In this time of social distancing, it can be hard for yearbook staff to capture the intimate moments of student life. Yearbook advisors Heather Malone and Joon Kim provide anecdotes about what they’ve personally been doing to gather photo coverage during the pandemic, and they specifically discuss the importance of relying on the student body as well as the power of employing social media.
A Helping Hand
She learned the value of using students who are not actually on her yearbook team, since they’re generally very willing to help..
In our interview with Heather Malone, she talked about how, this past year, she’s had to rely on people who were not on her staff to help her get the coverage she needed. For example, she reports reaching out to the captains of her school’s sports teams and asking them to have their players take a picture of themselves in their uniforms, since there was no time for team photos. This worked well for Heather, and she learned the value of using students who are not actually on her yearbook team, since they’re generally very willing to help gather more information than Heather could get on her own.
Social Media Challenges
However, Joon reports that social media is the resource that him and his team have to tap into more
Joon Kim, on the other hand, reports having a difficult time acquiring photo coverage this past year. He was able to get some sports pictures by reaching out to the athletes and telling them exactly what he wanted – he wanted them to dress up in their uniforms, go into their backyards, and get photos of them “playing” their sport. Like for swim, if the student had a kiddie pool then they would go sit in the pool. And with baseball, the term “doing yardwork’ means that the team is doing really well, and so Joon had pictures of the softball girls literally doing yardwork. However, Joon reports that social media is the resource that him and his team have to tap into more, because students do not like sharing things via email – they like sharing things through Instagram’s DM feature, or by posting images to their social media and tagging the yearbook team.
What Joon’s team has started to do to spark engagement is post challenges online, like “post three confessions and tag two friends,” and a random student will win a free boba. Joon wanted people to share how they were feeling, and these challenges have helped students engage more – the yearbook team posts a video of an auto-generator picking the winner from a list of names, and the winner gets a free boba delivered to them by the yearbook team itself. This is a really popular thing that Joon’s team has done, since posting challenges onto community forums performs better than emailing students and asking them to fill out forms. With the social media format, people started sharing their responses more willingly, and Joon’s team was able to convert all of the students’ posts about their day-to-day lives into actual pages.
This stay-at-home situation is new for everybody, and we’re all acclimating to it at the same time. So, as we try and fail together, there’s a lot that we can learn from one another. Stay tuned for more resources, and follow us on Instagram (@unitedyearbook) to be kept in the loop!
Alyse Mgrdichian, Senior Editor
Alyse Mgrdichian holds a B.A. from Biola University, having majored in psychology and minored in philosophy. She is a senior editor for TSE Worldwide Press, the parent company of United Yearbook Printing, and she applies her expertise and love of stories to the role.
Joon Kim, Content Contributor: Yearbook Advisor at Garden Grove High School, Garden Grove, CA
Heather Malone, Content Contributor: Yearbook Advisor at Baldwin Park High School, Baldwin Park, CA