Group Projects

I'm usually one to hate group projects, but I’ve come to realize that a lot of high school journalism is just one, huge group project – especially when it comes to the yearbook or the newsmagazine or a multi-platform, online news source.

Because of the situations I’ve been placed in, one of the biggest takeaways I have from scholastic journalism is the ability to properly communicate with the people I have to work with both inside and outside of the newsroom.


The Eagle Eye

Everything for the newsmagazine starts on Trello. The platform has allowed us to keep everything together on different organized boards. Deadlines are also laid out in the same location so staffers know both what they’re working on and the deadlines they’re working with.

On the far left-hand side, the theme for our staffers is laid out. Next to that, deadlines are posted to give everyone an understanding of the when to get things done by. Everything else to the right is for staff ideas. The “Holiday Related” column was special to this issue, but usually there is a theme column regardless of what time of year it is.

One other key to communicating for the newsmagazine is keeping everything online in a spreadsheet on Google Drive. The process for laying out a content ladder isn’t always simple, but using Drive keeps things up to date and makes flexibility easy.

All of the pages were almost immediately claimed by members who took an interest in a certain story. This issue was a little different than most others, as it was a special holiday edition of the magazine. That allowed for a lot of fun journalism, such as features on different cultural and religious traditions and opinion pieces on the commercialization of Christmas.

The turn around on printing this newsmagazine allowed for less than one month from the date an idea was formed to the day we sent it to print. This is what our content ladder looked like three days before we sent pages. Everything that needed to be changed immediately was marked in red and anything that wasn’t completely written and photographed was marked in yellow.

Three days later, everything turned green. We sent for print Friday afternoon after a few finishing touches and received pages for distribution the following Monday.


Aerie Yearbook

This year’s yearbook is laid out differently than we’ve ever done before. The book is sectioned into seasons for chronological, but then each club and sport is also organized by the season in which it is most active. The academics pages are at the end of the book right before the portrait pages.

While staff members work on a beat system, editors are responsible for piecing together the chronological pages. Trello has been extremely helpful in posting story ideas for each spread.

This is the board we have going for our chronological coverage. Reporters post story ideas related to their beats, and editors decide if it should be incorporated into a spread or not. Once the decision is made, Trello is used to track the progress of a piece.

Trello makes direct communication easy. When a card is placed on a board, an individual staff members can be added. They’ll then be notified via Trello and email if any comments are made on a card.

When a story is first assigned, there’s an option to apply a due date. For chronological pages, we try to work only one week past an event. This example deadline was pulled from a story on wisdom teeth over winter break.

Color coating is key for organization. Every card is marked purple or not to represent whether or not it’s a good story for the yearbook before the red to green scale is applied to the readiness of a story.

Color coating is key for organization. Every card is marked purple or not to represent whether or not it’s a good story for the yearbook before the red to green scale is applied to the readiness of a story.