Students opt for Internet over annuals

Yearbook: New history book?



The yearbook at Murphey Middle School is dead this year.

Ditto for Monte Sano Elementary.

At Josey High School, it's a question of whether to pull the plug.

And Garrett Elementary has already replaced the deceased with a new and improved version.

With about five weeks of classes remaining, the yearbook season is kicking into high gear, but at several Richmond County schools the old print keepsake has either gone away or is in bad health.

Some point to the bad economy, others to social media such as Facebook.

Westside High junior Brittany Tullis said she thinks the popularity of yearbooks might be slipping because of Facebook, which allows students to upload photos they prefer instead of school mug shots.

"I think that has a lot to do with it. Something else is the price," Tullis said. The book costs $60 at Westside. Though she loves yearbooks and would hate to see them go away, she said, the whole idea of a book is just "unappealing" to teens these days.

Monte Sano Elementary had a bright, glossy yearbook last year, but officials said they had to do away with the offering this year because fewer parents have money to dish out in the bad economy.

"I did not get one this year, but I surely want one," said Monte Sano Principal Kathryn Perrin, noting that "because parents are out of jobs this year parents are having to move in with other family members. They have a variety of things going on," and yearbooks aren't taking top priority.

Murphey Middle Principal Veronica Bolton said her school also won't have a formal yearbook this year.

"Yearbooks are costly and do not sell well," she said. "We had to cancel our yearbook last year and decided that if we do any type of memoir, we will do something in-house."

At Josey High School, the book hangs in the balance.

"Prepaid sales were very slow this year to the point where we're not sure what we're going to do," Principal Ronald Wiggins said. "I think the economy has a lot to do with it. People are just not throwing out $35 to $40."

Garrett Elementary, where the traditional hard copy yearbook hasn't existed the past two years, is embracing the digital age.

"What we do now is put it on DVD and sell it," said Garrett's principal, Paula Kaminski. "This year, we might be adding a page for students to sign it electronically like they do on the (online) obit page in the newspaper."

The DVD, she said, is about $10, and past yearbooks there have cost about $24, which she said was "too much to ask parents."

At Westside High School, a printed yearbook is available this year, but only 150 books have sold so far, compared with about 500 in past years.

"This is my first book that probably will not meet budget," said Janice Burch, who has been the school's yearbook adviser for seven years.

Today's students have more of a sense of immediacy, she said, and when they pay for a yearbook "they can't have it in their hand right now."

Looking at a picture of herself as a teacher in Westside's 1998 yearbook on Wednesday, English teacher Rebecca Newhall said "it would be very sad for me" to see yearbooks go away.

"I still go through my high school book," she said.

Uga's 'Pandora' in its final year

ATHENS, Ga. --- This year will be the last for the printed edition of University of Georgia's yearbook.

Faculty adviser Cody Ward said sales of the student-produced Pandora have declined steadily for years. Ward said not enough books will be sold to break even.

The Pandora's annual budget is about $60,000, and about $21,000 of that came from student activity fees this year.

Ward says the campus committee that allocates activity fee money told Pandora staff members last year that the yearbook would continue to get funding if at least 1,000 copies were sold.

The book sold 1,846 copies in 1999, but sales dropped to 506 copies last year.

As of Tuesday, Ward said, only 335 copies had been sold.

- Athens Banner-Herald



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