Echowan works on yearbook virtually

Adjustments made to assist staff


Emmy Pearson

Seniors Emma Heinzen and Anna Jensen work on a yearbook layout Feb. 1. A select few Echowan editorial staffers have came into the building to work on the yearbook. Otherwise, the yearbook runs virtually.

Tenzin Gyaldatsang

With the ongoing pandemic, many clubs have experienced changes in procedures and protocols. Senior Echowan editor-in-chief Anna Jensen said it has been hard for the staff to interact with each other and socialize during distance learning.

“It’s really different this year because usually, it’s fairly easy to connect with the younger staffers that are new to Echowan,” Jensen said. “It’s just really easy to get to know one another, but this year, it’s definitely really difficult since we haven’t had the chance to meet in-person and have any casual interactions.”

According to junior designer Ilhan Abdi, many traditions and gatherings have been affected due to the pandemic.

”Getting people to buy the yearbook has changed because instead of talking to people face to face, we can only do it behind the screen,” Abdi said. “We used to have parties to celebrate us finishing the deadline. We can’t have those anymore because of COVID(-19).” 

Jensen said interactions between staffers have been hard and some decisions made by her or a small group have had to be made abruptly without much dialogue.

“There are some things that we would usually talk about in a group that have become decisions that I’ve had to make quickly or we’ve had a brief, ‘oh yeah, that’s cool,’ instead of having full editor meetings where we can talk everything through,” Jensen said.

Echowan Adviser Julianne Kaster said staffers are using different software than years prior, which allows them to work remotely.

“We switched from using InDesign to using the web-based design studio works that the publisher creates so that kids can use any laptop or device to access the spreads that their working on so that they don’t have to come into the school and use the school server, and that’s how it normally operates,” Kaster said.

Jensen said the staff hasn’t been working fully remotely and have come into school to finish deadlines and attend events.

“Sometimes we have photographers and editors go in and take pictures of things, like for covering events,” Jensen said. “When we sent our first deadline in, we had all the managing editors, myself and Ms. Kaster come in and we worked in her classroom.”

According to Kaster, editors attend a yearbook camp in June where they learn and work as a team, but due to the pandemic, it has been called off. 

“Normally, the editors go to yearbook camp in June, but that was canceled. And that’s where a lot of the teambuilding happens and a lot of the learning,” Kaster said. “Like how to do design, and what makes a good design, and they had to do all that on their own.

While working virtually, Abdi said she hasn’t experienced much change in her role.

“It’s the same workload that I expected it to be. There’s really not anything different, it’s just that you have to do it over a computer,” Abdi said. 

Even though the pandemic has negatively affected certain aspects of the yearbook, Kaster said staffers have grown to be more resourceful and self-reliant. 

“I think people have become more independent. They have to get things done on their own, and it’s hard to know when staffers have questions when we’re virtual,” Kaster said. “So I think the staffers have just matured and gotten more independent in the way they operate.”

Jensen said since this year has been unparalleled, the yearbook will differ from conventional events and extracurriculars that have been covered in years past.

“I think that this year’s yearbook is gonna look a lot different than every yearbook in years past since they pretty much follow the same layout, content coverage and style,” Jensen said. “But I would say this year, there are some parts that are be moving away from that, which I think will be really cool and unique.”

Kaster said the overall yearbook experience has been strained due to not being able to interact with others on staff. 

“Echowan is a family — we’re the Wan. The relationship I have with the students is the most important thing to me. Personally, it’s that family relationship and I’ve never seen a bunch of my kids in person before, so it’s really hard to get to know them online, especially when they’re all working on different things,” Kaster said. “So that’s hard since I know the new kids were expecting one thing and they got a very different experience.”