October 1, 2020

News, tips and advice from Quill and Scroll

The Lede

Trump vs. Biden

The first presidential debate, taxes and all that other stuff

Should there even be more presidential debates? That’s the raging question after Tuesday’s initial confrontation between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Here’s what several opinion writers have to say about that:

  • Conservative commentator George Will noted “putrescence of America’s public life” in calling for the cancellation of the final two debates.
  • Liberal Frank Bruni came to the same conclusion, calling Tuesday’s show “chaotic, counterproductive and outright offensive.”

Meanwhile, Amazon removed merchandise sold by a white supremacist group from its site after the group calling themselves “Proud Boys” took President Trump’s words to them — “Stand back and stand by” — as a call to arms.

Taxes? We don’t need (to pay) no stinkin’ taxes!

The New York Times released findings from a large investigative report into President Trump’s taxes Sunday. Needless to say, the findings are pretty dense, resulting in an interactive web page filled with information from Times’ journalists.

The major article opened with a shocking number, “Donald J. Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency. In his first year in the White House, he paid another $750. Had had paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he reported losing much more money than he made,” said journalists Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig and Mike McIntire.

$750 in 2016 and 2017.


##greenscreen The best part is they won’t even care ##Biden2020 ##voteblue ##voteviden ##trumpstaxereturns ##democrat ##votebiden2020 ##fyp ##singer ##whatsup

♬ original sound – Emily Senn

Social media and privately-owned merchandise companies jumped on this number fast; check out this commemorative T-Shirt you can purchase to remember that you, or your parents, probably, paid more taxes than the President of the United States.

Now that we’ve gotten over the initial shock and had a good laugh (thank you, TikTok), let’s look at some key points The New York Times thinks you should know. Quill and Scroll has selected a few from that list:

  • President Trump is under financial pressure as millions of dollars in loans are soon to be due
  • President Trump has taken tax deductions on residences, aircrafts and haircuts
  • Ivanka Trump received “consulting fees” as an employee of the Trump Organization
  • Many of Trump’s businesses continue to lose money

After word of Trump’s tax reports was released Sunday, Democratic nominee former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden released his 2019 tax returns. Trump’s tax information for 2019 was not released, nor did Biden release his tax information from prior years.

Biden’s campaign released the documents mere hours before the first presidential debate Tuesday. The documents showed that the Biden’s paid $346,204 in taxes in 2019 and received a refund of $46,858. In total, the Biden’s paid $299,346 in taxes of their reported $944, 737 taxable income.

Democratic Vice President nominee Kamala Harris also released her tax information.

Voter Registration

WWYSOD? – a.k.a., “what would your state officials do?”

It’s no secret that there’s been A LOT of controversy over the number of mail-in ballots that are expected to go out during this election period because of health concerns brought by COVID-19. Even so, across the nation in-person registration deadlines are scattered. Many in-person registration dates are similar to mail-in and online registration, but make sure to check your state’s voter registration website for specific dates for all types of registration.

Here is a list of in-person registration deadlines provided by Journalist’s Resource:

Oct. 3  (SC)
Oct. 4  (AK, RI)
Oct. 5  (AZ, AR, FL, GA, IN, KY, LA, MS, OH, TN, TX)
Oct. 6  (NV, NM)
Oct. 7  (MO)
Oct. 9  (NY, NC, OK)
Oct. 10 (DE)
Oct. 13 (KS, NJ, NC, OK, OR, VA, WV)
Oct. 19 (AL, PA, SD, WY)
Oct. 23 (NE, UT)
Oct. 24 (IA, MA)
Oct. 30 (WI)
Nov. 3  Election Day (CA, CO, CT, DC, HI, ID, IL, MN, MI, MT, NH, ND, VT, WA)


How to find reliable sources regarding elections for first-time voters

The Poynter Institute launched MediaWise in 2018 to encourage media viewers of all ages to be critical regarding the content the consume online. Their MediaWise Voter Project focuses on giving first-time voters reliable and accurate information regarding the 2020 election.

Their content is geared toward soon-to-be- voters – that’s you! – and preparing them with necessary and helpful tools that will help them feel informed and prepared to vote come November.

Here are some of the programs they offer for free:

Make sure you use the hashtag #MVP when you engage with MediaWise’s content! Check out their introduction video below.

It’s An Honor

Q&S Fall Deadlines

Yearbook Contest – two weeks left to submit!

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.

With just one day left to submit to the Yearbook Excellence Contest, make sure your students’ work is represented.

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.

Ten 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”

It’s never too late (or early!) 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.

What’s Viral?

Amy Coney Barrett – what you need to know

Trump officially nominates Judge Barrett for vacant seat

The veil of anticipation broke Saturday after President Trump officially announced 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nomination to fill the seat left by Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the US Supreme Court. Judge Barrett was appointed as an Appeals judge in 2017; prior she served as a law professor at the University of Notre Dame as well as as a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

While Barrett’s nomination comes with controversy, a Rasmussen Report poll states that 79% of voters believe Barrett will receive Senate confirmation – which would appoint her as the ninth judge of the US Supreme Court.

If confirmed, Barrett would turn an already 5-4 republican majority into a 6-3 republican majority in the US Supreme Court for the foreseeable future.

In Barrett’s short-lived time as a judge in the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals, she demonstrated her republican ideals and originalism focused interpretation of the US Constitution. Barrett’s nomination received a fair amount of backlash because of her political and Catholic beliefs and her potential appointment in timing with Ginsburg’s death.

Football history

Last Sunday’s NFL game made history for the most female involvement

Sunday’s Browns vs. Washington NFL game made history for being the first full in-season game to include a female coach for each team and a female official. The Browns’ Chief of Staff Callie Brownson, Washington’s full-year coaching intern Jennifer King and Down Judge Sarah Thomas are all prominent women in football that have contributed to including women in the sport.

October’s must-watch list

Your guide to the spooky, funny and attention grabbing movies and tv series of October

Photo by Benedikt Geyer on Unsplash

There’s nothing better than curling up with your best fuzzy blanket in front of the tv to tune in to your favorite network’s Halloween movie marathon. But by October 5, you’ve seen every Halloween/fall themed movie they plan on airing!

No doubt, there’s definitely some classics playing that need to be watched. Spice up your regular October routine with these new releases:

  • “Enola Holmes” (Netflix)
    • Starring Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin and Helena Bonham Carter, “Enola Holmes” centers around Sherlock’s unknown sister. Enola requires her brothers’ help to find her mother, who went missing in the middle of the night. If you’re looking for mystery, humor and a somewhat familiar tale, this movie’s for you.
  • “Ratched” (Netflix)
    • When you combine the theme and stars of “American Horror Story” with the cinematography and cast of “Hollywood,” you’re going to get the best production value Ryan Murphy has to offer. “Ratched” tells the backstory of infamous literary figure Nurse Mildred Ratched, antagonist of Ken Kesey’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” (Rated TV-MA).
  • Welcome to the Blumhouse” (Amazon Prime Video)
    • Amazon is releasing a powerhouse of original movies all under one collection. “Welcome to the Blumhouse” includes four horror movie releases throughout October: “The Lie” (Oct. 6), “Black Box” (Oct. 6), “Nocturne” (Oct. 13) and “Evil Eye” (Oct. 13).

Of course, it wouldn’t be October without these classics:

  • Hocus Pocus
    • Realistically, you can find “Hocus Pocus” on most streaming services (Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Disney+ and Google Play), but it also gets quite a bit of airtime on cable during October. Freeform is playing the movie Oct. 1, Oct. 4, Oct. 9, Oct. 13, Oct. 25, Oct. 27, and Oct. 31.
  • Halloweentown
    • Like “Hocus Pocus,” you can find “Halloweentown” on pretty much any streaming service (Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, iTunes, Disney+ and Google Play). The movie will also be played on Freeform Oct 17.

Just A Thought

Political Divide

‘The number one lesson in covering politics for young journalists’

In the latest episode of THE SOURCE, Quill and Scroll’s podcast, Lyle Muller, the former editor of the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the editor for PolitiFact Iowa, discusses Tuesday’s presidential debate, how high school journalists can better cover politics, and the keys to earning a top place in Quill and Scroll’s annual Writing, Photo and Multimedia Contest‘s political writing category. He also reveals “the number one lessons in covering politics” as a high school journalist. This is a timely and important podcast for any high school journalist who’s committed to writing about politics. Enjoy.