School of Journalism revamping yearbook

By Gus Bode

Sales slow for 2005 Obelisk

Factoid:The yearbook will be finished in June and shipped to customers in the fall of 2005. The price of the 2005 Obelisk is $85, plus $8.95 shipping and handling. Organizations should call 536-3311 ext. 239 to schedule group portraits. Any student organization is welcome to participate.

SIUC has a yearbook for the second consecutive year after more than decade-long absence. But judging by sales so far, many students still may be unaware of its existence.

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Only 12 students have currently purchased the 2005 Obelisk, SIUC’s yearbook, which has been in production since the fall of 2004.

Matt Hines, a sophomore studying music business from Naperville, said he never knew a yearbook existed for the University. “I haven’t heard a word about the yearbook in the two years I’ve been here.”

Last year, SIUC students were offered their first yearbook in more than 16 years. The Obelisk was produced in an effort to revive the yearbook tradition at the University.

In 1987, a student staff started a yearbook, but it was not completed and published until 1989. The yearbook program was dropped afterward.

However, in 2003 SIUC was approached by Taylor Publishing Co. with the idea to begin producing the Obelisk again, and a contractual relationship was reached to produce the yearbook for a test period of four to five years.

Walter Jaehnig, director of the School of Journalism, said he is optimistic about the new life given to the Obelisk.

“This is worth a try and a way to give more of our students an opportunity to do journalism,” Jaehnig said. “The value of the yearbook is something we’ve lost sight of over the years.”

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Jaehnig said yearbooks offer a historical record of what takes place on the campus, which students can reflect upon down the road.

The student staff is responsible for the editorial content of the yearbook, and Taylor Publishing is responsible for the printing, binding and marketing. The School of Journalism is funding a staff of 15 students, which has been assembled and is in production of this year’s Obelisk.

Ashley Tarr, editor-in-chief of the 2005 Obelisk, said the yearbook will contain 200 colored pages, with sections on student life, academics, sports, people and organizations. There will also be a “biographies” section in the back of the yearbook, providing a list of biographical information for undergraduate students.

While Taylor Publishing is responsible for the bulk of the funding, advertising sold through the Daily Egyptian could be sold through the yearbook as well.

According to Sally Shutt, adviser to the yearbook staff, there is determination among the staff to get the word out, as last year’s Obelisk only sold 124 copies, 50 of which were purchased by the SIU Foundation.

Krista Kukowski, editor-in-chief of the 2004 Obelisk, said since it was the first yearbook in 16 years, most students didn’t even know it existed. Nonetheless, she said it was a good experience, and she expects sales to increase dramatically for the 2005 Obelisk.

It will be a challenge, however, with only a dozen sold so far. According to Jaehnig, if the yearbook isn’t selling, either side can back out of the contract within a year’s notice. “I don’t know if it will work or not, but I hope it will,” he said.

To help get the word out, the University has released a student database to Taylor Publishing Co., and the company is expecting to contact parents.

Reporter Matt Wang can be reached at [email protected]

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