Recent Posts

Introduction to InDesign

Introduction to InDesign

InDesign is my favorite Adobe product. Boom, I said it. Photoshop? Yeah, it’s pretty cool. Illustrator? Thanks for letting me make so much stuff! But InDesign? It takes the cake. Invitations, magazines, programs, agendas, assignments, presentations, yearbooks, newspapers, and, and, and, and… Yeah, you can …read more

Summer preparation for incoming press staff

Summer preparation for incoming press staff

Welcome to the publication’s classroom! While some of you are walking through the doors to the room in August for the fourth year, for others it may be the first time. No matter how much experience you have though, there is always more to learn …read more

News value reminder posters

News value reminder posters

When choosing an angle for your news story, you need a peg for it to hold onto. “Why is this newsworthy?” becomes the question. Answering that finds your peg and your angle, the focus of the story. 

At the start of the writing process, you need to determine the news value.

There are eight news values to consider for your news peg. As my students often forget their options, I created a poster for the classroom to add this year as a reminder.

I always explicitly teach these as vocabulary and then spend a ton of time identifying them within current news cycles at the start of the school year. As time goes on, I always find kids become less and less able to recall them. 

Being able to identify the news values helps student journalists understand what types of stories they should be telling in their news site or yearbook.

In yearbook, we do less timeliness and more human interest. These types of stories stand the test of time and emotionally involve the reader. In the past year, we’ve written about an athlete who experienced changes throughout his whole life, but kept baseball as a constant. We also wrote about how a student used cosplay as a means of self expression and exploration. These stories have a heart.

Currency topics are explored in our secondary coverage because they help cement that year down. I want to remember the trends and topics just as much as the people of the year. Yes, they are cringey later. That’s the point. Explore slang, clothing trends, music, social media usage and anything that feels unique to that moment in time. Be a time capsule. 

Think about the news values often when writing and researching, and you will see an improvement in the value you create with your work. 

 

 

Creating from design inspiration walk-through

Creating from design inspiration walk-through

Your yearbook or news designs should never, ever be a direct copy of another design you’ve seen. Your yearbook or news designs should never, ever be a direct copy of another design you’ve seen. Your yearbook or news designs should never, ever be a direct …read more

Thinking about yearbook theme

Thinking about yearbook theme

I’ve started running this summer, so I’ve increased the amount of podcasts I listen to as to avoid thinking about running, or running in Florida, or why I’m running in Florida in the summer. Anyway, I listened to a few episodes of “Creative Pep Talk,” …read more

10 Adviser resources

10 Adviser resources

I am not the perfect adviser. There are days I would say that I am not even very good. I get busy or distracted, and I have to trust that the program will still remain intact if I have to take a mental health day. There’s just the one of me. I have to trust that the days where the kids got the best of me will win out, that the systems in place will keep us going.
 
So this post is about those systems.
 
I don’t take credit for most of these. I’ve been fortunate enough to attend workshops and rub shoulders with advisers that are pretty amazing. The collection is a mix of their insight and examples, personalized back to my program. I hope they are helpful, or that they might inspire a system that helps in your program.
 

The presentation:

 
 

Click here to download.

 

LQTQ very basic structure outline for yearbook and news programs

LQTQ Very Basic Structure

If you don't know what LQTQ is, this is a good time to hop on the JEA curriculum and learn. While not all articles and yearbook copy need to be in LQTQ, it is the basic format.

Yearbook Caption writing one page handout

Yearbook Caption Writing One Page Review

Poor caption writing is one of the biggest complaints I hear from advisers. I don't feel like I properly grasped it until the end of my third year advising. This is a breakdown of how I approach it now. I use it as a reminder for students after I've taught it explicitly in class.

Yearbook Spread Plan

Yearbook Spread Plan

You don't have to follow this planner, but you should have a planner for students to start with. Beginning a spread can be daunting. Have a starting place.

Coverage Styles Cheat Sheet

This is one of my favorites. It's one thing to say you can do other types of copy than LQTQ, but then what else is there? Here is a quick guide to some other options.

Field guide to photography composition

The Field Guide to Composition

Review often with photographers. It's amazing how it feels new every time you teach it.

Yearbook Spread Checklist

Spread Checklist

Is everything there? A checklist also helps maintain consistency across the book and helps meet critique standards.

Copy peer review checklist

Copy Peer Review Checklist

Help me help you. Don't allow students to turn in work until they have at least two peers review their copy first.

Photo Day Rubric

Photo Day Rubric

I require one of these each quarter from every student. They usually don't like them, but these days developed their photography skills and portfolio more than anything else I've done.

Yearbook and news Editor evaluation

Quarterly Editor Evaluations

How do you hold your editors accountable? Have a system in place.

student media discipline form

Discipline documentation

Sometimes, your editors or staff will let you down. Having communication open and documented from the start holds everyone accountable.

Student media resource help me slip

Help me! Slip

Oh, you don't have anything to do today? Your event isn't until tomorrow? Great! Here's what you can do to help the rest of us out. Introducing the Help me! slip.

And those are a few of the things that keep this ship sailing month to month. I hope they help keep you guys afloat 😉

*This was originally presented at spring FSPA 2019.

Yearbook design, copy and photo mistakes

Yearbook design, copy and photo mistakes

Over the course of the year, students and advisers work diligently to not make mistakes. They analyze copy for grammar or spelling errors and check spacing with a critical eye. They compare yearbooks from other schools, envying enviable theme packaging, story and yearbook design. But …read more

Great design happens on purpose

Great design happens on purpose

The point is just this: You’re not going to have a beautiful publication unless you plan it, work on that plan every day and you work hard. There’s a lot that goes into creating a simple, elegant design package for your yearbook or magazine layout. …read more

Publications class posters

Publications class posters

Here is a collection of digital files of posters I have hung in my yearbook and news classroom.