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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Old school

Too bad:

As graduation day arrives, students will say goodbye to their classmates and teachers. And many are departing without a traditional yearbook to preserve those memories.


State budget cuts and the weak economy are causing elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and colleges across the country to either do away with yearbooks or look for more cost-effective publishing options.


Research firm IBISWorld estimates that the traditional yearbook publishing industry has seen sales to schools decline by 4.7% a year over the past few years.

[. . .]

But while some schools are abolishing the keepsake altogether, others are turning to new online yearbook companies like YearBook Alive, Lulu, Lifetouch and TreeRing.


TreeRing, for example, is an electronic yearbook company that lets schools design yearbooks, giving students the option of viewing them online, or ordering a printed copy for just $12 to $17 per book. More than a million photos have already been uploaded, and more than 50,000 students are using its services.

I speak as the editor of my high school yearbook, so take this with a grain of salt, but this strikes me as one area where digital isn't better -- there is great value in preserving between book covers the high school experience. I still marvel at the idea that, all these years later, my classmates might be picking up their yearbooks on occasion to recapture the youthful experiences I preserved for them. Trying to poke through the Internet for the photos, even if they manage to stay in a coherent format for so many years, doesn't seem the same.

I know, I know -- future generations will look upon such an attitude as quaintly deluded. Well, that's their problem. God knows what they'll be railing against when asked to give up their old-fashioned digital compilations.