August 28, 2020

News, tips and advice from Quill and Scroll

The Lede

Still Divided

Police shooting, political conventions underscore the lack of unity in the U.S.

Photo by Mike Von on Unsplash

Kenosha, Wisconsin has made headlines for two recent shootings: the first, being that of Jacob Blake, a 29 year-old Black man attempting to break up a fight, and the second resulting in two fatal shots during protests in Kenosha after Blake’s shooting caused uproar and protests.

Blake was shot Sunday afternoon seven times by police officers responding to a domestic incident call. Blake’s family attorney stated Blake was attempting to break up a fight between two women on the street. His three sons were in his car.

Lawyers for the Blake family say that Blake is paralyzed from the waist down due to his injuries.

A video of the altercation taken by a bystander surfaced online and caused immediate outrage.

Protests started in Kenosha Sunday night. Police and protestors continue to clash.

On Tuesday night, three people were shot, two of who died as a result of their injuries. Again, a bystander caught this encounter on video. A white, 17 year-old Illinois boy was arrested Wednesday, AP News reported.

Check out this gallery of photos from Kenosha between Sunday and Wednesday.

DNC, RNC Conventions go on with some differences in platforms

Last night marked the end of the nominating convention for the Republican Party, which nominated President Trump and Vice President Pence for a second term. Last week’s Democratic convention put forward former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (California) as its top ticket.

What made the conventions different from the past was their lack of crowds. The entire Democratic Convention was produced remotely, with only a small few people in Milwaukee to begin and end each night’s program.

The Republican Convention had a few dozen attendees early in the week to gather and discuss the party’s platform for 2020. The platform committee quickly punted and simply authorized the 2016 GOP platform to serve as the 2020 platform.

You wanna do some serious reporting this fall? Wade through the party platforms to see what each really stands for, and not just what social media says they stand for, or what you heard them pronounce at the propaganda-heavy conventions.

Remember as you read these that words like “freedom” and “liberty” and “hero” are not actual policy.

It’s An Honor

Q&S Fall Deadlines

Q&S Student Board applications due Sept. 8

The Quill and Scroll Student Advisory Board is looking for several committed students to make a difference among their peers this year.

Formed two years ago, the SAB has a triple purpose:

  1. To plan and execute a nation-wide pro-journalism activity every year, possibly in coordination with another journalism association such as JEA.
  2. To provide counsel to Quill and Scroll chapters around the world about possible activities for their chapters.
  3. To provide counsel to the Quill and Scroll Executive Director and staff about the organization’s membership benefits, contests and other activities.

The activities should:

  • Promote and embody at least one of the eight lights in the Quill and Scroll induction ceremony: Truth, Leadership, Loyalty, Initiative, Integrity, Judgment, Friendship and Learning.
  • Bring together Quill and Scroll chapter members from across a school and across the world to work on a unified project.
  • Reach out to the school and/or community from which a chapter draws its students.
  • Have a broader impact in promoting the ideals of scholastic journalism, as they relate to the eight lights.

The student board members have the power to define exactly what those activities look like. Q&S student board members are not required to, but they may also contribute podcasts, columns and editorials to Quill and Scroll’s online magazine, The Digital Quill.

It’s a great way to practice leadership at an international level, and a great way to promote the principles of truth, leadership, learning, loyalty, integrity, initiative, judgment and friendship. Apply today. The application deadline is Sept. 8.

FREE Google Tools training from SPJ and Quill and Scroll

Sign up today to take part in a training provided free by Quill and Scroll in partnership with the Society of Professional Journalists. The training is set for 2 to 4 p.m. CT, Wednesday, Sept. 23.

Learn about all of the free Google tools that can help your newsroom build interactive charts, maps, visualizations and more. This is a hands-on workshop, so be sure to bring your laptop and smartphone.

Tools we’ll cover: Google Flourish, Google Dataset Search, Google Fact Check Explorer, Google Earth,, Google Trends, MyMaps, Earth Engine Timelapse, data scraping with Google Sheets and more.

More information on SPJ Trainer Mike Reilley and the registration form is on this page.

It’s never too late to honor seniors and induct members

If you put off your spring celebrations, you can still induct new Quill and Scroll members and honor seniors this fall. We’re able to take and fulfill orders, even as Quill and Scroll staff work from both our home offices and our offices at the Adler Journalism Building on the University of Iowa campus.

We published this update earlier in August. It includes a simplified order form for schools and advisers willing to pay via credit card, and an offer to host an online induction ceremony for your students. The sooner you induct new members, the sooner they’ll be able start planning chapter activities in the spirit of Quill and Scroll. Here’s a link to a PDF file of the Q&S Chapter Handbook if you don’t already have it.

A reminder about cords:

Students MUST HAVE BEEN OR WILL BE INDUCTED into the Society to earn the honor to wear an Honor Cord (GHC) or Honor Cord with Insignia (GCI). If you order cords for non-members, please choose the Non-Member Cord Option (NCD). Quill and Scroll exists because of the special unifying bond brought about by membership and the lasting legacy of the induction ceremony.

And, as always, feel free to email [email protected] if you have any questions.

Yearbook Contest

The Yearbook Excellence Contest deadline is Oct. 10 for all 2020 books. Students may enter their work in 18 categories, and all individual entries are $5. Theme Development entries are $10. There’s no limit on the number of individual entries a school may complete. Each school is limited to one Theme Development entry.

Competition is divided by school size, with Class A consisting of schools with 750 students or more, and Class B consisting of schools with 749 students or fewer. Begin your entry process here.

News Media Evaluation

News Media Evaluation judges are wrapping up their work this month, and we should be able to announce our Gallup Award winners by mid-September at the latest. Stay tuned to The Weekly Scroll by subscribing here. 

What’s Hot

Taylor Swift remains “the 1”

Surprise drop of “Folklore” crushes records and puts Swift atop the charts

Ever since the surprise drop of Taylor Swift’s eighth studio album “Folklore,” Swift has dominated the Hot Billboard 200 charts.

This isn’t new to Swift; five of her previous albums (including “Fearless,” “Red,” “Speak Now,” “1989” and “Reputation”) have also achieved the feat, appearing for four or more weeks on top of the charts.

Swift is the first female artist in history to have more than five albums spend four or more weeks in the number one position. On top of that, Swift is the only artist who’s first album came out after 1990 to have that credit behind their name, according to Paul Grein for Billboard.

Swift announced the release of “Folklore” over social media 24 hours prior to its availability on streaming services and for purchase. All 16 tracks on “Folklore” debuted on the Billboard Hot 100. “Cardigan,” “The 1” and “Exile” were featured in the top 10.

Black-owned branding checks Swift logos

The “Folklore” album launch included cardigan and T-shirt designs featuring the phrase, “The Folklore.” Brand owner Amira Rasool pointed out the similarities between Swift’s album apparel and Rasool’s own company logo, titled “The Folklore”  on Instagram.

Rasool’s New York City company sells luxury styles from Africa and the diaspora. She called attention to the similarities to shed light to a reoccurring issue of design/inspo theft.

“Wait hold up. Taylor Swift, it’s one thing to use the name “Folklore” but we’re out here stealing Black women’s logos too? @TheFolklore,” Rasool wrote on Twitter.

Swift’s products in question were no longer sold on her website as of July 28; all other merchandise is now branded as, “Folklore Album.” Rasool stated later in a WWD interview that Swift’s team has been cooperative and working toward a solution; she also commented on Swift’s reputation as a strong advocate for women’s creative rights.

“I think there’s a larger conversation that needs to be had. It’s not just damaging to one Black woman, it’s all the brands that we work with,” Rasool said.

Swift stated on Twitter that she admired Rasool and her work. Swift plans to make a donation to the Black in Fashion Council.

Universities struggle

Quarantine spaces go viral across social media as students enter hybrid-learning and living spaces

If you keep up with TikTok, you have definitely seen videos of the strange conditions (sometimes positive, sometimes tragically negative) experienced by college students placed in quarantine.

First and foremost, let’s talk about NYU. Out-of-state students who quarantine due to exposure or a positive COVID-19 test are placed within an “isolation” dormitory at the university. Meals are provided to these students, brought at various times throughout the day.


I’m gonna be S K I N N Y❤️ #nyu #quarantine Freshman-15

♬ 아무노래(Any song) – kozico0914

After freshman student Nautica Nolden posted this video to her TikTok account, multiple videos surfaced of the less than satisfactory meal conditions for NYU students in quarantine. Viral fame has, however, improved the meal conditions, according to NBC News.

Universities reverse plans for in-person classes

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), The University of Notre Dame and Michigan State University were among the first colleges to rescind their previous educational plans for the Fall 2020 semester.

Notre Dame officials plan on pausing in-person classes for at least two weeks, while UNC and Michigan State’s plans move the entire semester online for all students. Michigan State included that students planning on living in dorms would be required to stay home.

UNC students attended in-person classes for one week before the switch to virtual learning. As of August 24, UNC reported 31.3% of students tested positive for COVID-19 the first week of classes.

Just A Thought

COVID-19 and the media

Journalists must remain neutral to provide accurate information to the public

As the top story that has dominated every news media outlet the past six months, COVID-19 coverage is key in understanding what is happening in the world. Just like any other topic, different media outlets pick and choose the information they display on air, online and throughout social media.

UC Berkeley’s “Berkeley Conversations: COVID-19” focus in on different complications and questions the COVID-19 pandemic brings to media, healthcare and other worldwide topics. In their discussion of COVID-19 and the media, Berkeley journalism and public health experts focus on the problems of consistently covering the number one story in the world.

Why is the pandemic a political battle? News sources are targeted toward specific audiences. Taking a political stance on a health issue skews the type of information viewers are receiving. Realistically, journalists should be covering the pandemic from an impartial standpoint – regardless of their media employer. COVID-19 is really about health, right?

Ed Wasserman, dean of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, calls attention to this problem.

“We’re seeing info that should be fairly politically neutral is instead being spun in ways we can’t trust,” Wasserman said.

As journalists, we need to look at the approach we are taking to a story. Are we choosing language that aids a certain political thought? Are we informing the public on a new development of a specific topic or are we rephrasing information that we have already covered?

The above video is packed full of information about pandemic coverage; what tools can you take back to your writing?

UC Berkeley’s “Berkeley Conversations”  COVID-19 series includes Q&A sessions with public health experts, discussions on the impact of the pandemic on economics, the environment, regular life and many more topics. View their complete series here.