Monthly archives for September, 2015

Everything you need to know about National Buy Your Yearbook Day

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National Buy Your Yearbook Day (NBYYD) was created to designate a special time of the school year to focus specifically on yearbook sales. Schools across the country join together in a coordinated national event to build excitement around yearbook selling and create a sense of urgency for the yearbook. Balfour holds contests and awards prizes to schools with the best sales techniques, yearbook selling ideas and overall enthusiasm for the value that yearbooks provide.

Here are answers to the 3 most frequently asked questions about this year’s fun-filled event. Read More »

Yearbook Critiquing: Begin with the end in mind

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Goals will help you break down yearbook production into bite-size pieces. Take a critical look at last year’s book. What would you like to improve or do differently? Survey students, including members of teams and clubs, and ask what they would like to include in this year’s book. (By demonstrating to students that you value their input, you increase sales.)

There are a few simple steps to follow in the goal-setting process.

1. Consider what it will require to meet the goal before setting it. Costly or unattainable goals create three problems: failure becomes acceptable, excusable and expected.

2. Make your goal attainable by considering additional resources your staff may need.

What items do we need to achieve this goal?

How we will find the time?

What things do we need to learn more about?

What people can we talk to for support?

3. Write the goals down in as few words as possible, e.g. “Our goal is to improve photography.” Hang the goals on the wall. They will have ten times more power than ones that are filed away.

4. As a group, discuss each student’s commitment to the goals.

5. Break each goal down into smaller bites.

In increments, determine steps necessary to achieve a goal. Be specific. For example, the following is a list of a staff’s photography goals for this month:


  • white balance before shooting
  • use available light
  • include foreground, middle ground, background
  • take establishing shots
  • vary angles
  • cover before, during and after activities
  • vary number of people in images

Photographers should do a self evaluation after each assignment. At the end of the month, overall progress will be evaluated before setting the next month’s photo goals.

Create monthly goals for each area you targeted for improvement. At the end of the month, evaluate your progress and retrain if necessary.

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Use Cut to the Quick of Critical Rating Services worksheet for the initial evaluation of your book.

It’s the “little things” that count

Jack Kennedy

by Jack Kennedy
Dow Jones Newspaper Fund
1993 Teacher of the Year

The difference between good reporting and great reporting lies in the “little things.”

No matter the size of the school or the publication, the traditional events of the year get covered, and the photos are taken. All journalists interview sources, do background research, and attend events. Every student journalist I’ve ever met starts off each reporting assignment with the goal of doing the best job possible.

So why is there such a wide disparity in the quality of what we actually read and see in student publications? Read More »

Give yourself a break with student-directed evaluations

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Grading students’ work for scholastic publications is a frequently shared challenge for new and experienced advisers alike. Portfolio assessments are a highly effective evaluation tool for journalism classrooms because they require students to self-document their work. Read More »

It’s all things YEARBOOK…and all things TEXAN

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Balfour’s Intensity Workshop is a 3-day immersion training in all things YEARBOOK. Yearbook advisers, editors and staff are welcome to attend the workshop, which will be held Saturday, Sept. 26 – Monday, Sept. 28 at the Balfour Yearbook Publishing Plant in Dallas, Texas.

Your classroom time features a lineup of award-winning advisers and Balfour experts who are in tune with industry trends and yearbook award standards. These fine folks will help you and your students polish & refine the plans for the 2016 yearbook. Intensity instructors include:

Read More »