Ask Mike

Walsworth Yearbooks

Need to sharpen your yearbook skills? Ask Mike! In season one of this podcast from the Walsworth Yearbooks Podcast Network (WYPN), Mike Taylor explores what it takes to tell a great story with your yearbook, with a few laughs along the way. Mike enhances his already immense yearbook knowledge through interviews with yearbook advisers across the

All Episodes

Host Mike Taylor, CJE, begins the new season by interviewing two editors-in-chief as they start their new year. As you may have guessed from the episode title, one resides on the east coast and the other on the west coast. Neri Verniani, from Oviedo High School in Oviedo, Florida, and David Dablo from El Camino Real Charter School in Los Angeles, California, share how they're guiding their yearbook staff to create the 2021 yearbook under extraordinary conditions. 

Sep 10

60 min

Think back to early March. It may seem a lifetime ago, though in reality it was only a couple of weeks. School was still in session. There was no quarantine. No one thought to wear facemasks, and toilet paper could be easily found on the well-stocked shelves of your nearest supermarket. It was during this time that Mike Taylor, CJE, went to visit our Level Up winner, Meridian High School, for their first in-person visit on a cold Thursday afternoon.

Apr 16

32 min

Happy Valentine’s Day! This is the time of year when the Walsworth Yearbooks Podcast Network celebrates love in all its forms – especially the love of yearbook! In this episode, host Mike Taylor, CJE, interviewed four yearbook staffs about why they love yearbook. He spoke to the staffs of Braden River High School in Bradenton, Florida; Liberty North High School in Liberty, Missouri; Kearney High School in Kearney, Missouri; and Lee’s Summit High School in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

Feb 13

42 min

Some of the work being done by middle school and junior high yearbook staffs is absolutely amazing. That’s why host Mike Taylor sat down with the yearbook staffs of Carl Albert Middle School and Cactus Canyon Junior High to discuss what they’re doing right, what they’re working on, and what will happen when they move on to high school.

Jan 30

47 min

When the yearbook editors of Colonial Forge High School in Stafford, Virginia, attended an Elite Weekend at the beginning of the year, their stress was evident to Mike Taylor. Now, several months later, they've come a long way. Mike sat down with adviser Tiffany Kopcak and two editors to discuss how they reached their "Aha!" moment. 

Dec 2019

48 min

Mitchell Franz, of Yoakum, Texas, is a photographer. He started out as a scholastic journalism student and now, at 29 years old, he makes his living from his photography. In this episode, Mitchell and host Mike Taylor discuss the ways yearbook staffs can make their photography better. Plus, they challenge photographers to take great academic photos. Listen to the episode for details on how to win a $50 gift card from Mike and Mitchell.

Nov 2019

38 min

A great story starts with a great interview. In this episode, host Mike Taylor, CJE, interviews the staffs of Seminole High School, Gainesville High School, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and Eastern Lebanon County High School about creating great stories and great spreads. They shared their advice for getting great stories into the yearbook – from checking in with writers to the basics of a good interview. They talk about writing stories about the whole school, the benefit of being nosy, and teaching newbies to write stories that matter.

Oct 2019

53 min

In this special WYPN crossover episode, host Mike Taylor teams up with Jim Jordan, of Yearbook Chat with Jim, to talk about leveling up your yearbook! They bring in yearbook experts do discuss the possibilities and ways yearbook staffs can make improvements. They also speak to advisers and staffs about the ways they want to Level Up their yearbooks for 2020!   Get some help achieving your goals. Enter the Walsworth Yearbooks Level Up contest at walsworthyearbooks.com/level-up and you could win a visit from Mike and Jim!

Oct 2019

66 min

Creating a yearbook is fun, but most staffs can't accomplish that without the funds raised from sales!   In this episode, host Mike Taylor speaks to students at several different schools about how they sell and market their yearbooks.    Find Ask Mike on Twitter, @yrbkmiketaylor and don't forget to use #AskMike. 

Sep 2019

33 min

Host Mike Taylor spends a lot of time traveling from yearbook workshop to yearbook workshop all over the United States. At two recent workshops, one in California and one in Florida, he was especially impressed with the editors at Saugus High School and Freedom High School. So he interviewed them! These students already have impressive yearbook careers. They shared their experiences and their expectations for their 2020 yearbook. 

Aug 2019

56 min

Ask Mike is back and ready to talk about yearbooks! Host Mike Taylor, CJE, kicks off season three with interviews done at the summer yearbook workshop in El Paso, Texas.  In this episode, Mike interviews a great group of students about their yearbook hopes, dreams and fears for the 2020 school year. 

Aug 2019

51 min

What makes a great theme? In this episode Mike Taylor, CJE, answers the questions and walks you through how to find a great theme for your 2020 book. Taylor explains his theme-finding exercise that’s broken down into seven-minute increments. You can get a powerpoint presentation with even more inspiration. Just ask him! Email Mike at mike.taylor@walsworth.com or find him on Twitter, @yrbkmiketaylor. Plus, Mike explains what “What’s the T?” really means (check it out at the 34 minute mark).

May 2019

56 min

Recorded live at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention in Anaheim on April 26, 2019. Host Mike Taylor's session from the conference floor.  Featuring 12 "micro-interviews" with yearbook advisers and staffs, Mike asked the all-important question, "How has journalism helped you?"

Apr 2019

40 min

Some yearbook staffs impress year after year, despite staff changes or a new adviser. So how do they do it? Mike Taylor answers the question in this episode! He sat down with staff members from three Florida schools that are frequent award winners: Hagerty, J.W. Mitchell and Palm Harbor University High School. The eight yearbook editors in this podcast share their methods for creating excellent yearbooks and ensuring next year’s will be even better, even if they won’t be there any more because they graduated!

Apr 2019

40 min

Looking for something to do with your students after your yearbook is complete? Consider creating a podcast! In this episode, host Mike Taylor and Samantha Jo Berry, the publications adviser at Bridgeland High School in Houston, Texas, discuss the ins and outs of podcasting. That's right, it's a podcast about podcasting! Podcasts hold enormous educational value for students. They teach important skills like listening and storytelling. Plus, they're fun to create and don't actually require any special equipment! Mike and Sam walk through the ins and outs of podcasting, and why they're a great project for journalism students.

Mar 2019

37 min

Four years ago, the yearbook program at Williamsville North High School in Williamsville, New York, was fine. They weren’t creating award-winning or journalistic yearbooks, but their yearbook club was creating image-based books that the community liked well enough. However, that wasn’t good enough for adviser Erin DeVantier. Once her eyes were opened to the possibilities journalistic yearbooks offer, she brought on English teacher Kate Curcio to kick their yearbook program into high gear. It worked. Their second-ever journalistic yearbook is a CSPA Crown finalist. Erin, Kate, and this year’s EIC Serena Leatherbarrow shared their experience turning their yearbook around with Ask Mike host Mike Taylor, CJE.

Mar 2019

33 min

Season Two of Ask Mike kicks off with a bang! Host Mike Taylor, CJE, discusses the importance of Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) and the services they offer with Executive Director Ed Sullivan. Mike and Ed cover the benefits of being a CSPA member, the difference between their critiques and contests, and dive into the details of the upcoming annual Spring Convention. You can learn more about CSPA at cspa.columbia.edu. You can find Mike on Twitter @yrbkmiketaylor. Ask him a question using the hashtag #AskMike.

Feb 2019

38 min

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 portion: students and advisers from around the country sent in questions, which Mike and Mark answer in this episode. If you have questions for Mike, send them to podcasts@walsworth.com or find Mike on Twitter, @yrbkmiketaylor and #AskMike.

Oct 2018

56 min

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 sports writers. These two share their insights and methods with host Mike Taylor. By the end of the episode, you'll be ready for a major brainstorming session! If you have your own questions for Mike, send them to podcasts@walsworth.com or find him on Twitter, @yrbkmiketaylor and #AskMike.

Oct 2018

50 min

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 Northwest High School in nearby Shawnee, Kansas. These four students sat down with Mike to share their yearbook stories, and discuss how they help their staffs develop their writing skills. It's a great episode for any scholastic journalism program looking to improve their storytelling. Contact us: podcasts@walsworth.com. Find Mike on Twitter, @yrbkmiketaylor and #AskMike.

Oct 2018

52 min

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 conventions, how advisers can find their footing and improve their program, and even dip their toes in the great debate: In N Out versus Whataburger. Learn more about NSPA at studentpress.org. You can find Mike Taylor on Twitter at @yrbkmiketaylor (#AskMike) or reach him at podcasts@walsworth.com.

Oct 2018

48 min

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 throughout the conversation. His yearbook insights will be enormously helpful to yearbook staffs trying to tell a better yearbook story.

Sep 2018

47 min

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 them.  We hope you enjoy this yearbook marketing extravaganza!  Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Send them to podcasts@walsworth.com. 

Sep 2018

52 min

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 podcasts@walsworth.com! 

Aug 2018

40 min

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 podcasts@walsworth.com.   

Aug 2018

40 min

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. 

Aug 2018

38 min

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 out the creativity, the Tates have plenty of experience and have created some incredible, award-winning yearbooks over the years.

Jul 2018

35 min

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. 

Jul 2018

51 min

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 keep it approachable for the rest of your school. If you’d like Mike to address your yearbook questions in a future episode, let us know through podcasts@walsworth.com or use #AskMike on Twitter.

May 2018

46 min

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