As with all things digital, there is always a learning curve when trying something new. If you are using digital photography for your yearbook or newspaper, then you really should be using levels or curves to “fix” your digital photos before press.
One of the most difficult thing is getting good color consistently from a digital image – especially if your images come from a variety of sources. One thing that can help is learning how to read a histogram – that mountain-like image that most photo editing software (like Photoshop) will show you when you use levels. If you are not sure what the various parts of the histogram are showing you, or what RGB are, then you might want to check out the Professional Photographer’s article on how to read a histogram. It is one of the better resources I’ve found on the web for what it all means and how to use one to get better images.