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UA may see return of ĪDesert' yearbook

MELISSA HALTERMAN/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Journalism and political science senior Daniel Scarpinato is seated with a collection of past yearbooks. Scarpinato is editor of the recently revived UA yearbook, which has not been published since 1997.
By Andrea Kelly
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, September 9, 2003

A movement is underway to bring the UA yearbook back to life after a six-year hiatus.

Taylor Publishing approached the UA and other public universities as part of a new sales campaign, offering to help fund the yearbook, said Daniel Scarpinato, a journalism senior and Daily Wildcat columnist who will be the editor if the contract with Taylor is finalized.

After being a regular part of student life since 1903, The Desert yearbook was discontinued in 1997 due to lack of sales.

Because there are a lot of students involved in activities on campus, Scarpinato says a more chronological, or "year-in-review," approach may be the difference between a new yearbook and the ones that were not able to generate enough sales in the past.

"It would be good to showcase what there is on campus, the daily routine, what the clubs do," said Vicente Lopez, a physics senior.

It also may be more related to news events around campus as well as the large and small clubs and sports.

"It would be hard to have everyone's interest," said Yusra Tekbali, molecular and cellular biology freshman. "I think it's better to have it on student life because it would be hard to get the whole campus in," she said.

Rebekah Kleinman, a journalism senior who would be a campus editor for the yearbook, wants to capture the essence of the university.

"We'll do the traditional news, sports and the standard campus things, but we want to dig into the campus, find the roots and what makes the campus unique," said Kleinman, last spring's Wildcat news editor. "We want to show why people come here, why they stay. We want that to shine through," she added.

Yearbook sales were declining nationally in the 1990s, but those involved believe they can generate interest among students because the university is always changing.

"A yearbook is more sellable now. I think this school is different now than in '97. There's a core group of people who would be interested in buying it," Scarpinato said.

The yearbook would include coverage of student activities like ASUA, greek life, Residence Life, as well as the spirit that has developed from recent additions to campus life, such as the Zona Zoo passes.

And there is interest in the new approach.

"As long as they didn't do individual pictures of everyone, it's a good idea," Lopez said.

The Desert would also give students one more opportunity to join an organization on campus.

"It will give students another opportunity to be involved," said Scarpinato, who was editor in chief of the Wildcat last spring. "And it will give those who are already involved in activities on campus something to hold on to."

Scarpinato anticipates a couple thousand people will be interested in buying a yearbook, which would be an increase from 1997 when the yearbook lost funding from the department of student publications after receiving only 700 pre-orders.

The yearbook would be considered a part of Arizona Student Media, which includes KAMP Student Radio, UATV and the Arizona Daily Wildcat.

ASU also stopped publishing a yearbook in 1997.

An informational meeting will be held on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Sabino room of the Student Union Memorial Center.

Scarpinato and Kleinman hope to speak to people interested in being a part of the staff, as well as people who have suggestions for content in the yearbook. Once finalized, the staff positions will be paid.

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