Pegasus Yearbook Debuts Online

By Maegan Clearwood

For 84 consecutive years, countless student writers, photographers, and editors have compiled their school’s history into a series of hardcover yearbooks. The Pegasus entered the world of multimedia storytelling this summer, but its goals remain the same.

“A yearbook serves as a window into your memories, and I think that in its old, printed version, it was difficult to feel truly represented in such a formulaic way,” said Olivia Mott ’12, project manager for the 2012 Pegasus. “However, in the new online version, you can immediately find the things that you most remember and the people and events you hold dear to you.”

Mott and junior Content Manager Aileen Gray dedicated their summer to creating an online yearbook. They compiled photographs, narratives of campus events, senior profiles, athletic information, and descriptions of clubs and organizations, then organized the content onto a wordpress page.

The Board of Publications proposed the concept of an online yearbook last spring, and the project went live on Aug. 3.

According to Jehanne Dubrow, director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House and member of the Board, there were three primary reasons for the change: it makes for a more environmentally conscious and affordable format; current WC students are more receptive to multimedia storytelling; and, in recent years, recruiting students for The Pegasus staff has become increasingly difficult.

“Once we switched to the new electronic format and revised the editorial position into two Media Internships — once position focusing on the verbal and the second position focusing on the visual elements of the project — the number of applications to construct the Pegasus increased significantly. Students are hungry for on-the-job training and for internships that will provide them with ample amounts of work experience.”

Until this summer, print versions of The Pegasus were free to the entire student body. In an Elm article from May 2011, English professor and former Board of Publications member Corey Olsen said that student interest in the yearbook was at an all-time low last year.

“We’ve had many years of boxes and boxes of extra ‘Pegasuses’ that no one even goes and picks up for free, so students don’t really seem to be very interested in the idea of an old-school yearbook,” he said.

The transition from page to screen wasn’t without its difficulties. Some students were adverse to the elimination of a physical copy of a yearbook, including former editor Emmy Landskroener ’11.

“Personally, I’m not a fan of moving the yearbook to an online form. I think there’s so much to be said about a physical book – the emotions that come with the memories on the page, the weight of it in your hands, the handwritten “autographs” in the back pages – that gets lost in translation when it’s moved to cyberspace,” she said.
Overall, however, Mott and Gray said responses have been positive.

“Students, alumni, faculty and staff all seem to really love the new format. I’ve had people tell me they love it for both the flexible layout and the overall look,” Gray said.

The finished product took months of writing and formatting in their office on the second floor of the literary House. They faced the unique challenge of compiling content for the new yearbook without a staff of photographers and writers.
“We had to work backward to get information about clubs and often had to go through more than one person to track down details about a club or an event. We weren’t able to include everything we wanted to because we couldn’t get the information and or photos to accompany certain events and several clubs,” Gray said.

Applications are now open for two positions working on The Pegasus through the Literary House. The media internship is one of three internship opportunities offered this fall. Although the position title has changed from editor to media intern, the responsibilities are similar.

“The position of editor wasn’t eliminated; it was renamed to reflect students’ concerns with professional development, on-the-job training, and cultivation of skills that will be transferable to the workplace,” Dubrow said.

“Since we only had the opportunity to work and gather information during the summer, new interns will be able to attend events and shoot videos and snap pictures of clubs and seniors,” Mott said. “From that perspective, The Pegasus can only become an even more personal and all-encompassing yearbook.”

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