Over the last four days I have been at The New Sanno Hotel for the Far East Journalism Conference (FEJC) with my yearbook students as well as chaperoning the school newspaper students. I was assigned to a group of six students, all from different Department of Defense (DoDEA) schools around the pacific. We were given a challenge of producing a yearbook consisting of three double page spreads, a senior add and a cover. Each student was assigned a specific role and was responsible for their part, but we also worked as a team to develop idea, take photos, etc.
We went on FAST (Find A Story Trips) expeditions on Monday and Tuesday night, it was a blast showing the students around Tokyo as a lot hadn’t been to Tokyo or Japan before. You can see in the yearbook we produced below all of the different places we visited and the things we did.
I thought the conference was hugely beneficial to not only the students, but I got so much out of the experience. I learned that the DoDEA school spend up to 240 minutes a week with their yearbook classes, were as we get 80 minutes, which helps me understand why our yearbooks are so different. Also, these schools are only high school usually, ranging from Grade 10 to 12, so they have to cover less grades, but usually more students (some have almost 1000 students). I learned that there are other options for printing companies and different pricing scales. I learned that our pictures should be much larger and have many less photos, with more prominent photos taking up the page. Also that photos should have some sort of border to frame them. Another thing that one of my team members introduced me to the idea of writing captions for photos with “lead in’s” to capture the readers attention. I also found that effective use of cutouts as well as reducing background colours can really make a page pop.
I hope that my staff were as motivated as myself after attending this workshop and we make many drastic changes to our yearbook this year. I know they can do if they have the drive, determination and creativity to do so, so hopefully everyone will see much bigger and better things from their yearbook this year. Stay tuned…