In April, applications to join the yearbook committee are posted on the outside door near the yearbook lab.
One month after you have been selected to be a member of the yearbook club, the adviser will host meetings during the summer and assign each staff member their new roles and drive to multiple business areas to have businesses purchase and place their ad in the yearbook.
However, it’s not only the amount of staff members you need to have in order to run a successful yearbook committee: it takes creativity, motivation, driven students who are willing to learn how to adapt to many challenges they never underwent in their many years of schooling. For example, I was on the yearbook staff during my sophomore and junior years as a class editor from August 2009-May 2011. The writing styles for the yearbook vs writing a class paper changed my perspective in many ways. I loved writing but my format and vocabulary needed tweaking. My sentence structuring was a mess because the details I wrote were not self-explanatory and out of order. Therefore, it takes a while to get out of one’s comfort zone and will start to realize how much it helped joining the staff overall. It helped enhance my writing and photography skills which is why I love writing and posting photography to this very day.
Here are the main components to run a successful yearbook committee:
Create a theme for the yearbook and ask the staff to create a layout for the book page.
Along with the theme, assign your staff members sports pages, extracurricular and division pages. Create a deadline and have each grade member check their sentence structuring, punctuation and spelling mistakes (3 times) before closing the page to be sent to the yearbook company (Walsworth, if using Online Design).
Ensure the division pages match the theme of the yearbook and list the accomplishments to which each class succeeded throughout the school year(s).
Create an Excel spreadsheet with their contact information, assignments and deadlines.
Over the summer, assign them to take pictures and grant them access to Adobe Photoshop for photo editing, turn the wording above the picture upside down, etc.
Grant them access to two of the yearbook staff professional cameras during and outside school hours for their assignments only. Or request them to purchase a camera at Best Buy they can take and use to upload photos with a SD memory card.
And artwork is essential for running a yearbook because the pages are colorful and full of memories that will live onward.
The group split into two and drove to various locations in Adams to interview locals about the Bell Witch, her existence and unknown information in regards to the taunted Bell family.
Diana, Joseph and John drove to fancy restaurants and the canoe rental in Adams about the historical significance of the Bell family and how the legend carries out to this day. Meanwhile, Anita, Rae and Arnold visit local motels and speak with guests and employees to find out what they witnessed while staying in Adams for a short amount of time.
They arrive at a hotel called “Presence Among These Halls.” The group of three order a meal of steak, shrimp and pasta. As they are awaiting for their food arrival, they begin interviewing guests about their experiences at the hotel and visit to the Bell Witch cave.
Janet, a guest at the hotel shared “I went inside the cave with my husband and it was a daunting experience. There was a narrow path with a wishing well where visitors dropped change in there and soon we see an empty Indian grave. It was small enough for a child to be buried there but the remains vanished for quite some time. The tourist told us about a rock on the wall that had the shape of a witches face. When I walked back to the empty grave in the cave, my husband came looking for me and couldn’t find me. I hollered and told him that I am standing next to him but he didn’t hear nor see me. It was strange and from that point forward, I did not want to go back. Some strange phenomena blocked out the sound of my voice. An unknown presence, that is.”
Meanwhile at the restaurant “Laid Back,” the other students interviewed an elderly lady named Joan who was born and raised in Adams. She brought up to them that she and her kids went to the cave several years back when they were under different owners. As she was purchasing tickets, her kids vanished without a trace. She panicked and thought they hid behind the house where it once stood. “My kids took off without letting me know. I screamed for minutes until they ran with a petrified expression on their faces. The wind blew the grass so hard and the clouds turned dark we left the grounds immediately. The kids wanted me to drive to the cemetery but I told them no and sped away for good riddance. I will no longer partake in that paranormal phenomena and stay away from that area as much as possible.”
Bloggers spend many hours a week working their hardest to publish and connect with their readers. However, when we receive criticism from editors and our audience, it is hard to stomach those thoughts because we let them down.
The good news is that we can bounce back by providing and publishing new material for our readers to process. Here are the necessary steps to improve as bloggers:
Accepting Criticism–>It’s painful to accept criticism because we often assume that our stories contain perfect grammar, accurate information or gain many followers. But constructive criticism can make you improve significantly through listening to what the readers are asking you to do, reread your previous stories and determine to make a change for improvement.
Editing Work–>There are online tutors to help improve your sentence structuring, grammatical,punctuation errors and a dictionary to help you extend your vocabulary. Tackle your weakest areas and your work will grow at a steady rate.
Ask Audience for Feedback–> This ties in with the first point. Ask your audience for tips and go forward. Ask them how you can become a better writer or photographer.
Create New Projects–>Old material becomes boring and bloggers are looking for new material to write about. For example, their adventures to a country they never visited before or writing your first newsletter to demonstrate what editors for a local newspaper endure.
“The new semester begun and I am taking my first photography course in college. My assignment for the week entailed: purchasing a Canon Power Shot SX 170 camera with a memory card and tripod. Unfortunately, the camera cannot fit due to its small size.
The cost to buy supplies for any college courses are off the Richter Scale, expensive wise. When I ask myself “What will I learn from this class,” I have to understand the fundamental basics of photography, adapt to the camera and use Adobe Photoshop which will enrich my photos on a professional level.
And I will learn about unknown professional photographers who built their careers through an enormous amount of training, practice and receiving constructive critique in order to become successful in the industry of arts. Those topics are what I will be learning this semester. I am excited about being educated based upon the elements of photography and the passion to which photographers strive for capturing the essence and beauty of life.”
“A few months into the blogging community on WordPress, here are three reasons why I love this website:
Building Connections- I get to connect with bloggers from one country to another who share the same interests I have when it boils down to writing and photography.
Become Editor-In-Chief- You are your own writer and boss. It’s how you format the story that makes or breaks your blogging career. You also learn how to grow as a writer and set deadlines on your own time.
It’s a Free Website with Unique Themes- If you create a blog with the intention of building your portfolio in photography, there are themes that are free but unique enough for it to look professional.
What reasons do have for joining the WordPress community?”
“From the beginning of my early school years through the end of my college career, my writing styles were horrendous. Meaning, my sentences were run-on, incomplete with a lack of clarity and knowledge.
After creating a blog, I realize that my writing style will change as time marches forward. Five years later, it did. Blogging has given me confidence but it also helped me recognize the flaws which can be corrected by patiently rearranging my sentence structures and use a set of terms to make my posts flow smoothly.
Remember, we shall not become ashamed of our writing styles but take the time to critique it and combine your stories in a unique manner. Secondly, ask relatives and peers to evaluate your work. The final step is to receive constructive criticism, learn from your mistakes and grow as a blogger.”
“What’s your purpose for creating a blog? Did you create one to expand upon your writing skills? Perhaps sign up and use it as an online journal to vent out your frustrations?
It depends on the necessary tools to which you can utilize your blog and discover what captures a reader’s attention. For some individuals, they blog to write stories while others use to find a voice in a cause for two different intentions: 1) they are passionate about their dreams for advocacy or 2) they have a voice crying out for help.
Everyone has their own definition of blogging and what their intentions are to create one. Journals are hand-written, containing personal information to vent out anger while bloggers create a website to gain experience in the media industry as a hobby. In ways, journals and blogs can be the same while they can also be different. “
When I review my blog posts to which I have written five years previously, I am shocked to see how many errors I should have corrected at that time. From the beginning, I was terrified that my writing style would be criticized because I used many run-on sentences along with the lack of using logical thinking to ensure that my headlines and stories would collaborate together. To any avail, they did not flow well at all.
My plan for now is to go back, re-write my blog post and post a link to my old post on there in order to help beginning bloggers that your writing style can change within the first five years or more. Errors are mistakes to which we make but it’s up to us to learn from them even if someone did not critique us for it. As bloggers, it’s our job to create headlines, write the story, edit and press the “publish” button. Not only those tasks but to understand that constructive criticism will help us along the way.
Headline topics should be short, to the point and flow with the story. If you are assigned to pitch a story to your editor about a blood donation for two days on your school campus, it’s important to label the story headlines as:
“Donate Blood To Save Lives? We Are Here For Those in Need Now!”
“Are You Here To Save Lives? Donate Your Blood For (insert company)!”
“Need to donate blood? They Are Here For Your Support!”
“Do You Help Those in Need? If So, Please Donate Your Blood Here!”
As repetitive as these headlines are, it’s crucial for them to be parallel with each other based upon the interviewees and their reasons to donate blood in order to save someone’s life.
No matter what grade level you are in at this point, if you need to grab more journalism experience under your belt, reach and snatch for more opportunities as quick as you can. Do not expect the opportunities to come your way. Relying on luck and family connections do not guarantee you instant opportunities. You must have previous experience in journalism (writing & reporting news, photography and video skills) to continue.
In all honesty, if you want to be a journalist but are introverted, communication is key. Work in retail for a few years and you will learn how to associate with customers, coworkers and your supervisors. The reason for retail? Because it will help you enhance your ability to speak with the public. Here are some opportunities you can snatch while on summer break:
Attend concerts and conventions where you will meet famous people. Interview them about their work and you will get an idea what they are about. Blog about your experiences and what you have learned from attending these events.
Partake in extracurricular activities at your school. For example, join the newspaper and yearbook committees. Learn about these clubs and how they communicate with teachers and students differently.
Make sure you go the extra mile and intern at a local newspaper where you will write stories, snap photographs and deliver newspapers.
Lastly, when you find a story in your hometown that was not covered, jump on it immediately and begin the interview process after gathering information in regards to what the story is about. Write your story, edit it and you can do one or two things with this story (A: Ask your local newspaper if you can publish an article) or (B: Blog about the story before anyone else publishes it).