By: Kayla Stephensen
There are many misconceptions about the difference between yearbook and newspaper at Bellbrook High School. Yearbook is a class period. Newspaper is a mentor period. Mrs. Giles teaches yearbook while Ms. Bills-Tenney teaches newspaper. Yearbook counts as one year credit. Newspaper counts as ¼ of a credit for every semester. They are both majority-produced online which is surprising considering how movies often show the process. Yearbook uses Walsworth and newspaper uses WordPress to publish their products.
In yearbook, staff learns how to use Photoshop, how to write captions and stories explaining a page. In newspaper, staff learns how to write articles about different topics, which is a different kind of writing than the typical English class. Both are split up into categories, with yearbook in sections and newspaper into beats. The sections are sports, academics, student life, people and clubs. The beats are school community, arts and entertainment, sports, current events and lifestyle. In yearbook, students are given a variety of pages in different sections but in newspaper, students are assigned one beat for every quarter. The assigned pages in yearbook are due at different times depending on the section and are yearlong. The beats in newspaper require four articles and some type of analysis of professional work.
As far as the hierarchy of each class, they both have editors but they have different roles. Newspaper has staff members of each beat and an editor for each beat who helps staffers come up with ideas. As a first-year staffer, members complete four “article reviews” each quarter to get them reading and analyzing professional articles from worthy sources. As a second-year staffer, members can do article reviews or make a Twitter account and retweet twenty articles each quarter. The rare three-year members can do either of the previous or create two presentations on article writing per quarter as they are the most experienced. Yearbook also has staff members and an editor for each section as well as a chief editor and a copy editor. The section editors check pages after a staff member has completed a page while the chief editor delegates or makes dividers, theme, title and cover pages and the copy editor spell checks everything a third time. In both classes, articles and pages are ultimately turned into their respective teachers for a final check before publishing on the newspaper website or proofing a page to send to Walsworth for book publication.
Both yearbook and newspaper have a similar dynamic: they both foster creativity and opinions. In newspaper, coming up with ideas for articles and sharing opinions about news at any level is encouraged. In yearbook, brainstorming layouts and ways to carry the theme is often done by the entire class. Ideas are welcome in both environments. Both teachers have a passion for their students and a personality their students admire. Being a part of both is a wonderful way to expand abilities of writing but even just one opens doors to opportunities to develop creativity.