Friday, May 21, 2010

Yearbooks in the News.

Tom, at Stop Trying to Inspire Me picked up on the article in The Free-Lance Star that Massaponax High School's yearbook is being recalled for a "True Confessions" page, among other things.

Lots of truth, anonymously told. Students are dismayed when the book gets pulled.

First, where the hell was the advisor and the administration? The yearbook is all online these days, even down to the image editing. The advisor has passwords for each kid and has a higher level password for herself. Nothing gets published without her knowledge. She could have reviewed the material and locked the pages. She did not. The administration also has high-level passwords and could have reviewed the material as well, but did not.

"Rodkey said the yearbook is a student publication, overseen by an advisor. He said he did not want to cast the staff or advisor in a negative light."

Bull. Not making a decision is equivalent to approval. The joke that seems funny now is crude in a few years, stupid in a few more, and just plain mean-spirited after that. The mis-attributed "Quotable Quote" would be a lawsuit in any other publication. The previous yearbook was called "Scandalous" and many parents agreed. It does give one something to think about.

I've found that the biggest student misconception is "It's OUR yearbook and we can write anything we want."

Um, no, it's not. And you've got Facebook for that.

The yearbook may be ABOUT the students but it doesn't belong to them.

It has to be about the football kids and soccer kids, the goths and the jocks, the drama club and the drama queens, those who did nothing for four years and those on the Ivy track. It should have the loners and the clubbies, winners and losers (pictured that one time when they looked good). No one should ever have to hide a picture. Every senior should have a formal and at least one candid. Every picture and every comment must meet the "parent shows to grandparent and both smile" test.

It's the kids' yearbook,
and the parents',
and grandparents',
and the community's,
and the library's,
and the faculty's,
and the friends and fans of the sports teams,
and for the kids twenty years hence to show their children.

Everything in it must be something to make all those people look back fondly. Publishing things like "I have sex with people just to feel wanted." "I worry all the time my ex-boyfriend will use the naked picture I sent him to ruin my life."
"I had an abortion and my mom doesn't know." "I once did so much pot that I woke up high." "I'm pregnant with my best friend's boyfriend's kid."

What in hell were the adults thinking?

1 comment:

  1. Apparently, the FLS got the title of last year's book wrong ... it was called "Layers" but the controversial spread was called "Scandalous." I mean, whatever, but I always love pointing out when their reporting is shoddy because they judged and criticized the newspaper I used to advise.

    ANYWAY, the thing that happened, I think, was that the adults were there but they weren't paying much attention. You have an adviser who's only been there two years (at the most -- when I left my last school, MHS's then-adviser left hers, and that was in spring 2008) and a principal who is retiring and has a reputation for being well-liked by his students.

    The frustrating thing is that yeah, the adults should have stepped in and gotten rid of the spread in question, right from the get-go. That editorial process is in place and anyone who's spent five seconds as a yearbook adviser knows that.

    But you saw and pretty much echoed my point regarding the purpose of the yearbook -- that it's not some sort of sordid reality show.