Fall Workshop 2019

Visual storytelling focus of fall workshop

From Everett High School’s Crimson Times, seniors Esmeralda Pineda, Lucas Silva and Christopher Erilus and their adviser Christopher Wright work on the design of a story package with Laura Schaub, the presenter of the workshop (NESPA photo).

Laura Schaub, national education director for Lifetouch Yearbooks, presented strategies for engaging readers through the skillful use of design elements.

She spoke Friday, Nov. 1, at the New England Scholastic Press Association’s fall workshop at Boston University’s College of Communication.

“The more our newspapers look like magazines, the more readers we attract,” she said.

In her presentation she demonstrated ways to build engaging newspaper and yearbook pages, taking inspiration from contemporary publications.

She began by introducing the six elements of layout: dominance, unity, contrast, repetition, direction of movement and spacing. She used example pages to show each element.

Next, she highlighted how publications used these elements in diverse page examples. From South African sports pages to New York fashion pages, students got a taste of layout and visual storytelling from a wide range of graphic designers.

Among the tips she offered:

  • ”Tilting elements can add energy.”
  • ”Label photo illustrations as such.”
  • ”Use space, not just boxes and lines, among elements.”

She went on to present four examples of visual storytelling in video form, showing human interest stories from the news and analyzing strategies from the videographers and narrators.

From Walpole High School’s The Rebellion, Kate McLellan, Amy Gordon and Renee Abbot collaborate on a double truck during the workshop’s layout exercise (photo by Grace Manzo, staff writer of The Rebellion).

After watching the videos, students discussed which images or phrases they found the most engaging.

Then students formed groups and used what they had learned to design their own story packages about one of the videos of their choice.

This workshop helped students put the skills and concepts Ms. Schaub discussed into fruition while also encouraging students to incorporate their own creativity.

Members in attendance came from high schools in Burlington, Everett, Newton North, Walpole and Wellesley.


Renee Abbott, news editor of The Rebellion at Walpole High School, contributed to this article.