For several years, I ignored the WJEA fliers in my school mailbox because I thought “I’m only a yearbook adviser.  They don’t have anything for me.”  

Let’s talk about that whole “ONLY a yearbook adviser” thought I had.  What? 

Yearbook is journalism. 

Journalism advisers are journalism advisers regardless of media. We help each other in so many ways. 

WJEA has something to offer everyone. 

I don’t think I’m the only yearbook adviser out there who has thought all the good yearbook support comes from the plant/publisher. I spent nearly 15 years believing that. I cannot believe what I missed out on those years. 

My first several WJEA meetings were convention planning, and I was rapidly sucked in. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t been part of this magical group before. That was five years ago. Here I am serving my second term as president and as local committee chair for whatever the April 2021 JEA/NSPA convention looks like. 

I have met amazing friends. I have met some incredible students and introduced them to my own incredible students. I have lost track of the inspirations I have found within this organization. A meeting of the WJEA Board has a way of renewing my enthusiasm. 

As a board, we click. We all want to make WJEA more valuable to the members we currently have, and we want to share the organization with more advisers and students. We know there is power in numbers. The more journalism advisers and students we have, the stronger we become, and the more brains we have improving scholastic journalism in the state of Washington.  

We have a core group of members that show up for everything possible. However, we need your help. We want more of you to join us at events. In the think tank. You have great ideas and new experiences to share. 

If I can convince you of only one thing here, it would be to involve yourself more in WJEA. (This whole Covid business is bringing us into the Zoom world, which means we can be more involved without a six hour drive!) 

If I can convince you of two things here, it would be the first one plus the idea that you have something to offer—regardless of your experience level. I was mentoring a yearbook adviser yesterday. She gave me the perfect idea for my yearbook. I mentored another one today, and our conversation lead to a genius idea for online learning and accountability. 

I will be setting up some roundtable discussions and a new Facebook group for journalism advisers in the state. We need as many ways to connect as possible.  We already are often on a curricular island at schools when we are physically in front of students. We need our collective brain power to thrive in this next school year. 

WJEA announced its 2020-2022 executive board members after an election where two of the fields had multiple candidates running. The new board members are:

Anne Hayman, president
Scott Collins, vice president
Sandra Coyer, treasurer
Teresa Scribner, secretary

At the board retreat, which was held via Zoom in June, the members set forth their plans for their next term. The group agreed to continue working on three primary goals that were established in 2018. Those goals were:

  • to make WJEA indispensable to advisers
  • increase membership and activity level
  • streamline WJEA practices

The new board is already hard at work, setting professional development courses to begin Aug. 10. The board also set forth three initiatives that will become a focal point of their energy for the year. Those plans are to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in journalism, inform students, advisers and administrators about press rights and create more student programs.

The board hopes all students and advisers around the state will make these initiatives an important part of their programs. Scribner, who has given presentations for WJEA about diversity, is especially excited about the new focus.

“I’m glad people are finally waking up to the injustices of the world, I just hope that everyone can see that these problems can’t be solved unless you invite Black and POC and LGBTQ voices to the table,” Scribner said. “Good journalism means everyone has a voice and that voice is heard.”