johnson MS, Elk Grove, CA • Jr. Appalachian, Maryville (TN) Junior HS • Lion’s Den, Hyde MS, Cupertino, CA • Sentry, Robinson MS, Fairfax, VA • The Buzzer, Brookville HS, Lynchburg, VA • The Prowl, Powell MS, Littleton CO • Titanium, Antelope (CA) HS• Westwind, West Henderson HS, Hendersonville, NC • Wingspan, James Enochs HS, Modesto, CA


Awards won by eDesign books in 2015

2 Herff Jones eDesign yearbooks won Gold Crown awards.

2 Herff Jones eDesign yearbooks were awarded Silver Crown awards.

4 Herff Jones eDesign yearbooks earned Pacemaker honors.

7 Herff Jones eDesign yearbooks were Pacemaker Finalists.

most recognized edesign book 4 gold crowns • 1 silver crown • 2 pacemakers

Growth in the number of eDesign books recognized in Crown & Pacemaker competitions from 2010-2015.


2016 SILVER CROWN WINNERS (2015 BOOKS) Above and Beyond, Robinson Secondary School, Fairfax, VA • Accolade, Cave Spring HS, Roanoke, VA • Calumet, Arapahoe HS, Centennial, CO • Cavalier, George Washington HS, Danville, VA • Cayuse, Walnut (CA) HS • Eagle Eye View, Sierra MS, Parker, CO • Farrier, Mirman School, Los Angeles, CA • Laconian, Salem (VA) HS • Lion’s Roar, Christ Presbyterian Academy, Nashville, TN • Nuntius, Altavista (VA) Combined School • Odyssey, Chantilly (VA) HS • Pelican, Pelham (NY) Memorial HS • Pinnacle, Carmel (IN) HS • Pow Wow, Cheyenne Mountain HS, Colorado Springs, CO • Rampages, Casa Roble HS, Orangevale, CA • Summit, Smoky Hill HS, Aurora, CO • Taurus, Diamond Bar (CA) HS •Techniques, Thomas Jefferson HS for Science and Technology, Alexandria, VA • Tesserae, Corning-Painted Post HS, Corning, NY • The Clan, McLean (VA) HS • The Claw, Arvada (CO) West HS • The Lair, Lake Braddock HS, Burke, VA • The Legend, Cherokee Trail HS, Aurora, CO • The Pilot, Redondo Union HS, Redondo Beach, CA


2015 PACEMAKERS Equus, Dobson HS, Mesa, AZ • La Vista, Mountain View HS, Mesa, AZ • Titanium, Antelope (CA) HS • Nugget, Cupertino (CA) HS • Jamboree, Toby Johnson MS, Elk Grove, CA • Rampages, Casa Roble HS, Orangevale, CA • Summit, Smoky Hill HS, Aurora, CO • The Prowl, Powell MS, Littleton, CO • Eagle Eye View, Sierra MS, Parker, CO • Paragon, Munster (IN) HS • Le Flambeau, Notre Dame de Sion, Kansas City, MO • Westwind, West Henderson HS, Hendersonville, NC • Daedalus, Northeastern HS, Manchester, PA • The Hawk, Pleasant Grove HS, Texarkana, TX • The Quest, John Champe HS, Aldie, VA • Techniques, Thomas Jefferson HS for Science and Technology, Alexandria, VA • Nuntius, Altavista (VA) Combined School• Crag, Turner Ashby HS, Bridgewater, VA • Odyssey, Chantilly (VA) HS • The Guardian, Westfield HS, Chantilly, VA • The Cavalier, George Washington HS, Danville, VA • Sentry, Robinson MS, Fairfax, VA • Above & Beyond, Robinson Secondary School, Fairfax, VA • The Buzzer, Brookville HS, Lynchburg, VA • The Clan, McLean (VA) HS • Theogony, Hidden Valley HS, Roanoke, VA

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2015 PACEMAKER FINALISTS Ingenium, Greenfield Jr. HS, Gilbert, AZ • Mesquite Roots, Mesquite HS, Gilbert, AZ • Farrier, Mirman School, Los Angeles, CA • Wingspan, James C. Enochs HS, Modesto, CA • OIS Scenario, Orinda (CA) Intermediate School • El Cazador, Huntington MS, San Marino, CA • Titanian, San Marino (CA) HS • The Crusader, Castle Rock (CO) MS • Golden Images, Chaparral HS, Parker, CO • Epic, Legend HS, Parker, CO • The Cobra, Coleman MS, Tampa, FL • Pinnacle, Carmel (IN) HS • Log, Columbus (IN) North HS • The Dragon, Johnston (IA) HS • **Royal Purple, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS • **Tower, Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, MO • The Legend, Lafayette HS, Wildwood, MO • Nai’a, Greenspun Jr. HS, Henderson, NV • Tesserae, Corning-Painted Post HS, Corning, NY • Pelican, Pelham (NY) Memorial HS • **Bugle, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA • Lair, Lake Braddock HS, Burke, VA • Cavalier Classic, Carroll County HS, Hillsville, VA • Accolade, Cave Spring HS, Roanoke, VA

**ACP will present the 2015 College and University Pacemakers at the National College Media Convention in Washington DC on October 22, 2016.


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ost yearbook advisers could quickly make a list of essential editorial qualities: creativity, leadership, responsibility, dedication — and of course — a sense of humor. Even in those rare challenging years, our editors generally have most of these qualities. For me, last year was different. The four exceptional senior girls who took charge in June 2015 made the book their own, and when it was all over, they had accumulated 147 early deadline days and negotiated with our rep to have our book ship a month early. And they managed to get all 650 people in our school in the book at least twice. Here’s what I learned from them about exceptional editors: __ They understand it’s not about them. It can’t be “my book” if they want the staff

to work hard for them. Exceptional editors know their staffs and include them in decision making. And they know their goal is not to “be in the yearbook” but to make sure the student body is. If it takes going room-to-room every day searching for a student who isn’t in the book yet, that’s what they do. __ They own it. Exceptional editors know a little bit about everything “yearbook,” and

a lot about some things. My editors submitted all the pages and proofs, and handled things when I couldn’t, occasionally breaking into my room to call the plant and fix the problem. While they know it’s not “their” book, it is their baby, and they take responsibility for its creation. __ They have high expectations. That means for themselves and the staff. It’s more than setting goals; exceptional editors demonstrate to their staffs that they will expect (and accept) only the best work every time. And they lead by example. __ They communicate effectively and often. Whether it’s email and texts or stacks of to-do lists and deadline charts, exceptional editors let the staff know the plan and what they need to do to follow it. My editors used reams of paper (and recycled it later) to make the plan clear and keep everyone on track, and they scheduled regular early morning meetings to review the staff’s progress.  __ They eliminate drama. Tight deadlines mean there’s no time for internal conflicts,

and exceptional editors handle problems so the staff can get back to work. While they're serious about their goals and their responsibility, they don’t take themselves too seriously. Class dance parties, trivia contests and long bus trips make the job fun and keeps everyone tightly bonded. Truly, none of these characteristics matter if editors don’t have that one essential quality: a love of yearbooks. Theirs couldn’t have been more obvious than when the 2016 books arrived; I watched them scream with glee and do an impromptu “happy dance” down the hall when they opened the box and pulled out the book.

Amazing Editors

These five traits matter more than ever.

__ article by Charla Harris, CJE

photography provided by Pleasant Grove HS



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CHALLENGE ACCEPTED Colorado staff finds year-specific coverage to advance their theme and enhance their book.


ust as the school year began last fall, my editors-inchief gave a big speech to the staff that they wanted to see coverage in the yearbook that truly captured the year. They challenged the staff to find and share stories that we had NEVER told before. With our yearbook theme being, “You Don’t Know the Half of It,” the editors wanted coverage that told the whole story. Fast forward one week. A student ran into the publications lab during sixth period, yelling across the room, “Channel 9 News and Telemundo are here in the lobby interviewing students and teachers about the 3C bond. Get a camera. Get your phones. We need to go get this story!” Just like that, cameras flew off the shelf and journalists ran to gather details and quotes. It was then that the tone was set; the staff was rising to their editors’ challenge. The students knew they were really journalists, and they had work to do. The students realized the importance of yearspecific coverage. From students protesting in our city streets about the bond issue to a terrifying lock-down

situation, these were moments that would only happen once, and they were the moments that students were going to remember when reminiscing about the year. The year continued with students going out and capturing other big moments like being at the town reservoir at 5 a.m. in the morning to capture our boys basketball program training with a Navy Seal or looking at a Denver city map to plan out where all of our photographers would be to cover the millions of Denver Broncos fans attending the state-wide parade after winning the Super Bowl. It was this coverage and mentality that helped our staff produce the best yearbook we have ever done. How did my staff do it? They had to want to find the coverage and then follow through when they did find it. They needed to always look out for potential stories by tracking leads from social media, conversations, classroom activities, etc. It all started with a challenge. That challenge was accepted and — like our theme intended — the whole story was told. Now, is your staff ready to take the challenge? __ article by Justin Daigle, CJE


REFLECTIONS, BRIGHTON (CO) HS More than half of our student population and one million fans attended the Denver Broncos Super Bowl Parade. After mapping the parade route, the staff decided to place photographers at various locations so they could get shots of many subjects from all angles.

A student announced a gathering at the City Hall building in hopes of persuading citizens to vote “yes� on the District 3C initiative, which would allow the construction of a third high school, and therefore ease overcrowding. Photographers were present each afternoon to cover students making a difference.

When an editor heard that one of their friends from the basketball team was having a one-day training session with a Navy Seal, a plan was set. Staff members arrived at the town reservoir by 5 a.m. to determine how to get the best photos, and were able to capture the six-hour intensive training, which included rafting and swimming in freezing waters.


Build a staff that meets deadlines with ease.

photography provided by Lewis-Palmer HS


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have been advising 14 years, and my staff has never missed a plant deadline. What? So how is this even possible? Answer… it simply isn’t an option. Here’s how we make it happen:

__ Set the tone on Day 1 . Let your staff know that meeting

__ Recalculate your schedule around plant deadlines.

Be smart about doing this. I look over my page requirements every year and make changes in the first few weeks to match the organizational structure of our book. Chronological coverage may be your best friend because the staff can complete signatures quickly.

deadlines is absolutely non-negotiable; get your editors behind you on this. While being part of a journalism staff is fun and rewarding, keeping your staff working allows them to meet important date-specific expectations. My staff knows that I love to laugh, but they know that comes when our book is finished.




Organization is key. Although a busy yearbook lab may

Don’t fear the unexpected. I encourage my editors to require “publish-ready” spreads for our deadlines, but anything can happen, right? Last year we battled nine snow days and numerous delayed starts. This was the time for the staff to really step up and prove that we were a team. We were forced to send a few incomplete elements on some pages just to meet plant requirements. This meant we had to keep copious notes about special changes that needed to be made during the proofing process. But we never missed a deadline, and our perfect record remained intact.

seem chaotic to an outsider, a well-defined ladder and concrete, shared workflow makes for a productive staff. Each team should complete weekly tasks to keep them on track to finish their pages on time. We frequently have coverage teams finish their deadlines early. __ Be honest about deadline dates. I have never “stretched the truth” with my staff about when our deadlines are due. A calendar with important due dates including all our plant deadlines is visibly posted in the lab where the entire staff has access. Why shouldn’t everyone know these? A teacher wouldn’t lie to their students about a big upcoming test, so why would an adviser keep a deadline secret? If staffers understand that meeting all deadlines is a requirement, then sharing them becomes a necessity.

Earn plant early days. The plant rewards early days to

those who send in more pages each deadline than your contract requires. I set our senior baby ad deadline within the first month of school because these spreads are great to “pad” our deadlines with extra pages.

The bottom line is that a strong work ethic should be promoted in all yearbook programs. Having a good system in place early on and the backing of the entire staff will ensure your success. And then deadline won’t be a dirty word anymore.

__ article by Carrie Hendrix, CJE online Find a weekly schedule

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Profiles are an outstanding way to shed light on people at your school; they can tell interesting stories of both students and faculty/staff members. Full-blown profiles continue to be common in today’s yearbooks, some providing new twists on the genre.


ere are a few pointers that might be helpful as you begin to generate profiles:

possible, be a fly on the wall of your subject’s life.

messages on the chalkboard, but drew little hearts over the I’s.”




Cast a wide net. “Sometimes people

Use profiles to help drive the theme.

Go into your interviews prepared.


don’t have as much to say about themselves as other people have to say about them,” said Francesca Althaus, of the Hilsborean at Hillsborough HS in Tampa, FL. Althaus, a section editor, wrote multiple profiles for the 2016 book, including one about a wrestler who, despite being extremely gifted, didn’t enjoy the sport. “I didn’t even have a story,” she said, “until I talked to his coach.”

Don’t just parachute in. Ben


Montgomery, a features reporter at the Tampa Bay Times, offers this advice for crafting great profiles: “Arrive early and stay late.” Engaging profiles put readers in the thick of a subject’s life, and that’s something that can’t be done with three questions at a lunch table, a phone interview or (gasp!) an interview via text. To the extent

Show, don’t tell. This is a cardinal

In the 2016 Tesserae yearbook at New York’s Corning-Painted Post HS, every profile headline included the word “thing,” to align with “The Theory of Everything” theme. For example, the story “She would give everything” was about a hall monitor who donated a kidney to save her brother. At Hillsborough HS, with the theme “More Than,” the doublepage profiles within the student life spreads all preceded a spread about a related topic. And in the senior section, the profiles triggered Aurasma content that told another person’s story.

Imagine you were writing a profile about Tom Brady. It would be horrifying to have your first question to him be, “Uh, what position do you play?” Brady, the New England Patriots quarterback, would probably have a hard time taking you seriously if you showed up unprepared. Do your homework before approaching a subject.

rule of feature writing, not just profile writing. Don’t abuse adjectives — deploy description. Back in my reporter days, I wrote about a yearbook editor who was … well, I can’t remember the adjective I used, but I do remember the description: “She was the type of person who wrote threatening

Another way to delight your readers is with human-interest profiles that tell compelling stories, sharing more than the obvious about people they walk the halls with. __ article by Joe Humphrey, MJE online Find a gallery of profiles

HILSBOREAN HILLSBOROUGH HS TAMPA, FLORIDA Be curious. The author of this piece wanted to know the stor y of WHY these two twins always dressed alike. The result was a detailed account of how they decided what to wear and a great anecdote about a time they switched places.

TESSERAE CORNING-PAINTED POST HS CORNING, NY Before he became their Physics teacher, Mr. Benjamin Bowers was a Marine sergeant. One of 15 themeadvancing, full-spread profiles in this book, the long-for m narrative piece detailed his path from a training role to the classroom — and shared some life lessons that applied in both instances.

PANTHER H.B. PLANT HS TAMPA, FL Panther staffers explained they wanted to reveal deeper, hidden stories in the people section of the 2016 book, themed “Let’s Get Real.” Staffers conducted inter views, then wrote the stories in the magazine-style“as told by” for mat — converting the interviews into first-person accounts. In addition to the 18 senior profiles, they “got real with” 13 other students, covering achievements, challenges and other life situations.


PATRIOT FLORIDA CHRISTIAN MIAMI, FL Following an opening spread that introduced the theme, three spreads featuring three profiles each showed how different situations inspired students similarly. Fullspread profiles and lots of other personalized coverage continued through the book.

FREEFLIGHT, TORREY PINES HS SAN DIEGO, CA With a portraits section spanning more than 100 pages, the Freeflight staff had lots of options for coverage along side the panelled mugs. Full-spread profiles, which introduced a dozen seniors and a couple of students from each of the other grades, were combined with profiles featuring multiple subjects and stories on topics with gradespecific appeal.

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THE EAGLE CLOVER (SC) HS In an interesting twist on the multiple-student profile, Q & A interviews of six student photographers run alongside galleries of their work.

HUMAN Personal stories put faces on issues and achievements — and visa versa.



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article by Landon Wrather online Find a tracking form

Planning, mapping out and keeping track of your staff’s progress is a great way to visualize priorities in the yearbook room.


ou know those scenes in wartime movies? The scenes that depict military brass discussing different battle strategies while standing around a huge relief map of the area in question? The commander would circle the map and eventually determine that troops needed to go to a certain location. Then, some guy with a long rake-like implement would move the toy troops or boats to that area, at which point, everyone would step back, survey the map, and consider the implications of the move. A few years ago, I decided we needed a way to visualize our progress during a deadline. Like the general in the war room, I need to see our strategy at work. I needed a way to see how the “troops” were progressing, and I needed something more visual than a ladder and lists. That’s when my editors and


I decided to re-vamp one of our bulletin boards. We took everything down, re-papered the board, and divided it up into three sections.

Polish: The spreads in this section

are finished and ready for a final deadline polish before being submitted to the plant.

__ On Deck: In this section, the

managing editor posts a form for each spread coming up in the next week or two. The spreads in this section are in the planning stage. Editors assign spreads to staffers and work together to plan coverage. Over the course of the week or two that a spread is “on deck,” editors and staffers add notes regarding who they might need to interview or what specific details need covering. __ In Production: These are the spreads

currently, well, in production. As the year progresses, proof pages sometimes get represented in this section as well, although we use a different color of paper.

Like the relief map in the war room, this board gives my editors and me a visual representation of where we are at all times leading up to each deadline. I can look at it from across the room and quickly get a sense of how we are progressing toward a deadline. If a spread hasn’t moved from “In Production” to “Polish” as expected, I can ask my editors what is causing the delay, which in turn, allows us to solve problems. Sure, it’s not as cool as the relief map in those war room scenes, but that board is our command central. When it comes to the strategy that goes into meeting a deadline, it’s become a valuable tool.


photography provided by Mountain View HS

Chronologically organized books require a staff that is organized and on top of it. Brainstorming ideas, events, topics and coverage opportunities on paper will allow plenty of clarity throughout the entire process, and not only that, but allows the entire staff to be on the same page.


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F Marketing Makes It Happen How building a media team can enhance recruiting, visibility, sales and more.

ace it. As yearbook advisers and journalists, a big part of your job is marketing. Pushing information out (dates! prices! incentives!), collaborating with other groups, establishing relationships with the multiple audiences a publication serves – these are all parts of the commitment you make at the start of the yearbook production cycle. But marketing your yearbook and maintaining the hype around something that won’t even tangibly exist for months and months to come can be a huge challenge. The key is to maintain a constant presence on campus and to involve the entire yearbook staff in the process. At Carmel (IN) HS, the Media Team assignment is a multipurpose and beneficial part of the yearbook process. This assignment revolves around the subtle marketing of yearbook information, but also allows yearbook students to self-direct and get as creative as they wish. Each quarter, yearbook students are asked to work either individually or with a partner on a marketing endeavor that fits into one of six primary categories: social media maintenance, 30-second broadcast commercial, intro-class recruitment, middle school recruitment, direct-to-student book sales and promotional signage. A seventh option allows students to reach beyond these pre-determined options and encourages them to pitch a marketing idea of their own that they wish to execute that quarter. Students pick a new category each quarter to keep things interesting, fresh and challenging. As the adviser, this requires some trust and some flexibility. Yes, you have to share all of the social media passwords and, yes, you have to cheer when that first-quarter designer creates an informative poster with way too much white space. That said, it’s amazing to watch the progression of the students as individuals and as a staff. Individually, they feel empowered in the importance of their role with making the yearbook a success. As a staff, they pull together to make sure their marketing efforts are accurate and appealing. Is there any better reward for an adviser than seeing this kind of teamwork — and the results that follow? __ article by Nicole Laughrey, MJE



While they have a lot of other options for involvement on the Carmel Media Team, social media updates are a popular activity for staffers. From announcing deadlines and coverage opportunities and crowdsourcing content and ideas to promoting sales of senior ads and yearbooks, the yearbook is continuously visible on campus.


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very time you walk onto the campus of Vacaville HS, the first thing you see is all the spirited décor: school-colored crepe paper, club meeting reminders, trophies in windows, mascots on walls… and yearbook posters. Lots and lots of yearbook posters! As a first-year adviser, I struggled with what to bring to an already-thriving book. One October day, between deadlines, the students had a discussion about how book sales were going. “Fine,” I said, “…but they could always be better!” As a staff, we came up with two new ways to promote more on campus. First, we created and manage two social media accounts. The staff advertises sales and features through Twitter and Instagram, including pictures of the book under construction and reminders about deadlines, prices and more. Second — and more effective — was our poster campaign. Using sheets of 11x17 paper and markers, I tasked the staff to come up with two unique poster designs each and the results were incredible — aside from the basic details they had to include, the students created an amazing array of attention-grabbing posters.

The critical aspect of our posters was coverage — not the kind we’re normally worried about, but rather geographic coverage. Our campus is large, so the staff made sure to hang posters from corner to corner; we also produced hundreds of them so we could canvas our campus thoroughly. The posters also popped out! Bright colors were part of the appeal, but even more effective were the creative taglines and images students used to grab attention. When students came to purchase, almost every one of them would start with, “So there are all of these posters around campus telling me to buy a yearbook… here I am!” Our staff also asked teachers to pick a poster to display in their classrooms, which helped us immensely as the teachers then helped advise students on how and where to buy books. In the end, our campaign was very successful. We sold more than 100 more books over the previous year, and earned even more smiles with our goofy yerd art. If you are ever looking for a creative but relaxing staff task, look no further than your markers and paper; they can work wonders!

photography provided by Vacaville HS


PERSONAL Posters __ article by Maya Wildgoose

In the halls and on classroom walls, you have space to engage your readers and keep yearbook visible.

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blue sky

thinking Blue sky thinking is, you know, that feeling that anything is possible, everything has potential and the sky is the limit. Kids have it, and then it slips away as they learn to walk in single file, stay within the lines and conform so they don’t stand out as different. But blue sky thinking should be a way of life in the yearbook staff room rather than the safe, gray, monochromatic conformity of “Let’s do it like last year because that worked.”


reating an atmosphere in the staff room to encourage blue sky thinking is the first step in making your staff more creative and in everyone sharing ownership of the publication. Everyone is equal. Everyone’s voice must be heard with no interruptions.

implemented. More importantly, nurture the idea makers by creating a safe environment where they can develop a sense of acceptance, worth and rediscover the blue sky thinking that’s in all of us.


Blue sky thinking leads to greater creativity.

Blue sky thinking focuses on quantity of ideas.


The goal is to get as many ideas from as many people as you can. The quality part of the process will come later, but initially getting people talking about possibilities creates enthusiasm and a sense of ownership.

Creativity is a team sport. Solo creativity takes


Creativity takes an open mind, persistence and

Blue sky thinking needs the SUN when it comes

the ability to share the ownership of ideas.

to creative activities like brainstorming theme or


story ideas.

Encourage “what if” rather than “just”

S uspend judgement on ideas as they are being

attitudes. If the staff is looking for change in

presented. There are no bad ideas. U nderstand what the idea is and how it will relate to the whole process. Capture the ideas and write everything down. N urture ideas so they can be developed and

the publication, don’t “just” do it the way it has always been done. Develop new ideas by asking “What if we…changed our traditional coverage or added stories to the index to make it more interesting.”


longer, doesn’t go as deep and rarely results in unexpected combinations. Plus, it simply isn’t as much fun. __

__ article by Linda Puntney, MJE

Staffs brainstorm, interview, photograph, design and write. Editors dream big, strategize, lead and revise repeatedly. Advisers train, support, encourage and motivate staffs to do amazing work.

Herff Jones celebrates all you do — providing resources and inspiration to make the books of your dreams become reality. We love the process, the product and the people. It’s who we are.

Herff Jones Yearbook Marketing 9525 Monroe Road Suite 150 Charlotte, NC 28270




P R INTE D IN U SA | KM0916 ©

WE ALWAYS LOVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU AND YOUR STAFF ARE DOING (AND THINKING) On your campus, there aren’t many others who understand your yerdly life. Maybe no one outside the staffroom gets how truly cool it is to craft the perfect headline or capture the peak of emotion. But there’s a greater community of yearbook lovers who would celebrate your successes, answer your questions and benefit from lessons you’ve learned through experience. If you have questions, stories or insight to share, we’d love you to join our blog team.

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And creating cards like those above might be a way for you to grow your social media presence in your own community.


Welcome to the world of Yearbook Discoveries, where the latest yearbook information is at your fingertips. Yearbook information galore! The...


Welcome to the world of Yearbook Discoveries, where the latest yearbook information is at your fingertips. Yearbook information galore! The...