December Showcase: Mary Williams


Working with U-Times newspaper editors, Mary Williams, U. City media adviser, pushes students to meet their deadline. Mid-December is an especially busy time for journalism students and every class period counts. “We had newspaper students fanned out across the building getting captions and late-breaking story interviews up until deadline.”


I advise the Dial yearbook, U-Times newsmagazine and newspaper website at University City High School. In addition, I teach Intro to Journalism and two sections of Senior World Literature. Teaching is my second career; in a previous life I was an executive advertising copywriter and copy chief for over 20 years.


Current Focus:

Currently, I am teaching and reinforcing the importance of deadlines to my yearbook staff. I “frontload” the deadlines first semester because students are always more engaged and energetic about meeting them at this time. As a result and since we are a spring delivery book, the deadlines are not as intense second semester. As we approach the end of the first semester, I am focusing on aligning my student’s grades to their actual performance. For instance, if they did not meet a certain deadline, what other extra and necessary tasks did they perform to contribute to the overall success of the yearbook?


Timely tip:

This time of year, it is important to stay on schedule and look ahead to the next deadline.

Working in sync with the December deadlines, students are already assigned to their January deadlines, which are mostly winter sports, and they can get ahead of the curve by shooting games in December so they are not scrambling to find a contest to shoot in January.