Creating Your Best Yearbook Team 

Tina Cleavelin

Creative Accounts Manager, Jostens
Tina works closely with many advisers and staff in her role with Jostens. She advised award-winning newspaper, yearbook and photojournalism staffs for 14 years and continues to remain actively involved in state and national journalism organizations.

Just as a soccer team, yearbook staffs that work as a team create the best yearbooks and enjoy an incredible production experience. Building your team requires planning and will not happen on its own.

Here are three ideas to help build your team.

Question of the day

Sarah Nichols, Adviser | Whitney High School [CA]

Editors brainstorm prompts for each day such as ‘What makes you a strong friend?’ At the beginning of each class, editors chose one prompt to share with the staff. Editors allow each staff member the opportunity to share his/her answer. Imagine what your staff will learn about each other.

Speed Dating

Sharon Kubicek, Adviser | Round Rock High School [TX]

As a precursor to the Yearbook Wedding Ceremony, the Round Rock editors created Yearbook Speed Dating in a effort to build better relationships between their staff members. Editors develop enough questions for the number of staff members. Split the staff into two teams. Divide all staffers into two lines with the lines facing each other. One editor stands at the top of the two lines and reads the first question. Staffers facing each other answer the question until the editor gives the command to switch partners. One side moves one person to the left to create new partners. Continue until every staffer questions all staff members.

Wedding Ceremony

Mitch Eden, Adviser | Kirkwood High School [MO]

As a visual commitment to the team and yearbook, Kirkwood adviser Mitch Eden marries his staff on the first day of school to reinforce the value of working together, making decision and investing in the process.

Place staff in a circle. Run a long, continuous string around the circle and have staff members hold the string. Adviser or editor read the ceremonial vows. Have editors personalize wedding vows reflecting the yearbook production process. After the vows are read, editors go around the circle and cut the string to fit as a ring that will be tied around each staffer’s finger.