Editorial Mistakes to Avoid in Your Yearbook

Editorial Mistakes to Avoid in Your Yearbook

May 9th 2018

We still call him Toss. To this very day, when we reconvene at class reunions, we still call him Toss. Of course his real name is Todd. But, on a keyboard, the S and the D are side-by-side. Todd became Toss, thanks to an error in our yearbook.

While we still get a kick out of that one, it is actually symptomatic of larger issues within the yearbook editorial process. Mistakes of any kind point to either a lack of ability or a lack of effort. It really is that simple.  And, as the Toss story illustrates, these errors have both immediate and long-term ramifications. 

Yearbooks are, well, books. They need to be ready before they go to print. And the pressure of that printing deadline cannot come into play. Books cannot be rushed. Rushing leads to certain errors of many types and sizes. 

Editorial Mistakes all fall into one of Three Categories

Mistakes of Omission  

Somebody forgot to include this or include that.  Accidents happen.

Mistakes of Convenience  

Somebody was tired, rushed, or didn’t budget their time. Understandable. Yearbooks are a lot of work.

Mistakes of Intention

Somebody thought it would be funny to purposely ridicule another student or teacher.   Somebody intentionally included a distasteful photo.  Nobody likes those. 

With that in mind, what are some of the most common editorial mistakes that yearbook staffers are making these days?

6 Common Editorial Mistakes

  1. Failure to pay Attention to Detail

This can show up, and will show up, all over your yearbook.  Details are the name of the game in making a great yearbook.  Fail here and you will undoubtedly leave a bad taste for your reader.  From statistics to layout visuals, the devil is in the details.   The best books are those that go over every page with a fine-toothed comb. 

     2. Poor Grammar and Other Typing Inconsistencies

Remember, this is a book of reflection about your time at school.  School!  This, of all places, should show the finished product.  The yearbook tells a story not only of homecoming parades and swim meets, but of the overall success of students, teachers, administrators, and parents.   This thing needs to be sharp! 

     3. Poor Navigation

This one gets tougher every year with the constant additions of new ideas.  Still, the reader needs to be able to move freely throughout each page. Links between captions and photos need to be obvious.  Make it user-friendly.

     4. Poor Photos or Photo-Cropping

This is easily avoidable in today’s yearbook world.  With camera phones in the hands of parents, teachers, and a lot of students, ask for those pictures! You're bound to get some good...nix that...great ones!

     5. Too Repetitious

Creativity in your word choice becomes increasingly difficult with every page that you write.  Put in extra effort to find exciting, relevant terminology for every section of your book.  It’ll make a world of difference.  

     6. Not Enough Proof-Reading

Your mistakes will surface either now (when they can be fixed) or later when they are published for all to see.  Proof-reading is key.  Make sure to reach out beyond those tasked with designing the yearbook to those who have never laid eyes on it.  Fresh perspectives are just that. 

The good news is that almost all yearbook editorial mistakes are avoidable.  It just takes a good plan and some concentrated effort.  Take the time, and make your yearbook shine!