Everyone has an opinion. Whether it’s about a new Katy Perry song or a presidential election, people like to know that their voice is being heard. Utilizing these voices is an excellent way to expand your yearbook coverage.
It is often considered the job of newspapers to gather public opinion. Just think of all the letters to the editor that appear in the local paper (and all the letters that don’t). However, using your yearbook as a platform for student opinion can help give it more personality, while offering classmates the chance to share their thoughts on the biggest events of the year. Here are a few tips for including student opinion in your book:
1. Ask about the big stuff, but don’t forget the little things.
A poll about whether everyone prefers pizza to chicken sandwiches in the cafeteria won’t exactly keep people interested. Take a look at the big events of the year – were there any political elections? Did a groundbreaking movie come out? Did a bestseller make headlines? Ask students about the sort of things they’ll want to look back on and remember if they pull their yearbook off the shelf twenty years from now. At the same time, consider certain issues that are unique to your school, mixing the funny with the serious. Whatever it is, make sure it’s interesting! Polling and opinion can give an accurate and interesting snapshot of what the atmosphere was like in your school the year the book was published.
2. Keep it polite.
It’s easy for students to get heated when you ask their opinions on things they feel strongly about. If there are certain topics you think would be good additions to the yearbook, consider first whether they are the sort of topics that would be best served by open-ended questions (i.e. allowing students to answer for the chance to be quoted directly in the book), or best served by a poll that gives a more general sense of student opinion and allows for a simple chart or graph to show results. It’s important for everyone to be able to express their views, but it should be done in a respectful manner.
3. Be relevant.
Just because something was considered big news by network TV stations, that does not necessarily mean it was big news at your school. Make sure to strike a balance between touching on important issues of the year, and not alienating your audience by asking their opinion on issues or events with which they are unfamiliar.
Student polls and opinion sections can be a great way to liven up your yearbook, and provide an in-depth look at the world in which you and your classmates live.
Want more in-depth info? Grab a copy of Quill and Scroll’s How to Conduct a High School Poll.