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How do I take even better photos?

Your yearbook staff may already take great photos, but there's always room for improvement. That's where photography expert Mark Murray comes in. He knew he wanted to teach photography when he was just a kid, and made that dream come true. Mark and host Mike Taylor discuss the keys to great photography, from composition to equipment to etiquette. Mark has great advice to share for every part of scholastic photojournalism. Be sure to stick around to the end, for the Ask Mike questions...


How do I find and tell awesome yearbook stories?

Finding great yearbook stories can be a challenge. Yearbook staffs want to make every year different, but much of the school year is always the same. There are always football games. Prom always happens. Two great advisers are here to help your staff fight the yearbook doldrums! Tiffany Kopcak, from Colonial Forge High School in Virginia, has a staff that consistently turns out great student life stories. Brit Taylor, from Hagerty High School in Florida, has turned his staff into amazing...


How can student leaders coach great writers?

Some students are born leaders. Some develop into great leaders. Either way, strong student leadership fosters strong yearbook programs. Recorded on location at the Elite Weekend yearbook workshop in Kansas City this September, host Mike Taylor found for extraordinary young women leading their yearbook staffs. Addie Von Drehle and Emily Cooper are the EICs at Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, Kansas. Kelsey Volk and Molly Elfrink are copy editors at Shawnee Mission...


Why should I join NSPA?

Happy National Yearbook Week! This week is all about celebrating yearbook and building a better yearbook program. That makes it the perfect time for host Mike Taylor to bring in Gary Lundgren of the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA). In this episode, Mike and Gary discuss the benefits of NSPA members, and how the organization helps yearbook staffs and advisers hone their craft. They cover the difference between a critique and the eminent Pacemaker competition, NSPA's upcoming...


What makes yearbook storytelling great?

Bruce Watterson is widely known as "The Yearbook Whisperer," and episode eight of Ask Mike helps illustrate how he earned that title. Watterson and host Mike Taylor delve into the possibilities yearbook staffs can create. In their conversation, Watterson and Taylor cover the topics of creativity, digital storytelling tools, winning awards, the perfect yearbook and the benefits of yearbook critiques. Even after 44 years in the yearbook business, Watterson's enthusiasm continues to shine...


How do I market my yearbook?

Kathy Beers is a marketing genius. It's not just us who think that. Her creative methods are used by yearbook staffs far and wide. In this episode of Ask Mike, Kathy chats with host Mike Taylor about some of her favorite methods to sell yearbooks and ads. For example, she doesn't call them "senior ads." They're "senior tributes," and it works! Kathy shares more than 30 minutes worth of selling advice, then Mike brings in fellow advisers who have used her methods to discuss what works with...


How can I be a great yearbook editor?

Mike Taylor is helping editors prepare for the school year in episode six of Ask Mike! He interviews former yearbook editors, current editors just starting their year, and even brings in a couple of advisers! They discuss how yearbook helped recent graduates prepare for college, how busy editors balance yearbook with all their other school activities, and what two editors with an inexperienced staff will do to ensure a great year. Questions or suggestions for future episodes? Email us at...


Why should I do a yearbook boot camp?

In this episode of Ask Mike, Mike Taylor discusses yearbook boot camp! At the start of the year, guest advisers Allison Miller and Susan McNulty each run their own yearbook boot camp. It helps them start the year off right! They're sharing how they run their boot camps, and dishing about the importance of bonding among staff members. Do you have a question for Mike Taylor? Use #AskMike on Twitter or send them to


Why should I attend an Elite Weekend?

In Episode 4, Mike Taylor discusses the benefits of attending an Elite Weekend. He and former attendees discuss how they took their yearbook to the next level in one weekend.


How do I inspire creativity in my students?

In episode three of Ask Mike, Mike Taylor, CJE, sits down with Becky and Dow Tate. Becky Tate is the adviser at Shawnee Mission North in Overland Park, Kansas. Dow Tate is the yearbook adviser at Shawnee Mission East in Prairie Village, Kansas. This husband and wife duo have a friendly yearbook rivalry. They're both very good at inspiring creativity in their students, and shared some of their methods with Mike. From putting inspiration in front of their students, to sometimes having to draw...


How do I structure my book for better coverage?

Recorded live at the NSPA/Gloria Shields workshop in Dallas, Texas, episode two of Ask Mike focuses on how to structure your yearbook for better coverage. Whether it's chronological, traditional or blended, Mike Taylor brought in a group of knowledgeable advisers and yearbook reps to discuss the details of great yearbook coverage.


How do I choose my yearbook theme?

A great yearbook theme takes more than choosing from a list – although that’s a great place to start brainstorming! In the inaugural episode of Ask Mike, Mike Taylor explores the ways to find a yearbook theme that fits your school this year. He’s joined by Susan Massy and Cindy Todd, two long-time yearbook advisers who have helped their students shape and carry a yearbook theme throughout the book. They discuss yearbook theme dos and don’ts, coming up with ideas, and how to get creative but...