Ann Visser, Adviser, Pella Community High School, Pella, Iowa

Digital Media

Visser agrees that we can use Facebook to ‘tease’ the reader … including parts of spreads, pictures that will be in the book, and the names that will be in the book. “We can utilize the opportunity to do DVD’s that accompany our books, media that will enhance the coverage on the printed page,” she said. The main way in today’s world would be to enhance the coverage with some sort of DVD that gives the reader more in terms of live performances, live interviews, more of an up close and personal approach, she says.

Visual Literacy

“Advisers who want to stay on top of trends have to be involved in state and national organizations that will help them realize what the trends are. Attending a national convention is one of the best ways an adviser can stay in touch with what is happening in this ever-changing world of advising,” she said.

“White space is definitely a friend in terms of design, but staffs need to realize that they need more than pictures to tell the stories of the year. They need well-written captions; they need quick reads; they need infographs. They have to stay in touch with the ways stories are being told today, and, sometimes, a longer story is the way that happens,” Visser continues.

Choosing the very best photos that capture the essence of the event is imperative. Using graphics and design to help enhance those photos is second, Visser says. “Photos can’t just be thrown on the spread and do their jobs. They have to be organized in a logical manner,” she said.  They have to help tell the story. Photos that evoke emotion are essential; photos that capture the essence of the event are important; photos that show participants in their settings are vital.

Using social networks to promote yearbooks

Facebook can be used to promote the book. “It could be used to remind students to buy books … remind them that the price goes up if they wait … remind them that there might not be books to buy if they don’t pre-order,” Visser said. What a great idea, I hadn’t considered using Facebook to help remind students and the community about yearbook deadlines i.e senior photo deadlines, pre-order reminders, fundraising announcements, etc. Visser also suggests that we could use these online spaces to tease them with parts of spreads from the book. Give them a look at what they might find in the book or ask them to answer questions that will be used as quick reads in the book.

Yearbooks as viable candidates for digital formats

“In our world here,” Visser stated, “yearbooks seem to still have a place. As yearbook advisers, we are going to have to offer more in terms of DVDs, something that shows the live aspect of the year. Another challenge.”
Visser also stated: “I don’t think the print yearbook can be totally replaced by the digital book. There’s something about holding the book in your hands, something about being able to go to the bookshelf and pulling out the yearbook,” she said. “I would say DVDs are going to become an integral part of the package. However, that means people pay more. That means yearbook students do even more. I don’t believe that this can happen. One of the best parts of seeing the yearbook distributed is watching students share photos/memories from certain pages. I don’t believe everything can be replaced. We don’t carry computers with us; books can be carried. I just don’t envision students sitting in front of the computer looking at the book in the same manner as they look at it in print,” she says. I agree, the reminiscing does not occur in the same fashion, and if a replacement were to occur, something crucial to what a yearbook stands for, would be completely lost.
A 21st Century Yearbook, Visser states, is a combination of print and digital media. It’s live shots from concerts, games, and dances, everyday life. “It’s more work for the already crazed staff,” Visser said.

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