From Scott Geesey, CJE

The Online Yearbook Information Center

from Jostens Yearbooks of central and northern Pennsylvania

"You do matter, we are interested in you, and we're going to tell your story."

Last updated November 17, 2019

Check out all of my exclusive online instructional videos by clicking on the link in the left column below. I've compiled a long list of videos to tackle all of the top subjects in yearbooking - writing, photography, design, organization, journalism, promotion, book and ad sales and more. Just turn on your speakers and I'll do the teaching, with nearly all videos under 15 minutes each.

IT'S ALL ABOUT STORYTELLING: The Key to Everything We Do

Hello! It's American Education Week this week, time to recognize the importance of a good education for students across America. While public education is the reason behind this event each year let's say it;s for ALL schools to mark. Each day this week has a theme and I find the theme for Friday is interesting: Substitute Educators Day. And EVERY school out there, public or private, has a serious substitute shortage right now.

This week I'm looking forward to being a part of the annual JEA/NSPA fall convention, this time in Washington, D.C. It's a four day event where thousands of journalism educators and their students gather to learn new skills and ideas, and hear from top journalism professionals in yearbook, newspaper and broadcasting. I'm honored to do a breakout session on storytelling on Friday. If you're attending the event be sure to stop by the Jostens booth for cool ideas and some yearbook swag.


If you've missed some of my past home page stories from 2019-2020, they are archived for you to check out anytime. Click Here to see the rundown.


Now just WHAT stories will you tell - consider HOW MANY stories will you tell...

When I visit DC this week for the JEA convention I'm looking forward to checking out other breakout sessions to see how other people tell stories. Top yearbook, newspaper and broadcast advisers from across the country are doing many breakouts on a host of topics. For me, someone involved in journalism since I was in high school, this will be a LOT of fun.

And it's all about storytelling, something most students miss. It's not about making pages in a book or a newspaper, or getting your face on TV or a video.

Every student at every school has some story to tell, and it's our responsibility to tell as many of those stories as we can. Too often it's the same people over and over who have their stories told - what about everyone else?

If you missed my Yearbooking Report video from October, click here to watch it again. Check out the feature interview with Casey Nichols, recently retired veteran yearbook adviser from California and now a Jostens Ambassador doing training workshops across the country.

Casey's interview was all about the importance of storytelling. And during the interview he mentioned that student media (yearbook but also newspaper and broadcast) can be a force for good on any school campus simply by telling student stories of all kinds.

I like to simplify things so I say there are only two kinds of stories - big stories and small stories. Big stories are covered by everyone - what did the football team do this season? Who was the homecoming queen? What happened at Prom? Or it could be someone who won a big award, or earned a big scholarship, or did some major project.

And then there are small stories that may only be about one person. They aren't major but it's important to at least that one person and it could make all the difference to recognize that person as part of the school community.

I sadly think about the latest school shooting incident last week in California. Why did that teen shooter do it? There will be an investigation but I wonder if that boy was one of the people at his school that I call "ghosts," ignored students never heard from and perhaps bullied. And at every school the "ghosts" make up the majority of the student body.

From a yearbook perspective, good page design can allow for a LOT of storytelling. I especially like modular design which allows telling many stories from many different people on just two pages. For both our YearTech Online and InDesign/Monarch users, check out our cool modular designs tools to easily create very active functional designs.

And on page design check out my November episodes of The Yearbooking Report with some great tips and ideas from yearbook legend John Cutsinger. The video has some top ideas but take some time to listen to the podcast which features a LONG list of ideas and inspiration from John. The report widgets are in the right column here, easy to check out.

But there are MANY ways to tell stories these days and a great yearbooking effort should use as many of them as possible. For instance, don't overlook videos which everyone likes to watch, usually on their smartphones. Add some sound and movement to your storytelling.

Think social media outlets of course. Maybe use a mobile app like our Jostens ReplayIt app or a school-specific app. Think about some newer ideas like augmented reality (AR.) And get ready for how virtual reality (VR) will change storytelling in the future, not just for video games.

And by the way - don't overlook WRITING. Pictures tell part of the story but not the whole story - words fill in the blanks that the pictures don't tell. Feature writing at length, or just a couple of paragraphs, or a lot of photo captions, or a combination - be sure to do some writing to tell the FULL story.

The easiest way to tell a story? A picture and a caption. The picture doesn't have to be big, and the caption could be one good sentence but preferably two. Imagine how many stories you can tell in your book...

But to repeat - the key is storytelling, in as many ways as you can. By doing so you make your yearbook more valuable, more fun to read, and you because a force for good at your school by telling as many stories as you can in as many ways as you can.

Now let's go do it! Your school and classmates are counting on you, to tell these stories now and then keep them forever...


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The Yearbooking Report, November 2019

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