Yearbook Writing:
the chicken or the egg

?

Presented by Brian Wilson
Waterford (MI) Kettering HS
bwilson3560@gmail.com
O...
Why don’t students read your copy?
One of Fitzgerald’s more prestigious
organizations is the student council.
These meetin...
The council organized both the Homecoming
and Snowcoming dances. They also
organized the Red Cross Blood Drive which
raise...
How ‘bout this one?
If you wanted to see hard working girls
in major motion, then Track is where
you should have been. Led...
How ‘bout this one (cont)?
Our ladies fared very well at
Invitationals and the Regional Meet,
winning many medals. High ju...
But
they
WILL
read.
Sunday, November 17, 13
The
10-80-10
Rule
Sunday, November 17, 13
Appeal to EMOTION
Make them:
• Laugh
• Cry
• Go “Awwwwwwwww”
• Grossed out

Sunday, November 17, 13
Appeal to EMOTION
When you look at me, you probably don’t see
me for what I am. You see just another face,
but my life is ...
Appeal to EMOTION
Jake Porter is 17, but he can't read, can barely scrawl his first name and
often mixes up the letters at...
Details and Specifics
9:30 p.m. An oppressive, sticky heat. Fans
whirring helplessly in the background.
It’s a deadline ni...
Details and Specifics
From the sidewalk, the tiny
convenience store looks much as it has
for decades. The display case is ...
Connect to your reader
She sat in the cold, hard seat and
tried to concentrate on the Calculus test
in front of her, but i...
Trends in copy

Sunday, November 17, 13
Story Telling Devices
(or Alternative Story Forms)

•
•
•
•

Shorter bursts of copy
Quotes, quotes, quotes-10:1 rule
Exten...
Shorter copy bursts

Sunday, November 17, 13
Shorter copy bursts

Sunday, November 17, 13
Story Telling Devices
(or Alternative Story Forms)

•
•
•
•

Shorter bursts of copy
Quotes, quotes, quotes-10:1 rule
Exten...
Find the Gravedigger...
Clifton Pollard was pretty sure he was going to be working on
Sunday, so when he woke up at 9 a.m....
How to get better stories
• Observe and report
• Hold Quote/Caption panel interviews
• Share great writing
• Brainstorm
Bu...
Sunday, November 17, 13
Sunday, November 17, 13
Sunday, November 17, 13
How to get better stories
• Observe and report
• Hold Quote/Caption panel interviews
• Share great writing
• Brainstorm
Bu...
Sunday, November 17, 13
How to get better stories
• Observe and report
• Hold Quote/Caption panel interviews
• Share great writing: 300 word stori...
300-word stories
The few drivers on this dark, lonely stretch of the
Suncoast Parkway in Pasco County pull up to the toll
...
300-word stories
Because years ago, on a freezing winter night at a party in Queens, N.Y., he met a
woman named Millie.
Be...
300-word stories
And so he took a job collecting tolls. The drivers who pass by see a smiling 71-yearold man with blue eye...
How to get better stories
• Observe and report
• Hold Quote/Caption panel interviews
• Share great writing: 300 word stori...
Practice writing concisely
Use Twitter to craft writing.

Sunday, November 17, 13
Practice writing concisely
6 word stories:
For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.
Nobody knows this, but I’m famous.
Head: gree...
How to get better stories
• Observe and report
• Hold Quote/Caption panel interviews
• Share great writing
• Brainstorm
Bu...
Brainstorming process
WKHS-TV Brainstorming Sheet
Fill in at least 16 for full credit

News in WKHS

News in Waterford

Ne...
How to get better stories
• Observe and report
• Hold Quote/Caption panel interviews
• Share great writing
• Brainstorm
Bu...
How to get better stories
• Observe and report
• Hold Quote/Caption panel interviews
• Share great writing
• Brainstorm
Bu...
Yearbook Writing:
the chicken or the egg

?

Presented by Brian Wilson
Waterford (MI) Kettering HS
bwilson3560@gmail.com
O...
Sunday, November 17, 13
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Yearbook Writing: The Chicken or the Egg

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Wait. Let me guess. The students in your school don’t understand why you would even bother spending time on yearbook stories, because nobody reads them anyway. But maybe that’s because they’re, um, not very good.

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Yearbook Writing: The Chicken or the Egg

  1. 1. Yearbook Writing: the chicken or the egg ? Presented by Brian Wilson Waterford (MI) Kettering HS bwilson3560@gmail.com On Twitter: @wilsob01 Sunday, November 17, 13
  2. 2. Why don’t students read your copy? One of Fitzgerald’s more prestigious organizations is the student council. These meetings were directed by president Bob Boik. Unlike most organizations, the student council met twice a month during a school hour to discuss topics that concern the student body. Sunday, November 17, 13
  3. 3. The council organized both the Homecoming and Snowcoming dances. They also organized the Red Cross Blood Drive which raised blood for those in need. They managed to raise over 70 pints last spring. The student council also donated five hundred dollars to the V.I.C.A. canned food drive. During the fall, they enjoyed a day of fun when the took a trip to Camp Tamerak. This adventure taught them to be leaders. This group worked hard to make this district a better place. Sunday, November 17, 13
  4. 4. How ‘bout this one? If you wanted to see hard working girls in major motion, then Track is where you should have been. Led by Captains Liz Powell and Shannon Manoulian, the team of 17 girls achieved many goals. They finished 4th overall in the league, which was an astonishing accomplishment for them as they went up against teams with as many as 30-40 girls. Sunday, November 17, 13
  5. 5. How ‘bout this one (cont)? Our ladies fared very well at Invitationals and the Regional Meet, winning many medals. High jumper Powell qualified for the states. Even the freshmen contributed wherever they could and achieved several personal bests. These girls can be proud of themselves and all their accomplishments. Bigger and better things are bond to come for this terrific team! Sunday, November 17, 13
  6. 6. But they WILL read. Sunday, November 17, 13
  7. 7. The 10-80-10 Rule Sunday, November 17, 13
  8. 8. Appeal to EMOTION Make them: • Laugh • Cry • Go “Awwwwwwwww” • Grossed out Sunday, November 17, 13
  9. 9. Appeal to EMOTION When you look at me, you probably don’t see me for what I am. You see just another face, but my life is much more. I’m a goal-setter, an achiever, an optimist, and one hell of a mother. Everyone expected me to become lazy, ignorant, stop learning and wallow into some book of statistics. If they still want to put me in a book, it will have to be called “Kiyuana Proves Them Wrong.” Sunday, November 17, 13
  10. 10. Appeal to EMOTION Jake Porter is 17, but he can't read, can barely scrawl his first name and often mixes up the letters at that. So how come we're all learning something from him? In three years on the Northwest High football team, in McDermott, Ohio, Jake had never run with the ball. Or made a tackle. He'd barely ever stepped on the field. That's about right for a kid with chromosomal fragile X syndrome, a disorder that is a common cause of mental retardation. But every day after school Jake, who attends special-ed classes, races to Northwest team practices: football, basketball, track. Never plays, but seldom misses one. That's why it seemed crazy when, with five seconds left in a recent game that Northwest was losing 42-0, Jake trotted out to the huddle. The plan was for him to get the handoff and take a knee. -Rick Reilly, “The Life of Reilly” Sunday, November 17, 13
  11. 11. Details and Specifics 9:30 p.m. An oppressive, sticky heat. Fans whirring helplessly in the background. It’s a deadline night. Junior Farah Kent, News Editor for the High Tide, pulls her thick hair back into a messy bun and scoots the wheely chair closer to the pearly white Mac. Kent sighs in frustration as she struggles to fix the dimensions of photos from Club Sign Up Day, many of which are coming out too cloudy or pixilated. A community bottle of red fruit punch Powerade is being passed around in a desperate attempt to cool off the frantic staff members. Sunday, November 17, 13
  12. 12. Details and Specifics From the sidewalk, the tiny convenience store looks much as it has for decades. The display case is lined with tins of chewing tobacco and rolls of toilet paper. A handwritten sign advertises bottled water for 35 cents. Another warns that the proprietor doesn’t take debit or credit cards--cash only. Sunday, November 17, 13
  13. 13. Connect to your reader She sat in the cold, hard seat and tried to concentrate on the Calculus test in front of her, but it was difficult. She had to go to the bathroom really bad. Sunday, November 17, 13
  14. 14. Trends in copy Sunday, November 17, 13
  15. 15. Story Telling Devices (or Alternative Story Forms) • • • • Shorter bursts of copy Quotes, quotes, quotes-10:1 rule Extended captions Information boxes: – Q&A – He said/She said – Top 10 list • Find the gravedigger. Sunday, November 17, 13
  16. 16. Shorter copy bursts Sunday, November 17, 13
  17. 17. Shorter copy bursts Sunday, November 17, 13
  18. 18. Story Telling Devices (or Alternative Story Forms) • • • • Shorter bursts of copy Quotes, quotes, quotes-10:1 rule Extended captions Information boxes: – Q&A – He said/She said – Top 10 list • Find the gravedigger. Sunday, November 17, 13
  19. 19. Find the Gravedigger... Clifton Pollard was pretty sure he was going to be working on Sunday, so when he woke up at 9 a.m., in his three-room apartment on Corcoran Street, he put on khaki overalls before going into the kitchen for breakfast. His wife, Hettie, made bacon and eggs for him. Pollard was in the middle of eating them when he received the phone call he had been expecting. It was from Mazo Kawalchik, who is the foreman of the gravediggers at Arlington National Cemetery, which is where Pollard works for a living. "Polly, could you please be here by eleven o'clock this morning?" Kawalchik asked. "I guess you know what it's for." Pollard did. He hung up the phone, finished breakfast, and left his apartment so he could spend Sunday digging a grave for John Fitzgerald Kennedy. -Jimmy Breslin, New York Herald Tribune, Sunday, November 17, 13
  20. 20. How to get better stories • Observe and report • Hold Quote/Caption panel interviews • Share great writing • Brainstorm Building Tour • Throw profile darts Sunday, November 17, 13
  21. 21. Sunday, November 17, 13
  22. 22. Sunday, November 17, 13
  23. 23. Sunday, November 17, 13
  24. 24. How to get better stories • Observe and report • Hold Quote/Caption panel interviews • Share great writing • Brainstorm Building Tour • Throw profile darts Sunday, November 17, 13
  25. 25. Sunday, November 17, 13
  26. 26. How to get better stories • Observe and report • Hold Quote/Caption panel interviews • Share great writing: 300 word stories • Brainstorm Building Tour • Throw profile darts Sunday, November 17, 13
  27. 27. 300-word stories The few drivers on this dark, lonely stretch of the Suncoast Parkway in Pasco County pull up to the toll booth, hand their dollars to Lloyd Blair and then speed away. None of them knows why the old man sits here, night after night, working the graveyard shift. Well, here's why: Sunday, November 17, 13
  28. 28. 300-word stories Because years ago, on a freezing winter night at a party in Queens, N.Y., he met a woman named Millie. Because he fell in love with her brown hair and wide eyes and 100-watt smile. Because they got married, moved to Staten Island, had a son and worked for decades in Manhattan; she as an accountant, he as a banker. Because it had been their dream to retire to Florida, and so they saved all their lives to make it possible. Because, just as they began to talk of leaving New York and heading south, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and they spent their time and money traveling to New Jersey, San Diego and Mexico in search of a cure. Because, in the end, they came to Florida anyway. Because they finally bought a house in Spring Hill, although she was too weak that day to get out of the car. Because she died nine days later on Jan. 5, 2002, a day "the whole sky fell," he says. Because, after she was gone, he found himself alone and $100,000 in debt. Sunday, November 17, 13
  29. 29. 300-word stories And so he took a job collecting tolls. The drivers who pass by see a smiling 71-yearold man with blue eyes and a gray mustache who tells each of them, "Have a great night!" They don't know the rest of Lloyd Blair's story, or that he keeps Millie's picture in his shirt pocket, just under his name tag, just over his heart. -Brady Dennis, “After the Sky Fell”, Tampa Bay Tribune [It’s 298 words. I counted. Consider an EXACT word count too.] Sunday, November 17, 13
  30. 30. How to get better stories • Observe and report • Hold Quote/Caption panel interviews • Share great writing: 300 word stories • Practice writing concisely • Brainstorm Building Tour • Throw profile darts Sunday, November 17, 13
  31. 31. Practice writing concisely Use Twitter to craft writing. Sunday, November 17, 13
  32. 32. Practice writing concisely 6 word stories: For sale: baby shoes. Never worn. Nobody knows this, but I’m famous. Head: green smoothie. Gut: bacon cheeseburger. So broke I can’t pay attention. All those pages in the fire. Caps and gowns. Ups and downs. Sunday, November 17, 13
  33. 33. How to get better stories • Observe and report • Hold Quote/Caption panel interviews • Share great writing • Brainstorm Building Tour • Throw profile darts Sunday, November 17, 13
  34. 34. Brainstorming process WKHS-TV Brainstorming Sheet Fill in at least 16 for full credit News in WKHS News in Waterford News in the World Interviews Ediorials Man on the Street Trends In the Locker Room at WK Opening Ideas News specifically related to WK InDepth look into something or someone Any specific trends you notice at WK? Sunday, November 17, 13 News related to Waterford, including other schools and businesses Opinion of something going on at the school or in the world InDepth look at sports News related to other areas Hearing students’ opinions on a specific subject what would be a good opener for the show?
  35. 35. How to get better stories • Observe and report • Hold Quote/Caption panel interviews • Share great writing • Brainstorm Building Tour • Throw profile darts Sunday, November 17, 13
  36. 36. How to get better stories • Observe and report • Hold Quote/Caption panel interviews • Share great writing • Brainstorm Building Tour • Throw profile darts Sunday, November 17, 13
  37. 37. Yearbook Writing: the chicken or the egg ? Presented by Brian Wilson Waterford (MI) Kettering HS bwilson3560@gmail.com On Twitter: @wilsob01 Sunday, November 17, 13
  38. 38. Sunday, November 17, 13

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