How to Be An Amazing Yearbook Journalist

How to Be An Amazing Yearbook Journalist

Aug 17th 2017

One of the hardest tasks your yearbook staff needs to perform is the work of a journalist.  Yearbooks aren’t just photo albums.  Yearbooks tell a story.  Yearbooks have printed words on almost every page.  These words need to be carefully chosen and organized. 

The word “journalism” derives from the French noun “jour” meaning “day.”  A journal, for example, is an account of the day’s activities.  Similarly, a journalist tells the stories of the day, every day

A yearbook leans heavily on the practice of journalism.   Club members are journalists and are telling the stories of their classmates’ time at school.

Basics of Journalism

Journalism has three basic parts to it.  In order to be effective as a journalist, these points need to be understood.  They serve as the foundation.  All journalism involves a message that is sent and received.

The Message

Journalists write with a purpose.  The exercise is not random in nature.   They don’t write to fill space on a page.   They write because there is a message that needs to be delivered.  In the case of yearbook staffers, there will be thousands of messages to share throughout the pages of the book. 

The Sender

The writer is the sender.  The writer makes a daily effort to gather and collect information.  The writer then determines which parts of the data need to be shared.  Once the data is selected, the writer decides how to tell the story, which words to use, which to leave out.  They also must create a way to share the data.  What is the best way to display this data?  Is it in normal paragraph format?  Is it in a graph or chart? 

The Receiver

The message, no matter how important it is, will have no value without a receiver.  Someone needs to receive the data.  The receiver is your audience.  For a yearbook, the audience is the student body, friends and family, and members of the community. 

How to be an Effective Yearbook Journalist

Be Concise

Writing needs to be direct and to the point.  Try to limit your wording.  Words can become clutter.  Cut the fat and leave only the meat.

Be Supportive

Realize that you are there to support the photos.  In journalism, the photos are typically used to support the message of the written word.  But in the case of a yearbook, the roles are reversed, as a yearbook is very much first and foremost a photo album of sorts. 

Be Loyal and Honest

Be careful to be as accurate as possible at all points.

Be Positive

A yearbook is a book about your loved ones.  This is not a place to air dirty laundry.   If your football team lost every game, find positive things to share and avoid the negative.

Use Outlines

Outlines will help you stay on point. Without them, you’ll be prone to wander.

Be Fun

Never forget that the tone of this book is supposed to be one of fun!