December 17, 2020

News, tips and advice from Quill and Scroll

The Lede

The Student Voice

Mentoring program for high school journalists debuts in January

A new mentoring program called The Student Voice will debut Jan. 15 when a University of Oregon journalism professor and his students host the first of more than a dozen sessions over the course of the spring semester.

In addition to the mentoring sessions, Professor Ed Madison and his student editors will curate a selection of the best student journalism for distribution to a wider audience.

Here’s a video where you can meet the student editors.

The first mentoring session is set for Friday, Jan. 15 from noon to 1:30 Pacific time.

Interested advisers and students may sign up here.

Students step in to cover election in Washington town

A group of high school students, led by a former journalist who moved back to her hometown of Sammamish, helped steer the citizens of that Washington town around social media disinformation in the months leading up to 2020 city elections.

With encouragement and editing from adults, high school students in the town of 65,000 stepped in to make up for the closing of the local newspaper in 2017, providing accurate and timely stories in a town that had largely been using wildly irregular sources of information such as Facebook to keep updated.

Think about where the residents of your town are getting their information. Are you in a small town or city where the local news outlets have either gone belly up or don’t have the resources to cover the town adequately? Are you in a suburb that doesn’t have its own independent news source and where the big-city media are too busy and broke to wander out to your neighborhood unless something gruesome happens?

Then you might just have an opportunity to serve a larger community service, as did these students in the Pacific Northwest.

The groom has what?!?!?!

Hard times for wedding photogs in Texas during COVID pandemic

Just reading the first four paragraphs of this story from the Texas Monthly is enough to make anyone wary of being assigned to photograph an event, whether it’s a wedding, a school event or even family gatherings.

The bottom line: if you get a sense that someone or a group of people at an event you’re covering aren’t as serious about preventing the spread of COVID-19, please make a polite but hasty retreat from the event. It’s not worth your health or the health of your friends and family. COVID won’t be going away soon.

Yes, there’s a vaccine or three on the way in the next several months, but the vaccine will take some time before reaching enough people for us all to be healthy. In addition, the vaccines aren’t 100 percent effective, though at 94 and 95 percent, their effectiveness is beyond the wildest dreams of most immunologists and other infectious disease experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci.

It’s An Honor

Support for Editors

Quill and Scroll student board will establish online discussion board for student editors

The Quill and Scroll Student Advisory Board is working on a project that will produce a monthly newsletter and a discord chat for editors to use, so they can give and receive help, tips and ideas from other editors.

If you are an editor at a yearbook or news publication or broadcast news entity, sign up on this Google Form to be a part of the discussion. If you’re an adviser, forward it to your editors, be they editors-in-chief, section editors, photo editors or any leader on your staff.

We would like our network to really encompass and connect as many editors as we can. Thank you so much for your time!

2020 Yearbook Contest Results

McKinney, Christ Presbyterian win top Blue and Gold Awards

McKinney High School (Texas) and Christ Presbyterian Academy (Tennessee) have earned Staff Excellence Blue and Gold Awards for their overall performance in the 2020 Quill and Scroll Yearbook Excellence Contest.

The Blue and Gold Awards note the best high school journalism offers. Winners of this prestigious award have distinguished themselves in visuals and/or writing categories in each year’s Yearbook Excellence Contest. Several schools earned 2020 Blue and Gold Awards based on their staffs’ overall performance in the Yearbook Excellence Contest. The Staff Excellence Blue and Gold Award represents the best overall.

Here’s where you can find out all the winners, both schools and individuals.

WPM Contest is open

Submit entries in 34 categories for the 2021 Writing, Photo and Multimedia Contest

The 2021 Writing, Photo and Multimedia Contest is now open for entries! This year we are offering 34 category contests, including four new categories:

  1. Climate and Environment Story
  2. Pandemic Coverage, Single Story
  3. Pandemic Coverage, Package or Series of Stories
  4. Sports Event Story

You can view a description of all 34 categories here.

In order to be eligible to submit your work, you must be a high school student and the piece must have been published, broadcast or run by a student media entity or professional news publication between February 1, 2020 and February 1, 2021. Yearbook spreads may be submitted if they fall within those parameters.

For the fourth consecutive year, WPM is completely digital – this means all entries must be accompanied by a link to the entry material that is shareable and viewable for our judges.

To enter, first click on this link to visit the School Entry Form. That form is filled out by someone representing the school or professional organization and can account for payment for entries. Once finished, press “Submit.” The form will automatically redirect you to the Student Entry Form where you will be able to submit entries.

Payment may be made by credit card, check or purchase order. Visit our website to learn more about completing each option.

The final entry deadline is February 5, but it is never too early to send in your entries!

‘THE SOURCE’ unveils new podcast

Interview with Trevor Ivan, Youngstown State University journalism instructor and Quill and Scroll judge

In this episode of “THE SOURCE,” host Sylvia Clubb talks with Youngstown State University journalism instructor and past Quill and Scroll judge regarding journalism tactics and basics when approaching print and digital journalism.

Along with Ivan’s interview, “THE SOURCE” has talked with multiple WPM and YEC judges about tips and tricks that make student work stand out in Quill and Scroll contests. As you prepare to submit your WPM entries, take a listen to our past four episodes: you may just learn something that will make your work stand out.

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?

It’s good!

Sarah Fuller becomes first female to score during a Power Five football game

Vanderbilt University women’s goalkeeper Sarah Fuller first made news a few weeks ago when it was announced she would step in for Vanderbilt’s quarantined men’s football kickers. Now, she’s made history again by scoring the first point by a woman in a Power Five football game on December 12.

The Power Five denotes five NCAA football divisions: the Big Ten Conference, the Big 12 Conference, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), the Pac-12 Conference and the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Fuller was asked to step in for quarantined kickers, but remained on the roster after the players returned. Fuller scored two extra points in Saturday’s game.

The first woman did not score in any collegiate level football game until 1997; then, Liz Heaston was playing for Willamette of NAIA.

Vanderbilt’s season came to a 0-9 end with the cancellation of their game against Georgia for COVID-19 concerns. Fuller plans to return to soccer after her brief stint with the Commodores football team.

Taylor Swift drops surprise album

‘Evermore’ announcement comes just four months after last surprise drop

After an incredible year of Taylor Swift announcements, she just kept them coming. Swift announced the drop of her ninth studio album, “evermore,” December 10. Just 24 hours later and the fifteen tracks, as well as the premiere track’s official music video, “willow,” were released everywhere.

“Evermore” is a sister album to Swift’s August release “Folklore.” The two albums are similar in structure and tone: focusing on an airy, more mature Swift and deep storylines within the combined 32 tracks.

There was no shortage of social media reactions from Swift’s fans to the announcement and subsequent premiere of the album. They’ve also been deep diving into the hints Swift revealed around “Evermore.”

Swift’s 2020 included the release of her Netflix documentary, “Miss Americana,” her eighth studio album “Folklore,” her Disney+ special “Folklore: the Long Pond Studio Sessions” and her ninth studio album “Evermore.” On top of this, she turned 31 on Sunday.

If you’re looking to delve into “Evermore” I recommend listening to “Folklore” and its sister album in tangent. The two albums are a journey “through a forest” of Swift’s collaborative works.

Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical

Gen-Z TikTok collaboration culminates in production of virtual Broadway musical

If you’re a frequent TikTok user, “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical” is not an unfamiliar body of work. The platform created musical made headlines last week when Playbill, the host to all Broadway musicals, announced “Ratatouille” will premiere in a special live concert performance on January 1.

The concept for the viral musical derived out of a singular video posted to the digital platform: from there, creators across the world posted song, set, character, costume and stage ideas for the musical.


A love ballad #remy #rat #ratatoille #disney #wdw #disneyworld #ratlove #ratlife #rats #Alphets #StanleyCup #CanYouWorkIt

♬ Ode to Remy – Em Jaccs

The immense participation drew national attention, eventually gaining the compilation of songs and scenes credit as a “TikTok Musical.” The Seaview Production of the musical will include a variation of ideas shared on TikTok to create a live-action version of the production. No announcements have yet been made on who will play the rat.

All ticket sales for the new year musical will go toward The Actors Fund, benefiting out of work actors who are not able to regularly perform because of the COVID-19 shutdown.

Just A Thought

That’s “Dr.” Biden

AP style doesn’t reflect respect for academics and other doctorate recipients

By Calina He
Carmel (Indiana) High School

On Dec. 11, 2020, Joseph Epstein wrote an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal on the use of the title of “Dr.” for President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s wife, Jill Biden. In the op-ed, Epstein writes that Dr. Biden should not refer to herself with a “Dr.” title, as she holds a doctorate in education. Epstein even goes as far as referring to Dr. Biden holding the doctorate title as “fraudulent” and “comic.”

Epstein said that due to “the relaxation of standards in university education generally,” a doctorate degree is not as prestigious as a medical degree, even though they have the same title.

Dr. Biden graduated from the University of Delaware in 2007 with a doctorate in education. 

Associated Press (AP) style is the standard for almost every journalistic outlet. Sadly, AP seems to partly agree with Epstein.

AP dictates that journalists should “Use Dr. in first reference as a formal title before the name of an individual who holds a doctor of dental surgery, doctor of medicine, doctor of optometry, doctor of osteopathic medicine, doctor of podiatric medicine, or doctor of veterinary medicine.” 

This guide takes into account other doctoral degrees and states “If appropriate in the context, Dr. also may be used on first reference before the names of individuals who hold other types of doctoral degrees. However, because the public frequently identifies Dr. only with physicians, care should be taken to ensure that the individual’s specialty is stated in first or second reference.”

As a young student journalist, seeing AP style agree with Epstein’s comments discourages me. Referring to others who worked hard for a doctorate as “Dr.” does not detract from just referring to medical physicians as “Dr.” To not only blatantly discredit but also mock a hard-working woman for rightfully referring to herself is an injustice. This also sets a negative precedent for young girls who want to pursue an education.

In fact, I am not alone in feeling this way. After Epstein credited himself with teaching for 30 years at Northwestern University, Northwestern’s Department of English removed Epstein’s web page and released a response to his editorial, stating that they do not hold the same beliefs as him. 

The AP Style also needs to be updated. This belief that only medical physicians can be referred to as doctors is both outdated and demeaning. 

I encourage the AP to change this dated reference of those who earned doctorate degrees to also be referred to as “Dr.”, followed by their last name, as long as the specialty is specified. If those who earned doctorate degrees can be referred to as “Dr.” in academia, they should also be referred to as “Dr.” in journalism.

Note: Calina He is a member of the Quill and Scroll Student Advisory Board