Money makes the world go ’round

We’ve concluded the major advertising sales campaign on both staffs. I’m waiting for my biz manager to give me the final tallies on how the yearbook staffers did, but the newsies didn’t do as well as we really needed them to do. The last couple years, we’ve put out a monthly 12-page paper. The ads they sold financed printing and other needs: association memberships and contests, camera equipment like memory cards and batteries, the occasional splurge like new fonts (an epic battle with my 3-year editor – he won), water cooler rental, pizza for late nights and whatever else we might need for the year. And those ads took up about the right amount of space on the 12 pages. This year, however, though they over-sold quarter page ads (now they have to have a page to be placed on), we’re really short on smaller ads. That means less income to pay for that size of a paper, and more space to fill with content, unless we cut the number of pages down, while still finding space for that extra quarter page ad.

You know, people who don’t know what goes into this gig never consider the balancing act that happens, not just in balancing story perspective and point of view and balancing interests for our audience, but balancing the whole complex money thing as well. That’s one of the learning experiences I like for the kids to see first-hand.

Our first production week is coming up Monday, and it will be interesting to see how the content is balanced with white space – the unintentional kind. The kids did sell a few more ads this week, so maybe it’s not as bad as it seemed when their sales campaign had officially ended.

Meanwhile, the yearbookers worked pretty hard this past week, but that’s just the thing. They had longer to push their ads because they had more to sell and didn’t have to produce a publication nearly as soon as newspaper did. Problem is, many of them put off really working it until the last week. Then they found out how hard it can be. I know how bad the economy is and how hard all the school groups hit the local businesses for money at the beginning of the year, so I knew it was going to get harder the longer they waited. I always allow that three signed turn-downs will equal one ad sale for their grade. So they’re relieved when they get that third or sixth “no.” I’m not so relieved. We still have space to sell, and what they don’t sell falls to the business manager. It does look, though, that several of them have a “knack” for sales, and so I’m betting that I can depend of three or four of them to finish up the rest of the sales with minimum motivation.

With money on my mind, Friday afternoon seemed the time to get my activity accounts up to date. Having felt overwhelmed with grades and lesson plans (still do) and putting most of my extra hours toward those, it seemed time to get my books in order. With two accounts and three months of statements to catch up on, this was no small task. I worked until nearly 7 p.m., but I got it done. Bring on that September statement. Pretty soon I’ll be taking yearbook sales money and senior salute money as well as payment on invoices. It’ll get crazy by then. The accounting is almost like a second part-time job. In fact, I recall that one yearbook teacher several years ago did have the help of another teacher for the accounting part of it. Guess my administrators think I’m extremely capable . . . or just love living in my classroom.

Money may make the world go ‘round, but I get so busy accounting for it all sometimes, that I don’t get to see much of the world outside my room.

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About teachjournalism
I am a high school teacher of journalism, technology and reading. I advise the school's newspaper and yearbook, both student-led publications. Documenting and sharing my experiences is a way of reflecting to improve my own work and and inviting commentary so that we might all benefit. I believe, as I tell my students each year, that we all learn from each other.

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