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Yearbook Terminology

Yearbook Terminology

The Yearbook

  • yearbook
    • a publication that tells the story of one school year in a responsible and creative way
    • often journalistic, a yearbook is really several books in one:
      • educational book
      • picture book
      • history book
      • reference book
      • public relations book
      • fun book
  • headline
    • the large type designed to attract readers to stories and draw them into pages.
    • a well-written headline summarizes a story or highlights its focus
    • headline components include primary and secondary
  • story
    • the main text, story or article, also called copy
    • stories come in a variety of formats; include facts, figures, and quotes
  • action photos
    • capture the important moments when they ‘re happening
    • these photos show an activity or event in progress
  • captions
    • text blocks accompanying photos that add information
    • captions answer reader’s questions about the people, the action and or the reaction in the photograph
    • can range from identifying and supplying minimal information for people in photos to serving as mini-stories telling the 5 Ws and H and including quotes.
    • also called cutlines
  • primary audience
    • students make up the primary audience of a school’s yearbook
    • content should be developed with this in mind
    • ideally, every student should be included in the yearbook at least three times
  • secondary audience
    • the faculty and staff, parents, community members, and advertisers who may read and see the yearbook
    • Scholastic press association judges and other yearbook staffs might be considered part of the secondary audience by some staffs
  • reader survey
    • a measurement of reader opinion, generally gained by asking questions in person or in writing.
    • a representative segment of readers should be surveyed


  • attitude
    • a positive attitude stimulates creativity
    • a positive attitude promotes a positive work environment
    • a positive attitude encourage open-mindedness
    • a positive attitude inspires action and teamwork
  • feedback
    • information that evaluates or provides observations
    • feedback includes an honest, specific and detailed critique of a situation, issue, or project outcome
    • constructive criticism should focus on the work, not the person
  • leader
    • a person who inspires and guides others to follow
    • effective leaders recognize:
      • their own strengths and weaknesses
      • try to always be learning
      • developing their own talents and taking risks
    • they understand that a positive self-image is contagious
  • vision
    • an overall picture of what is to be accomplished, the ideal
    • something to strive for


  • libel
    • a type of speech not protected under the Constitution of the United States
    • libel is a false printed statement (words or pictures) damaging a person’s reputation
    • slander is spoken statement damaging a person’s reputation
  • copyright
    • exclusive right to use and distribute original literary, artistic, or photographic materials
    • copyright law protects the rights of individuals to control the use of their intellectual property
    • Song lyrics, poetry, quotes, titles of books, movies, stamps, cartoon characters, photos of famous people, movie and television characters, games, currency, websites, website screenshots, computer software and corporate logos all may have very strict reproduction rights
    • using copyright material without first obtaining permission from the copyright holder is illegal
  • intellectual property
    • creations of the mind that are given the legal rights often associated with real personal property (copyright, trademark, patent)
    • the way ideas and facts are expressed can be copyrighted, although the actual ideas and facts cannot be
  • accuracy
    • exactness, correctness of information
    • all names, quotes, and information, including anything submitted by non-staffers, should be checked carefully
  • fairness
    • balanced, objective, and honest
    • all reporting must be fair and unbiased
    • the yearbook should not be used as a platform for personal views
  • good taste
    • thoughtful decisions and high standard ensure that the yearbook is free of questionable material such as racist or sexist remarks, ethnic slurs, crude humor, inside jokes, cruel remarks, or glamorizing illegal activities
  • statement of policy
    • clear guidelines for what is acceptable in the yearbook
    • this helps establish high standards for the yearbook
    • guidelines should be stated in a formal, written editorial policy, approved by appropriate school decision-makers and communicated to all yearbook staff members

Anatomy of the Yearbook and the Yearbook Spread

  • closing – final pages of the yearbook
  • contents – listing of the pages containing the sections, opening, closing, and index
  • cover – outside of the yearbook which protects the contents
  • divider – a spread used to separate each of the sections of the yearbook
  • endsheet – heavier sheets of paper which hold the pages of the yearbook to the cover
  • flat – eight pages on one side of the signature (also called multiple)
  • folio tabs – the page number and the topic of a spread typically placed as a unit at the bottom left and bottom right of the spread
  • four colors – printing in magenta, cyan, yellow, and black
  • graphics – elements such as rule lines, gray screens, large initial letters and special type treatments which enhance the book’s design
  • index – a complete alphabetical listing of all students, teachers, advertisers, topics (faculty, organizations), and events covered in the yearbook
  • ladder – a page-by-age listing of the yearbook’s contents
  • opening – the first two to four pages of the yearbook which introduce the theme
  • parting page – the final page to bid farewell
  • section – a yearbook is typically broken up into six groups; people, organizations/clubs, sports, academic, student life, advertising, and index
  • signature – a 16-page grouping made up of two 8-page flats
  • spine – area of the yearbook connecting the front and back covers
  • spot color – printing in at least one additional color besides black
  • spread – two facing or side-by-side pages in the yearbook
  • title page – page one of the yearbook; includes vital information regarding the school
  • eyeline – a horizontal break on the spread that is exactly one pica, but not in the middle of the layout
  • leading lines – real or imaginary lines that direct the reader to the center of interest in a photo
  • pica – a unit of measurement equal to 1/6 of an inch and 12 points
  • white space – blank area where no elements are placed
  • internal margins – spacing between items within the spread
  • external margins – spacing around perimeter (outer edge) of entire spread
  • colophon – detailed listing of technical printing information (at end of the book) and staff listing
  • gutter – vertical area where two pages meet in the middle
  • bleed – when any image or element touches the edge of the page extending beyond the trim page
  • kerning – adjusting space between the certain combination of type characters to improve the appearance
  • leading – the vertical distance between lines of type measured in points from the baseline of one line of type to the baseline of the next line

Writing for the Yearbook

  • angle – a writer’s specific perspective on a broader topic
  • attribution – to identify the person who said the words being quoted
  • copy – the main story on a yearbook spread
  • coverage – refers both to topic features on individual spreads and how the topics are highlighted
  • editorializing – when a reporter provides his or her opinion to the reader
  • interview – a conversation between a reporter and a source
  • lead – an attention-grabbing introduction that sets the tone of the story
  • quotation – a direct statement a reporter obtains through an interview
  • source – the person whom a reporter interview
  • spin-off – a “mini-theme” used as a section title
  • style sheet – a list of guidelines a writer uses to maintain consistent punctuation and capitalization
  • subhead – a secondary headline
  • theme – a verbal statement and a visual look which tie all parts of the yearbook together
  • transition – a factual sentence a writer uses to link one quotation to another in a piece of copy
  • serif – typestyle with tiny “feet” at the end of each letter stroke

Photographing for the Yearbook

  • rule of thirds – division of a photo, horizontally and vertically, so the subject falls into one of the interesting optical hot spots
  • dominant photo – a photo that is 2 to 2.5 times larger than other photos on the spread
  • cut-out background – editing, or cutting away, of unwanted content areas of a photo
  • candid – an unposed photo that documents the action or story

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