Notes for Great Editors
Find your truth in these gold standards
Your time is now. You’ve spent years working hard to help produce incredible yearbooks, but now you’re the EIC. You might think this is your opportunity to kick up your feet and watch everyone else do all the work. What you may not realize is that this is the most important job you’ve ever had. Here are truths of the most successful editors:
They know the importance of HAVING A PLAN. They think about what needs to get done, and they set up a plan to make it happen, working after school or during lunches with their adviser to ensure the publication runs smoothly. Their plan isn’t just for the yearbook staff, but for themselves. Highly successful EICs plan their own time, even in yearbook. They ask themselves, “When will I help other staffers?” and “Do I have a plan to get my own work done?”
They are the editor they needed when they were a staffer. Strong EICs don’t just happen without a lot of reflection. They think back to their first days on yearbook and remember what it was like knowing nothing and having everyone freaking out about deadlines. They are empathetic to the trials of being a yearbook staffer and are willing to help teach staffers skills, instead of taking it on and doing it themselves.
They write things down. Not just a note in their phone, but they put notes everywhere they or others might need to see them. The act of writing something down makes the memory process both visual and kinesthetic. A hand-written ladder gives a more concrete understanding of the book — and your plan. A planner with deadlines helps with time management. Some of the best editors I’ve ever had, covered the edges of their computer screens in sticky notes.
They had a note for everything and even color coded them so they knew what was important. Once the task was done, they were able to get rid of that note.
They go above and beyond while managing a life balance. We get it. You have an entire courseload, not just yearbook, but think of this as your first full-time job. You are managing a staff and meeting real-world deadlines while handling things you need to tackle outside of your happy little yerd world. A strong editor knows that good enough is neither good nor enough. This is where we circle back to the third point! Develop a planner system where you can manage your other class assignments but still leave room for your job. Leave a legacy for others to rise to in the future.
They still remember to have fun. Yearbook is unlike any other class. The relationships you form during your time in yearbook can be transformational. You are creating one of the most amazing things any high schooler can do, and you’re stuck together. Tensions can get high when everyone is stressing over that December deadline. Sometimes we just need a break. Proper planning allows time for fun activities for your staff. The social well-being of staffers is just as important as the skills needed to create a yearbook. Your staff is your family, and the best way to support each other is to laugh together.
KATIE MERRITT, MJE
Darlington School • Rome, GA
One professional designer has three JEA/NSPA conventions to thank for his career. So, take note fall convention attendees. You never know which students will find their callings, their careers and their tribes through high school publications.
What is a yearbook? It is a memory book, a photo book, a reference book… It is all of these and much more.
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