Portrait of the Yearbook as an Old Man

According to its supporters, the college yearbook is about “making history” and having “your life encapsulated in pages that are always readable.” 


Circa 2008, these pages of life are dying.  As CMM reported in September, the traditional print college yearbook is becoming a thing of the past.  The University of Texas student media director recently told ABC News that there are roughly 750 yearbooks still publishing at U.S. colleges and universities, “far fewer than there were 10 years ago or 40 years ago.”  Interest in posing for student portraits is also down and actual yearbook sales are lagging.



Yearbook 2.0-type sites like Facebook are easy targets of blame, but their rise does not tell the full story of yearbooks’ decline.  According to the wonderful Lori Brooks, director of student media at the University of Oklahoma:


The Oklahoma [University] yearbook died out in 1991 before social networks existed.  It’s just hard to make students appreciate history when they are in the middle of making it.


Possible saving graces put forward: using Facebook photos in place of official portraits; distributing DVD complements to the print version; and publishing online entirely.


Any ideas???

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