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Post mortem being written for university yearbooks

By Sandy Sand     Feb 22, 2010 in World
Falling on hard times and competition from the likes of Facebook, another university yearbook bit the dust. The only thing left is to write the obituaries as one after another can’t compete and succumbs.
It may not be too long before yearbooks go the way of the dinosaurs and become extinct.
Graduating seniors at the University of Virginia won’t have a hardcover yearbook of memories of college life complete with scribbled messages of well wishes from fellow classmate to treasure over the years.
This will be the first time in the school’s illustrious history since it was founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1887, that there will be no yearbook. U of V isn’t the first university to have its yearbook killed off by rising publication costs -- a $100,000 a year or more -- and online competition.
The university student publishers of “Corks and Curls” had to scrap the book this year, because they didn’t have the money, and its student editor Michelle Burch said the chances of reviving the publication are slim.
The Charlottesville, Virginia, university joined schools such as Purdue, Mississippi State and Old Dominion, which have ceased publishing yearbooks, said because the trend is swiftly moving toward more students sharing memories through social-networking Web sites.
Logan Aimone, executive director of Associated Collegiate Press, a Minneapolis-based organization that advises student media, said:
"You have campuses now where students are less connected to the campus itself, and are not participating in the traditional types of activities. Yearbooks are valuable research documents because they serve as an archive.””
The loss of zest for college yearbooks began in the 1970s, said Edmund Sullivan, executive director of Columbia Scholastic Press Association, based at Columbia University, because many students simply lost interest.
The trend slowed but has picked up speed again.
A survey conducted last year by yearbook publisher Jostens, found that around 1,000 colleges still publish yearbooks.
Sullivan estimated that 15 years ago there were about 2,400 published.
"The Internet has blown down the four walls of a campus in a traditional sense," Sullivan said. "And it has blown off the covers on the yearbook."
Denieka Bean, a second year student at U. of V., is described as being typical of students who say they don't need to have a yearbook, said:
“…she plans to remember her college years through photographs and Facebook, which will be around for awhile. But if not, I can take the pictures off of there and put them somewhere else."
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