How to Report on Community News in the Yearbook

Looking for ideas on how to fill the yearbook this year? Finding content for the yearbook is a common issue this 2020-2021 school year as schools are finding their world changing. But just because that club or that sporting event or that school carnival is no longer happening doesn’t mean the yearbook is not needed. In fact, it’s the opposite. With so much change and strain on our lives and community, the yearbook is more important than ever. The yearbook tells the story of the school year, and what a school year it’s been so far! 

Reporting your school’s story and that of your community in this year’s yearbook means taking a journalistic approach. To help you, we’ve provided various help and resources below. 

Gather Your Reporters

You most likely have seen it before if you don’t already do this in your own yearbook: student-authored stories reporting a particular event or topic. Maybe it’s a write up on how the varsity football team’s season went. Or a story about a fundraiser put on by the drama club. 

If you haven’t done much of this kind of reporting in your yearbook, then this year is the year. Before anything can be written, you’ll need to round up your yearbook reporters. 

Yearbook writers can expect to cover a topic or event. This may include doing research on a topic, seeking out eye witnesses and interviewing them or attending an event and taking notes. 

What to Report On

What stories you include in your yearbook, will depend on what’s important to your school and community. It will also depend on what regional, national or international stories affect your school.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • The Impact of COVID-19 
    • How are the elderly (grandparents) coping?
    • What are the first hand stories from first responders and the medical community?
    • How have businesses changed on main street?
    • What are the effects on the economy?
    • How are students getting involved?
    • Present both sides of the mask debate. 
    • How has COVID affected your school and the way it operates?
    • How are the parents handling online learning?
    • How has online learning worked for your school? 
    • How has COVID affected the cleaning of your school? Who is sanitizing the school and how could you tell their story?  What happens after the students go home?
    • A history of pandemics from the past.
  • The Science Behind COVID-19
    • What is its origin?
    • How does it spread?
    • How to protect against it?
    • How does testing work?
    • What about vaccines?
  • Racial Injustice
    • What has your community done to fight against racial injustice?
    • How has this issue affected the students and staff in recent months?
    • How to contribute to the solution.
    • What does the community feel about the protests? 
    • Report on the peaceful protests in your community.
  • Natural Disasters
    • What kind of weather reportings or natural disasters has your community had to face this year?
    • What specific stories from individuals or others can you find about the impact of these natural causes?
  • Summertime Stories
    • Stories from your school or community about what they did to stay busy and have fun this past summer.
  • Sports and Clubs
    • How are specific teams or clubs coming back this year at your school? 
    • How are they handling practices, meetings, events, performances?
  • Volunteerism
    • What service and volunteer opportunities have there been?
    • Who’s volunteering and what’s their story?

How to Be a Reporter

A reporter does one thing: report the news. News can be an event, facts or opinions. 

Reporters can get their information from a variety of sources. It’s always best to get information from a live source such as witnessing an event in person. When information comes from a source such as from internet research, it’s important to check that the source is credible. Try to get to the very original source of the information. 

An important source is interviewing where the reporter can ask questions and get direct quotes. 

When reporting on a story it’s important to answer the 5 W’s and an H:

  • What? The main idea.
  • Where? The place.
  • Who? The people involved.
  • When? The date and time it has happened or will happen.
  • Why? The purpose or reason.
  • How? The steps or details that made it or will make it happen.

Reporting with Photography

Photography in journalism is as important in telling the story as the words themselves. When reporting on an event, be sure the reporter takes plenty of photos or have a separate photojournalist take photos. 

Photos for a story may not always be an event that’s unfolding at the moment. To help tell the story, you could have photos of the people involved or those interviewed or photos of the location or place. If covering a national story or something with existing coverage, find and acquire permission of an existing photo. It’s important not to infringe on copyright. More on copyright basics.

When taking photos remember these tips:

  1. ACTION!  Get in the middle of the activity and start shooting. If nothing is happening in your dominant photo, how will it grab your reader’s attention? (Answer: It won’t.)
  1. GET PERSONAL  A zoom lens is handy to have, but don’t expect to take great shots from the bleachers. If you can’t see the look on someone’s face, it’s probably not a great shot.
  1. FRAME IT Framing is a technique whereby you draw attention to one element of an image by framing it with another element of the image.
  1. LAUGH OR CRY Nothing makes a photo better than capturing raw emotion. From extreme joy to bitter pain, let your camera tell the real story.

More photography tips

Need More Coverage?

If you use Creator StudioTM to build your yearbook, then check out Extra! Extra! Content from the “Themes” panel. These are pages you can drop into your project that highlight various news stories. The pages are customizable so you can use only a portion or make them fit your yearbook theme. 

Below is an examples of Extra! Extra! news pages found in Creator StudioTM.

Go For It!

Your yearbook doesn’t have to be the New York Times or Newsweek magazine. Get a list of stories or events to cover and get your team out there. Make this year’s yearbook unforgettable by reporting on what was important to your school. There’s been plenty to report on in the past year!