Despite national trends, yearbook still going strong

A new trend is sweeping across college campuses – the discontinuation of school yearbooks.

According to news reports, at least five colleges have announced the discontinuation of their yearbooks since the end of last year, including the University of North Texas and Purdue University, whose yearbook had been in publication for more than 100 years.

Despite the trend, The Horned Frog, TCU’s yearbook, seems to be standing strong.

Kathy Hamer, The Horned Frog adviser, said most freshmen show up to get their picture taken. As students get older, the turnout rate decreases, except for senior year when students want their graduating class yearbook, Hamer said.

About 2,000 to 2,400 students purchase The Horned Frog each year, Hamer said.

“Larger schools have a harder time because they do not have the close relationships we have here,” she said.

Calls to Taylor Publishing Company, the publisher for The Horned Frog, were not returned.

Rich Stoebe,director of communications for publisher Jostens Inc., said about 1,000 colleges and universities across the country publish traditional yearbooks.

“There has been a decline in college yearbooks that began a number of years ago,” Stoebe said.

Mallory Burkett, editor-in-chief of The Horned Frog, said it is disheartening that some universities no longer have a yearbook.

“We are all very aware of how things are going and we are worried about it,” Hamer said. “We just hope ours holds solid.”

Some experts blame social networking Web sites such as Facebook for taking away from the yearbook, but Hamer said those Web sites cannot replace the role of the yearbook in documenting what goes on at the university.

Stoebe agreed. He said he does not think Facebook or MySpace played a significant role in the decline of college yearbooks.

“A yearbook is a keepsake for decades and captures the story of a unique year,” he said. “Social networking sites are more in-the-moment.”

The Horned Frog has been in print since 1898 and was named The Horned Frog before athletics adopted the mascot. Each yearbook costs $62 and comes with a two-hour-long DVD supplement that features video footage from the entire year.

This is the first year students can purchase a yearbook online. Traditionally, students would order a yearbook after getting their photo taken.

Esther Volmer, a freshman speech-language pathology major, said she wants a yearbook so she can look back and remember her freshman year. “The university will definitely be different when I am a senior and I want to be able to look back at the changing campus.”