September 17, 2020

News, tips and advice from Quill and Scroll

The Lede

Trump Town Hall

What you need to know – and what you need to fact check

President Trump faced an unfamiliar situation Tuesday night when he was tasked with answering questions from undecided voters during an ABC News town hall. He was asked questions relating to his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, race issues in the U.S., the economy, healthcare and other relevant questions to the U.S. in 2020.

While President Trump’s usually abrasive style was present, he also appeared calm, respectful and empathetic to the American struggle at times (i.e. his response to Flora Cruceta).

Here are some responses Trump gave that need to be fact checked, according to an article in The New York Times:

  • Trump stated everyone in the U.S. owns stocks.
    • According to Daniel Dale, a reporter for CNN, “Just over half of Americans own stock, according to 2020 polls.”
  • Trump states the ventilator shortage was due to the Obama administration
    • The Strategic National Stockpile contained over $7 billion worth of supplies in 2016
  • Trump stated he began closing the US in January
    • States began to issue stay-at-home orders in March
  • Trump stated crime is up 100-150% in New York
    • Crime is down 2% in New York compared to 2019
  • Trump stated his administration will not get rid of pre-existing health condition protection laws
    • His administration asked the Supreme Court to eliminate that law in 2017 and was unsuccessful

President Trump will go head-to-head with former Vice President Joe Biden on Sept. 29.

Justice for Breonna

Breonna Taylor’s family receives $12 million settlement from Louisville

Breonna Taylor’s mother was awarded the largest settlement paid by Louisville, Kentucky in a police misconduct case, an anonymous source told AP News Tuesday.

Taylor’s mother was rewarded $12 million in the wrongful death lawsuit filed against the city. On top of the sum, the city of Louisville agreed to reform the police system: increasing the oversight of top commanders in lower ranks and enforcing mandatory safeguards at an increased rate, said Rukmini Collimachi in an article for The New York Times.

Charges have yet to be brought against the three officers involved in Taylor’s shooting; results of an investigation into the shooting are expected to be released soon, according to Collimachi.

COVID-19 Enforcements

How the NFL is setting a precedent for all professional sports leagues

The NFL season returned to regularly scheduled play time last week. With reduced fan capacity and PPE guidelines enforced, those on the NFL sidelines are required to follow the specifications the NFL has put forth, or risk accountability measures.

Overall, those on the sidelines employed their PPE – but not always correctly. It was not rare to see a coach take his mask down to talk, place the mask below the nose, or delay putting on the mask during play time.

NFL executive Troy Vincent released a statement regarding Game-Day Protocol to all teams Monday.

The NFL is setting a fantastic example for all other sports leagues, but also for their general viewing population. If it is expected that NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers (Go Pack GO!) has to wear a mask when he’s not in play time, it’s likely that you can wear a mask at the grocery store.

This all comes as the Big 10 Conference announced Wednesday they will resume their season Oct. 24 — with strict guidelines in place.

It’s An Honor

Q&S Fall Deadlines

10 schools named George H. Gallup Award winners

Named for the founder of Quill and Scroll and the Gallup Poll, the award is given only to those publications that achieved and sustained excellence during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Gallup Award recognition is based on extraordinary improvement, exceptional service to the school and community, editorial campaigns, and in-depth reporting on special issues.

International First Place Award recognition went to 18 schools. The International Second Place Award was awarded to nine schools. Click here for a full list of winners. 

The Gallup Award winners include:

  • Felix Varela Senior High School, “The Viper Vibe”
  • Clarke Central high School, “Odyssey News Magazine”
  • Shawnee Mission Northwest High School, “The NW Passage”
  • Francis Howell North High School, “North Star”
  • Nixa High School, “Wingspan”
  • Green Valley High School, “The InvestiGator”
  • Southwest CTA, “Southwest Shadow”
  • Lakota East High School, “Spark”
  • Harrisonburg High School, “Newstreak”
  • McLean High School, “The Highlander News”

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. 17 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.

What’s Viral?

Writing coronavirus

A comprehensive guide for proper usage in the time of a pandemic

The Associated Press released a free, comprehensive guide in line with the AP Stylebook with usage instructions and definitions for everything COVID-19. The guide is especially helpful for journalists of all ages; review your coverage of COVID-19 before publishing and see if you fall in line with the stylebook. View the guide here.

Media bias: it’s in YOUR news

Rising fear of media bias present in your neighbors’ news sources

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

A recent Gallup poll revealed six out of 10 Americans believe there is bias present in political news. This isn’t surprising – multiple media outlets have discussed the presence of bias in our news for years. However, the poll reveals one statistic that falls in line with the, “my news is better” standpoint.

Sixty-nine percent of Americans are more concerned about the presence of bias in others’ news sources rather than their own.

“Differences in Americans’ concern about the bias other people are exposed to are particularly striking when viewed by education level, with higher concern seen at each level of educational attainment,” said Helen Stubbs for Gallup.

This finding highlights Americans’ differing views – rather than seeing a problem with the news they choose to view, they find problems in their peers’ choice to view different news outlets.

Tiger mania returns

Carole Baskin fever is back… now on the dance floor

Think back to when quarantine had just started – you thought it was going to be a two week thing, you enjoyed your time away from school and you watched  “Tiger King.”

We could talk for days about the insane moments captured in the docu-series produced by Netflix. Even though Joe Exotic was the subject of the series (with special guest entrances from notable figures in the tiger circles) he walked away from the series virtually unscathed. His nemesis, however, was not so lucky.

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue, was the subject of TikTok parodies, SNL skits and even legal attention. The subject of it all? Whether she fed her former (considered missing) husband to the tigers she owns.

Her launch into stardom landed her a spot on season 29 of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars;” its first episode aired Monday. She danced to “Eye of the Tiger,” naturally.

What drew so much attention to Baskin during this episode, however, was a commercial featuring the family of Baskin’s missing former husband.

“Wear a Mask”

Paul Rudd prepares hilarious video to encourage everyone to wear a mask

Just A Thought

Objectivity and journalism

Journalism educators must focus on context and identity

Poynter recently published an article outlining what we see as “objective” journalism. In the article, Gina Baleria points to specific instances where “objectivity” is simply seen as representing both sides of the majority white opinion. Yet, the definition of objectivity is, “(of a person or their judgement) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.” Some journalists consider objectivity to mean fairly representing each side of an issue; however, when an issue has more than two sides, where do we draw the line?

Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

In striving for objectivity, we set aside our journalistic instinct to tell the truth. Truth is subjective; or so they say. However, as journalists it is our duty to represent the best version of the truth – the only way to reach the truth is to research the topic. When you provide context to the truth we set forth, it becomes a truth inherent to our story, rather than a truth that may be universally accepted.

“We must teach our students that this can be an advantage and not a hindrance, that our identities and experiences can inform the journalism we do, the interviews we get, the access we have to communities and the stories we tell,” Baleria said.

Representing truths that express our experiences and our identities in our stories explains a different perspective. This is why context is so important. Instead of relying on the opinions of others to be expressed in a manner that discredits our own opinions, we must provide information for our opinion and our truth; in doing so, we inform readers. Instead of weighing each side of an issue, put forth truth set in context, influenced by your own knowledge.

Read more of the article here.