The campus yearbook in the age of Facebook

I recently agreed to become the adviser for the Yackety Yack, the yearbook at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Growing up, I was never a yearbook person, preferring to work for student newspapers. I don’t know much about putting one together.

But I said yes to the Yack’s request to be the yearbook’s faculty adviser. I did so for a couple of reasons.

First, I was impressed by the enthusiasm of the editors. They’re an energetic group. To save the yearbook money, they even voted to become an all-volunteer staff. (Previous editors had received stipends.)

Second, I thought that advising the yearbook would be a challenge in creativity. In the age of Facebook, the Yack staff will have to work especially hard to put together a compelling keepsake that students want. To do that, the staff is planning to use text, photos and alternative story forms such as timelines and checklists.

So far, so good. The editors have an ambitious plan to document the 2011-12 school year, and the book has a new publisher. The staff is looking for sponsorships and raising its profile with students and alumni through social media.

The Yack yearbook is published each fall, and I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product in 2012. I’m also hoping to get a few requests to sign yearbooks. If I do, I will use my old line from high school: “Stay cool and have a great summer.”

Follow the Yackety Yack on Twitter and check out this archive of UNC yearbooks through the years.

Fall break

This blog will be on hiatus for the next couple of weeks.

This week, I’m off to New Orleans for the midterm meeting of the ACES board. Next week, it’s time to give and grade midterm exams in my editing classes.

I’ll still be on Twitter now and again. Thanks for reading, and enjoy autumn.

How to prepare for the Dow Jones editing test

It’s Dow Jones season. That’s when students across the country apply for editing internships with the Dow Jones News Fund.

The application includes a one-hour test that assesses skills in story editing, word choice and current events. Here are some tips on how to get ready for that, as compiled by my colleague Bill Cloud:

  • Review current events from last summer, including deaths of noteworthy people. The test was written around Labor Day. Include sporting events.
  • Study carefully word pairs listed in the AP stylebook: who/whom, affect/effect, flounder/founder, etc. There will be a section where you have to choose the right word.
  • Memorize the state locations on a U.S. map. You’ll need to link current events to the states they took place in.
  • Watch math carefully. You can expect math errors in the stories you edit.

Good luck to all of the students taking the test this year. I hope you find success as these students did.

UPDATE: The 2014 test included questions about digital journalism and asks applicants to write SEO headlines.