Quill and Scroll will honor past while looking to the future

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My name is Jeff Browne, and it is my distinct honor to address you for the first time as the executive director of Quill and Scroll. I come to this role after 27 years spent as a journalism educator and adviser, from Smoky Hill High School to Colorado State University, the University of Kansas and the University of Colorado.

Jeff Browne

I look forward to serving you and building on the legacies of Quill and Scroll’s five previous executive directors: founder George Gallup (1926-1932), Edward Nell (1932-1957), Lester Benz (1957-1972), Dick Johns (1972-2007) and, most recently, Vanessa Shelton (2007-2017).

Judy Hauge

To my delight, Judy Hauge remains as Quill and Scroll’s administrative assistant and office manager. In addition, the University of Iowa continues to graciously host our organization and provide us with able journalism students who work as office assistants and content producers for our communications initiatives.

However, as with any organizational change, re-evaluation and, in some cases, re-booting programs is called for. And while we have chapters in more than 14,000 around the world, we love to hear individually from committed members and advisers about how our programs and services can be made even better.

Here’s a quick glance at what we’ve working been on since August:

  1. A cleaner logo, already in use for our publications and on social media, that incorporates the pithy “It’s an Honor” tagline.
  2. Our news aggregation initiative, The Weekly Scroll. In it, we provide Quill and Scroll members and their advisers with news about the journalism profession, scholastic journalism, and Quill and Scroll. It will be released every Thursday evening and ready for you for classes on Friday.
  3. A re-built website, one that has a more modern and useful template, making it easier for advisers and potential members to find our services.
  4. A monthly email newsletter for advisers that serves as an adjunct to — and possibly a replacement for — the printed Quill & Scroll magazine. We will gauge the response to both the magazine and to the newsletter as we move through the 2017-2018 school year to determine how best to communicate with you.
  5. A move to online submission for our contests, beginning with the International Writing, Photo and Multimedia Contest and Blogging Competition in January 2018. Our hope is to move all contests online, including the Yearbook Excellence Contest in September 2018.
  6. A collaboration with the Journalism Education Association, the National Scholastic Press Association, the Student Television Network and state scholastic press associations to provide training for advisers and others who serve as critique judges. Attend one of our joint sessions at the JEA/NSPA convention in Dallas.

Here are some initiatives that will begin in the very near future and that you can be a part of:

  1. A capital campaign to fully fund Quill and Scroll scholarships. The Century Campaign will have a goal to raise $500,000 by the time the organization celebrates its 100th anniversary in April 2026.
  2. Partnerships with associations that promote diversity in the journalism profession.
  3. A retooling of our publications, especially the Quill and Scroll Stylebook.
  4. A celebration of Quill and Scroll alumni and their successes, not just in journalism but in other professions. After all, decades of research have shown us that journalism students do better at everything.
  5. A partnership with a investigative journalism source that would allow students to contribute to a nationwide crowdsourcing project on public school foundations.

Our mission statement reads: “Quill and Scroll seeks to encourage individual initiative in high school journalism . . . and recognize and reward the individual achievements of students engaged in journalistic activity.”

I welcome any and all feedback that helps us better adhere to that mission. And if you’d like to be a part of any of our initiatives — and even to serve on our Board of Directors in the near future — please don’t hesitate to reach me at [email protected] or 319-335-3321.