February 21, 2020

News, tips and advice from Quill and Scroll

The Lede

Coronavirus outbreak spikes in South Korea

The coronavirus outbreak, which began in mainland China December, has been elevated to over 75,000 cases, according to Chinese officials. Of those cases, a new spike in confirmed South Korean infections has cropped up, tied to what The New York Times calls a “secretive church.” The members of the church account for two-thirds of the new infections in the country. The Shincheonji Church of Jesus, which mainstream South Korean churches consider a cult, had 400 of its members report potential symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

The South Korean government shut down kindergartens, nursing homes and community centers in an effort to contain the outbreak there and limit its spread, which health officials think can be possibly transmitted through the air.

So what is this virus?

The coronavirus is “a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases,” according to the World Health Organization. CNN reports that misinformation has led to racist and xenophobic attacks against Asian people in the United States, according to their contact with sociologists and Asian-Americans.

The new virus that originated in Wuhan, China, has never before been encountered. The virus has largely affected those with weak immune systems, turning pneumonia into organ failure. Antibiotics have no effect on viruses. Antiviral drugs against the flu will not work, as health officials have found. Recovery depends on the strength of the immune system, according to The Guardian.

Read more about the live updates on the coronavirus outbreak here. Also, check back with us later, as our director will be releasing a message for our members in Asia.

New Mexico sues Google over monitoring children’s internet usage

The New Mexico attorney general sued Google Thursday relating to allegations that the company violated state and federal laws by collecting children’s personal data. The claim states that Google violated the state’s

Photo by Benjamin Dada on Unsplash

Unfair Practices Act and the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The federal act requires websites to gain parental consent to collect general information from online users under the age of 13.

The lawsuit specifically refers to Google for Education, an online offshoot of Google that, “transforms how educators and students learn, work, and innovate together with free, secure tools,” according to Google for Education.

The state is arguing that Google attempts to bypass the Unfair Practices Act and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by secretly collecting information from users of Google for Education.

Prior to this lawsuit, Google previously settled with the Federal Trade Commission and New York on a $170 million deal to dismiss allegations that Google collected children’s information on YouTube without parental consent.

Google has not commented yet on the New Mexico lawsuit. Read more about the story here.

It’s An Honor

Nominate students now for Quill and Scroll Honors

It’s never too early to submit your school’s nominations for Quill and Scroll induction! Student memberships are coveted honors that award the top achievers in student journalism. Nominate your sophomores through seniors today!

As the spring semester continues, orders pour through our doors. Complete your orders for graduation cords and pins now to ensure quick fulfillment. We have both member and nonmember awards available.

Former Q&S Executive Director posing for a portrait.

Former Q&S Executive Director posing for a portrait

Chapter of the Year

Quill and Scroll will award its first Vanessa Shelton Chapter of the Year honor to a deserving chapter this year. The application process is simple and free, so there’s no reason not to enter. Here’s a link to the page describing the award. It’s also where you’ll find the entry form to apply before April 1.

The 2020 Vanessa Shelton Chapter of the Year will receive:

  • A trophy signifying the winning chapter’s achievement.
  • One student from the chapter will be awarded a spot on the Quill and Scroll Student Advisory Board for the coming year.
  • Memberships for five eligible staff members —including five pins and honor cords — in Quill and Scroll for qualifying students from the school (A $160 value).

WPM Contest wraps up

Quill and Scroll received more than 2,600 entries from high school journalists in five countries in the 2020 Writing, Photo and Multimedia Contest. Entries were forwarded to judges on Feb. 10, and they’ll be returned to us by mid-March, when we hope to announce all the winners. Ten percent of all entries are guaranteed to earn at least honorable mention, and the students who worked on those entries are then eligible to apply for our Q&S scholarships.

Not too early to apply for Q&S scholarships

The scholarship forms for both students and advisers are open now.

For students, scholarships can be used for tuition, room and board at any college or university. Recipients must major in journalism or a related area of communications. Members and students who earned a national award in our Yearbook Contest or our WPM Contest (above) are eligible to apply.

For advisers, Q&S identifies and rewards experienced journalism teachers and publication advisers who seek the opportunity to upgrade their journalism skills, teaching methodologies and advising techniques.

The scholarship forms for application are open until April 15 (advisers) and May 10 (students).

News Media Evaluation up next!

The News Media Evaluation provides media staffs a one-of-a-kind self-assessment, thorough analysis and rating of your publication(s), with constructive comments and suggestions for improvement from qualified evaluators. The evaluation exercise and feedback are instructive and developmental. The ratings are motivational. High schools and junior high schools may enter their multimedia news operations, newspapers, news magazines and/or online news sites until June 15, 2020. Entries and ratings are returned in September 2020. This service is open to non-member schools as well as member schools. Entry forms are available now on our website

You have four choices for submission:

  1. COMPREHENSIVE NEWS MULTIMEDIA. Do you have a news magazine, a website and social media associated with both? Submit multiple media — including three issues of a printed publication and URLs for digital and social media — for a full evaluation of your entire news and journalism programs. These critiques include extensive comments from your evaluator. (Fee is $150 for a comprehensive evaluation.)
  2. COMPREHENSIVE SINGLE NEWS MEDIUM. Submit three issues from 2019-2020 of a single medium (newspaper, news magazine or online news site) for a full evaluation. These critiques include extensive comments from your evaluator. (Fee is $80 per medium.)
  3. RATINGS ONLY MULTIMEDIA. Submit your multimedia news operation — including three issues of a printed publication and URLs for digital and social media — for a ratings-only evaluation ($80). These critiques include no comments from your evaluator. (Fee is $80.)
  4. RATINGS ONLY SINGLE NEWS MEDIUM. Submit three issues from 2019-2020 of a single medium (newspaper, news magazine or online news site) for a ratings-only evaluation. These critiques include no comments from your evaluator. (Fee is $55.)

All entries are eligible to be considered for the top rating, the Gallup Award. Read about how to be evaluated here.

What’s Viral?

South Dakota lacking in public school funding

South Dakota state law requires that public education funding rises 2 percent per year to combat inflation, but the governor has not proposed any increase in funding for the coming school year. If state lawmakers do not propose a budget increase, state education funding will fall below the necessary budget, leading to cuts.

A half-cent sales tax act was passed in 2016 to support the budget increase caused by inflation. However, South Dakota Education Association President Mary McCorkle said the increase needs to be sustained in the future. Public education funding was cut 8 percent after the Great Recession. Funding was never regained, causing education budget cuts that directly affected students, teachers and communities.

State education officials want to defeat Senate Bill 147, which would deny collective bargaining for higher education professionals. This change would eliminate the possibility for college professors to argue their salaries, which already remain lower than the majority of state minimums. A similar proposal was defeated two years prior.

State educators are also asking lawmakers to change the eligibility date for children entering kindergarten from Sep. 1 to Aug. 1. Educators propose this would allow more children to be five-years-old upon entering kindergarten, encouraging social and emotional development.

Read more about this topic here.

‘Skull Breaker Challenge’ goes viral on TikTok for dangerous reasons

From dance videos like The Renegade and “Say So” to “I Can Put it in a Bun challenges, TikTok is not unfamiliar to viral trends. After a new trend called the “Skull Breaker Challenge” went viral last week, parents and doctors are warning TikTok users not to attempt the dangerous prank.

The prank takes an unsuspecting participant and places them in between two knowing participants. When instructed to jump in the air, the knowing participants kick inward, causing the middle participant to fall and potentially injure themselves. The prank first went viral in Spain. The video features the unknowing participant falling to the ground flat, with no body protection.

An Arizona child was left with a head injury, stitches in his face and severe cuts to his mouth after falling victim to the prank.

“He landed hard flat on his back and head. As he struggled to get up, he lost consciousness. He fell forward landing on his face,” mother Valerie Hodson said. “The school monitor ran to his side, all the while the two boys were snickering and laughing as his stiff unconscious body lay on the asphalt.”

After a 16-year-old in Florida was involved in the prank, her family intends to take legal action against her school district, Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The district said in a statement: “Parents are urged to speak with their children about the responsible use of social media, and to remind them that respect and empathy for others is far more important than any online trend.”

After a 12-year-old Alabama boy was injured in result of the prank, an Ozark police lieutenant said, “If the prank is deemed reckless and somebody get hurt because of it, they can face assault charges.”

Read more here.

Kids reflect on what Black History Month means to them

A school in St. Paul, Minnesota has a 100 percent African and African-American population of students. St. Peter Claver Catholic School students of all ages were asked what Black History Month means to them by a local news station.

Some students reflect on the work of their ancestors, saying it inspires them to work harder and achieve their goals. Others reflect on the matter of equality, while some students discuss famous African and African-American activists that worked toward equality. Watch the video below to hear their stories.

Just A Thought

Jia Tolentino and “the engine of self delusion”

Q&S journalist Nichole Shaw sits down with Jia Tolentino, author and staff writer at The New Yorker, to talk about Tolentino’s book Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-delusion.

Tolentino was inducted into Quill & Scroll during her stint as editor of her high school newspaper at a Christian school in Houston, Texas in the late 2000s.

In her interview with THE SOURCE, Tolentino discusses her book, vaping, the #MeToo movement, writing while listening to music, and cheerleading.

The interview was conducted in the Dey House, which is the home of world-famous Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and where Tolentino is a Writer-in-Residence for the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing.