Recent Posts

News 5-week deadline cycle

News 5-week deadline cycle

This was originally intended to jumpstart the news website upon our return in January from winter break. I see myself modifying it though, with the help of my staff, to be a more permanent way to run our cycles. It’s basically a menu for students …read more

A field guide to photography

A field guide to photography

This is a quick post because this is a quick thing! I really wanted to have an easy, fast reference for students before and while they are shooting photos. There’s a lot to remember, even for me. I hate when they forget something small that …read more

Mini-deadline yearbook rubric

Mini-deadline yearbook rubric

After an extensive debate at the yearbook editor table, we came to the conclusion that an increase in accountability was necessary. Enter: the mini-deadline.

I find that it is nearly impossible for me to assign everyone the same deadlines throughout the big deadline. We can all start and finish a deadline at nearly the same time but copy and photos may be done at drastically different times because events and organizations and sports are at drastically different times. When we cover them varies.

I thought back to one of the Michael Simon’s podcasts I listened to while painting my bathroom two summers ago when someone said mini-deadlines were key. I loved this idea and now I had an opportunity to enter it into a way that made sense for my staff, where expectations were all over the place.

The idea for this is that the staffer and the editor agree on the item requested and the completion day and time. These tasks are typically one-two days in length. Not only does that help me get in some needed formative grades, but there is accountability for students who aren’t doing things on time.

We’re only implementing these in yearbook right now since our deadlines stretch from two to four weeks at a time. So far, the editors love them. My plan is to start using them with my editors, as well.

30 days of Instagram for student publications

30 days of Instagram for student publications

If you’re reading this, I assume you are here for the same reasons I began this project. I assume you want your social media to work for your publication, gaining exposure for your work and helping you with your marketing. There may be other reasons …read more

Stop taking bad photos. Stop. it.

Stop taking bad photos. Stop. it.

For context, this is when I show the Mad TV sketch video about a woman coming to see a therapist who keeps yelling at her to “stop it!” when she lists her issues. It’s a funny video, and it is often in life I reflect …read more

If you’re bored writing it, they are bored reading it.

If you’re bored writing it, they are bored reading it.

Alternative copy took the yearbook world over quickly, and there is no great surprise why. With professional publications creating content with variety and interest, scholastic journalism would, of course, follow in those steps. And now we have.

Alternative copy for yearbook means you don’t always stick to traditional LQTQ format when writing main stories. Instead, the structure of the content conforms to the content itself. Now, stories have the opportunity to breathe and dance and play in a way that only can happen if we are thoughtful and creative in our storytelling approaches.

The link to download the alternative copy presentation is below. Here, we review the different story forms used in the Odyssey yearbook.

Presented originally at FSPA fall workshop.

Another caption handout

Another caption handout

If it feels like I go handout crazy at the start of the year, it’s because I go handout crazy at the start of the year. You’re welcome. You’re going to need these and be thanking your stars you have them in the coming weeks. …read more

Photo Story Assignment

Photo Story Assignment

We’re going to be warming you up to photography as quickly as possible. Since all students on the staff take photos, I want to be sure that by the end of the first nine weeks, you’ve used the camera a handful of times. You gotta …read more

Photography Introduction

Photography Introduction

We practiced this all during our boot camp the week before school starts, but you may have missed it. Or, gasp, forgotten it. So let’s review.

First, this file is the original presentation we viewed to go over the basics of how the camera works and what most often is harming your photos. The simple, easy-peasy basics.

 

Understanding these concepts and applying them is essential to the first quarter of the program. From here, we want you to practice with more complicated settings and strategies, that we will slowly introduce.

Try to form habits with these by reviewing the presentation and your notes often and always before going out to shoot. Practice + reflection + practice + reflection + practice… you get it. The more you do this, the better you will get.

And we’re here for you! When you bring back your photos to sort, invite an editor to sit with you to review what you can do differently next time to improve, as well as what you’re getting right. Feedback is food for your progress. Feed it often.

 

Grid & spacing reminders

Grid & spacing reminders

Using your grids in InDesign is an essential part of creating solid publication designs. It can take weeks to months for an InDesign beginner to be able to easily see whether or not they are on the grid and properly using space in their design. …read more