PCM Yearbook receives Neubert award

PCM Yearbook receives Neubert award

Countdown to Prom

The 2018-2019 PCM yearbook staff received the Neubert Award in the fall of 2020 for the 2018 Whole Book Contest through the Iowa High School Press Association (IHSPA). This is the IHSPA’s highest rating category. It is named in honor of Mick Neubert, outstanding journalism adviser from Grinnell High School. These yearbooks are deemed exceptional in executing solid journalistic, photographic, and design principles in yearbook publishing.

The following critiques were provided from the judges:

  • Excellence in Unifying Concepts – Staff clearly understands the importance of a unifying concept and has carefully designed and executed the concept.
    • Judge’s Comments:
      • Great play on words with the cut out on the cover to subtly say OUR JOURNEY. The photo showing through the cut out makes the yearbook about the students in the school.
      • The front endsheet is full of information. The table of contents give the beginning page of each section and introduces the color used for that section. The arrow graphic from the cover is continued on the endsheet. The timeline showing the journey of the football team records the history of the season, develops the theme through the use of arrows, and provides a scoreboard. The photo shows students cheering on the team and provides a view for the cutout. Great font endsheet.
      • The used of the back endsheet for the closing is a creative use of space. This yearbook records the history of the year, and develops the theme of the yearbook from cover to cover.
      • The photo on the opening spread is striking, and takes the viewer/reader on a “journey” down that road.
      • Great theme development.
  • Excellence in Reader Services: Staff clearly understands the importance of reader services and has designed them in a usable way.
    • Judge’s Comments:
      • The division spreads continue the theme development through the use of the arrow graphic. The sections of photos in the parts of the arrow are well selected, and all photos have story telling captions. The copy is in present tense, taking readers into the action, as if they were watching the season unfold at the time. (Remember, that traditionally, copy is in past tense. In the case of how these division spreads are presented, it works in present tense, but will not always work.)
      • The folios are different left and right, working together to give readers full information about the spread. The left folio contains the arrow graphic, spread content, and page number. The right folio is written on the side of the page, in the bar colored the section, containing the section name and page number. Simple, effective, informative. Great reader aids.
      • Additionally, each season has a concluding spread, a recap. Writing the recap copy in past tense, makes it a perfect companion for the spread copy in present tense. Each season has a beginning and an end that readers will notice.
      • Do be careful when placing captions and names on photos (example p. 28-29). Depending on the colors and density of the photos, the words can be hard to read. If words are hard to see, readers will not get the full message you were creating.
  • Excellence in Student Life/Chronological: Staff has effectively covered student life, academics, sports, clubs, and people through good photographs, interesting copy, and attractive designs.
    • Judge’s Comments:
      • Coverage includes some unique topics: p. 6-7 Common Interests (twins, damaged phone, accidents); p. 26-27 The A-Z of Me; p. 42-43 If you knew me, you’d know that I…; p. 58-59 Spring Break Travels; p. 64-65 Senior trip; p. 80-81 Changes to PCM.
      • Academic coverage on p. 62-63 combines English and science. This is a great way to present core classes by combining them and showing students in action. Add more academic coverage, especially core classes. Coverage of math and social studies needs to be added.
      • Club group pictures with sidebar quotes, Q&As, and photo/quote blocks adds to the coverage of club.
      • Scoreboards for sports are included in the reference section. This is important as the scores, win/loss record are part of the history of the school.
      • The sidebars (at the bottom of the pages) add two content items to spreads. The elements add to the overall message of the spread, and are a great way to incorporate more students into the yearbook.
      • Captions are used well to tell the story of the year. The captions work as stories on many spreads.
      • The pulled quote format used in the yearbook (example p. 13) is a cool design, incorporating the arrow design. The double headed arrow serves as a box for the quote with an arrow head at each end, pointing at the name and the grade. The box circles the name, grade and quote, and points where it all goes together. This is a simple, yet cool graphic design.
      • Photography is strong, and tells the story of the year visually. Examples of strong photos are p. 11 of the cheerleaders and flyer, page 62 brain dissection, and p. 78 swimming.
      • Be careful not to flip photos (p. 38, first two student photos at the bottom of the page are flipped – see the words on their shirts). Alternated photos are not truthful representations of the history. If a photo is altered for a purpose, it must be labeled as a photo illustration.
  • Excellence in Portraits: Staff has effectively displayed student, faculty, and staff portraits through good photographs, interesting coverage and attractive design.
    • Judge’s Comments:
      • To the staff section, add the classes taught, positions held, sports coached, and clubs advised. Remember that this is a history book. It will be a service to the readers to have this information in print years from now.
      • The portrait pages are clean. The quote blocks at the bottom of spreads are fun, and again include more students, working toward the goal of students being in the yearbook three times.
      • The first ever Instagram Post on page 91 uses a social media trend to connect to students.
      • The visual for Favorite Snack at the top of page 92 is visually appealing, and revealing about not just the students quoted, but all students as a whole.
      • Senior portraits are a tribute to seniors with a childhood photo and a senior photo and quote. These portraits are well designed.
  • Excellence in Ads/Community: Staff has effectively covered ads/community through good photographs, attractive designs, and interesting copy.
    • Judge’s Comments:
      • Personal ads are consistent in the use of fonts and colors from the yearbook. Their appearance is consistent with the look of the yearbook.
      • Business ads are easy to read, clear and focused.
  • Excellence in Special Sections: Staff has effectively used the special section to reinforce coverage and provide additional information in a thorough and interesting way.
    • Judge’s Comments:
      • Pages 100-111 focus on students. These pages follow the portrait section, and precede the reference section. Good coverage includes Seniors signing and college plans (p. 100-101), Student of the Month (p. 102-103), Senior Superlatives (p. 104-107), PCM Fashions (p. 108-109), That’s Random (p. 110-111).
      • The current events page on 142 combines school current events with global current events. This is fitting at the end of the yearbook.