Big changes for the Mahiscan

By Kayla Bauer | Editor-in-Chief
Transforming to stay with the times and house Marshfield’s new additions in its pages, The Mahiscan staff is making big changes to this year’s publication.

According to yearbook adviser Scott Peters, the biggest change the yearbook will experience is the addition of online content, a website containing videos and photo slideshows of events throughout the school year.

“We’ve never done that before,” Peters said. “That’s huge.”

Senior Kelley Kennedy is the Editor-in-Chief of online content and said it is becoming increasingly popular with high school yearbook programs. The Mahiscan staff learned of this trend at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention last spring.

“We wanted to try it out because we want to incorporate a new, dynamic aspect,” Kennedy said. “Pictures are cool, but videos are a lot more memorable.”

Peters said the staff is doing this using Microsoft tags, or QR codes, on its print pages to launch the videos on the online portion.

According to tag.microsoft.com, Microsoft tags are 2D barcodes that can be scanned with a smartphone using a free application. The scanned tag can then take the user to a website on their phone’s web browser.

“If they [students] don’t have a smartphone, there’ll be a URL code under the tag they can just type in on their computer,” Kennedy said. “Our goal is to have at least one URL and tag on the more dynamic pages for things like sports, band and pep assemblies.”

Peters said the addition of online content will also allow for more and better quality coverage.

“Usually we have to reject thousands of photos,” Peters said. “This year we won’t.”

The Mahiscan will be experiencing another major alteration. In order to accommodate for the addition of the eighth grade, the staff is splitting its coverage into two separate publications.

Over the last 10 years, the yearbook has traditionally been one 144-page book distributed in the spring covering grades 9-12 with one 8-page supplement distributed the next fall. According to Peters, with the pages needing to be added to sufficiently cover another grade, creating one book would be difficult and expensive.

“The price of that book would be well over $100, and we know our customers don’t want that,” Peters said. “We would lose customers.”

The staff will distribute one main book in the spring of 2012 that will cover fall and winter and cost $69; a spring book will be distributed next fall, which will cover spring and senior activities and cost $35.

“If they buy both, the cost is still over $100, but they have a choice,” Peters said.

Editor-in-Chief of the main book, senior Sergio Marroquin, said many people were upset when they heard about the price of the books, but he believes the prices are fair.

“It’ll be worth the money and then some,” Marroquin said.

According to Marroquin, the theme of this year’s main book will be “Wired.”

“Because of the online portion, we wanted a theme that would combine the two,” Marroquin said. “There’s going to be elements of gears and wires on every page.”

Senior Steven Pederson, who is Editor-in-Chief of the spring book, said the spring book will have a different theme that will be decided at a later date.

“I’m excited the spring book will have its own theme,” Pederson said. “It’s not decided; there’s no name to explain it now.”

According to Pederson, all these changes made the beginning of the year slow, but the staff is progressing.

“We are getting better. We know what we’re doing and how we’re going to do it,” Pederson said. “It just took us a while to get that in motion.”

Marroquin said adjusting to the new bell schedule is also challenging.

“The shortened periods have made it harder to get everything done,” Marroquin said. “But we get it done.”

Despite these challenges, Peters has confidence in his staff and its leaders.

“I feel really good about this year’s leadership,” Peters said. “I’m very proud of my team this year.”