February 25, 2021

News, tips and advice from Quill and Scroll

The Lede

First single-dose vaccine

Johnson & Johnson shot proves effective and is now in FDA approval process

Photo by Hakan Nural on Unsplash

An analysis released Wednesday by U.S. Federal Drug Administration regulators indicates strong protection against developing severe cases of COVID-19.

The shot would be the United States’ third COVID vaccine and first single shot vaccine. So far, 44.5 million Americans have received at least one dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, while 20 million Americans have received both doses of the vaccines.

Pfizer and Moderna have stated they expect to provide nearly 220 million vaccines to the United States by the end of March compared to the 75 million doses that have already been provided.

If the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved, they expect to release 2 million vaccines in its first week and 20 million vaccines by the end of March.

If the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved, it may contribute to an influx of vaccine doses because of its single dose requirement. J&J is currently testing the effects of a second shot to see if a booster would be effective.

According to the FDA, the J&J vaccine is 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe cases of COVID-19. It has also been stated the shot is safe.

Two other drug manufacturers are in the final stages of developing vaccines: AstraZeneca and Novavax.

Medill students help overturn conviction

Kenneth Nixon released after 15 years in prison

A 2018 Medill investigative report published in the Detroit Free Press was cited as contributing to the investigation that resulted in overturning the wrongful conviction of Kenneth Nixon.

Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications students participating in an investigative reporting class uncovered evidence that revealed the problems leading to Nixon’s arrest for a double murder in Detroit.

Nixon was convicted in 2005 of throwing a Molotov cocktail, an incendiary device, into a Detroit home that resulted in a fire that killed a one-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy. Nixon’s conviction relied on an eyewitness account by the 13-year-old brother of the victims and an inmate that stated Nixon made a jailhouse confession.

The Medill investigative team uncovered the eye witness gave conflicting statements at the time of the murder and found an internal memo in which an officer stated the brother had been coached by family members. Another memo revealed a prosecutor told an officer there was a “desperate need” for additional evidence against Nixon.

Nixon’s lawyers had never seen the memos.

Nixon’s overturned conviction was also aided by the alibi of his girlfriend at the time and issues with the jailhouse confession.

The WMU-Cooley Innocence Project at Western Michigan University took on Nixon’s case. Staff attorney David R. Williams II cited Medill’s work as contributing to the overturned conviction.

“The work provided by the Medill students was an important piece of this case which cast doubt on the testimony of the jailhouse informant,” Williams said. “Having that information allowed us to get a running start at our investigation into this case.”

Medill Dean Charles Whitaker stated the case shows “the real-world impact” journalists can make.

Nixon was released Feb. 18.

Interested in other wrongful conviction cases that have been overturned? Check out this article by the Mississippi Free Press about Eddie Lee Howard, a man who spent 26 years on Death Row after being convicted of murdering 84-year-old Georgia Kemp.

The evidence against Howard? Invisible bite marks “naked to the human eye.”

2020 #AttacksonPress findings

At least 32 journalists were killed worldwide, Committee to Protect Journalists finds

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released their 2020 study findings on violence against journalists, including imprisonments, captures and disappearances world wide Tuesday.

The findings accounted for incarcerated journalists as of 12:01 a.m. on December 1, 2020. At that time, 274 journalists were imprisoned world wide. A record number of journalists were imprisoned and killed for their work in 2020.

At least 32 journalists were killed globally in 2020, more than double 2019’s number at 10.

It’s An Honor


Apply now for Quill and Scroll scholarships before applications close

The Quill and Scroll scholarship applications for both students and advisers are open now on our website! Interested in applying? Read below for information on both student and adviser scholarships.

Each year we award a number of scholarships to students and advisers focused on continuing their education or career in journalism. Scholarships are funded by our Quill and Scroll scholarship fund. In 2020, we awarded four student scholarships and one adviser scholarship.

Student Scholarships

All Quill and Scroll members as well as national winners in our Yearbook Excellence Contest and International Writing, Photo and Multimedia Contest are eligible to apply for our student scholarships. Applicants must intend to major in journalism or a related area of communications to qualify for the award. The scholarship can be used for tuition, room and board at any college or university. The top prize is $1,500, with other prizes of $500 available.

The student scholarship application deadline is May 15, 2021. Winners will be notified by June 1, 2021.

Adviser Scholarship

The Lester G. Benz Scholarship of $500 is available to teachers who:

  • teach at a Quill and Scroll school,
  • have at least one year teaching high school journalism and/or advising publications,
  • plan to return to the high school classroom and media advising next year AND
  • will apply the information gained in the course work, seminar or workshop taken as a result of this scholarship.

Two letters of recommendation are required to apply. Applications are due by April 30, 2021. Last year’s winner was Laura Bowe of the King School in Connecticut.

Visit here for more information on adviser scholarships. 

WPM closed

Results to come in late March

Our 2021 Writing, Photo and Multimedia Contest closed Monday. This week, all 34 categories were dispersed to our judges. Expect a winners announcement in late March!

Help for editors

Quill and Scroll student board establishes 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!

New podcast!

Q&S 2020-2021 student board discusses scholastic journalism impacts

Here is Quill and Scroll’s Student Advisory Board speaking about the issues that matter the most to them and how they value scholastic journalism both as a means for learning about the world around and for connecting with their peers and their communities.

The podcast includes discussion of famous Supreme Court cases like Tinker v. Des Moines and Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier as well as first hand accounts from Student Advisory Board Members Calina He, Emily Rivera, Emma Diehl, Grant Johnson, Jennifer Xia, Mizuki Kai and Kathleen Ortiz. Sylvia Clubb hosts.

‘Taking the Lede: Colorado Edition’

Q&S Executive Director Jeff Browne’s 2016 documentary focuses on first amendment rights at Colorado University

In the spirit of Scholastic Journalism Week and Student Press Freedom Day, we are featuring “Taking the Lede: Colorado Edition,” the documentary by Q&S Executive Director Jeff Browne.

The 2016 documentary follows Colorado University students and the exercise of First Amendment rights.

Induction season!

It’s time to honor seniors and induct members

It’s that time of the year when Quill and Scroll chapters should be nudging their advisers to think about honoring seniors and inducting new members — be they sophomores, juniors or seniors — into our international journalism honor society.

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 in late 2020. It is still valid and 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.

We encourage advisers to submit their induction orders sooner rather than later to ensure speedy fulfillment and delivery. As we get closer to the end of the school year, our order numbers tend to increase. Order now to receive your materials sooner!

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?

Student journalism updates

Contests, deadlines and celebrations… Oh my!

If you haven’t heard already, this week is #ScholasticJournalismWeek, in conjunction with the Journalism Education Association (JEA). All week, JEA has been posting information, hosting sessions, and hearing from students about how they exemplify this year’s theme, “What We Do Matters.”

Here’s a rundown of what’s been happening this week, and what is still to come:

  • Sunday, February 21st focused on the theme of diversity, with the title, “Diversity Matters.” JEA’s materials include a diversity lesson guide as well as an interview with Doris Truong, Director of Training and Diversity at the Poynter InstituteYou can catch up with Sunday’s materials by searching #DiversityMatters on Twitter.
  • Monday, February 22nd focused on the theme, “Why Do We Do What We Do?
  • Tuesday, February 23rd focused on local journalism with their theme, “Local Journalism Matters.” Catch up on Twitter with #LocalJournalismMatters.
  • Wednesday, February 24th focused on “Issues Matter.” Issues can be any controversial or touch materials that are important, or should be important to your local audience. Catch up on Twitter with #IssuesMatter.
  • Today, Thursday, February 25th focuses on journalism outside of the classroom with the theme, “Beyond Scholastic Journalism Matters.
  • Friday, February 26th focuses on the history and legacy of scholastic journalism, including the lasting effects of Tinker v. Des Moines with the theme, “What They Did Mattered.”
  • Saturday, February 27th focuses on the leadership skills required to be a student and professional journalist in your community with the theme, “Leadership Matters.”
Student Press Freedom Day – February 26th

Friday, February 26th is also Student Press Freedom Day conducted by the Student Press Law Center (SPLC).

SPLC started Student Press Freedom day in 2019 with the goals to: 

  1. Raise awareness of the work and impact of student journalist in their communities
  2. Highlight challenges of scholastic journalism
  3. Showcase the contributions of journalism education

This year, their theme is, “Journalism Against the Odds.” The theme focuses on the incredible work of student journalists over the past year despite being faced with many challenges. Keep up with SPLC on Twitter with #StudentPressFreedom.

Of the resources provided this year, you can participate in a Student Journalism Forum on February 25th at 8 p.m. EST. The forum will be a town hall conversation regarding student press freedom, overcoming obstacles and how to best strengthen student press freedom in the future. Make sure to register before the event with this link.

Want more information on Student Press Freedom? Check out the resources below relating to:

SPLC is also sponsoring the screening of the documentary “Raise your Voice,” which follows student journalists at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after the mass school shooting in Parkland, FL in 2018. The documentary grapples with free speech history, connecting Parkland students to the history of young voices and social movements.

The documentary is available for free screening from February 25th – February 27th with registration.

Spring National High School Journalism Convention registration open

The JEA/National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) Spring National High School Journalism Convention registration is now open! Because the convention is virtual this year, teachers and students have access to convention materials from March 15 – May 15.

Key note speakers include Juanita Ceballos, the producer of “Vice News Tonight,” Brian Rosenthal, investigative reporter for “The New York Times” and Rob Curley, editor of the “Spokesman-Review.”

Early bird registration rates are available until March 1. The last day to register and access convention materials is May 15.

The convention includes contests like NSPA’s “Best of Show,” “Staff Recognition,” and individual competitions. You can also apply for registration scholarships for the convention.

Spider-Man: third Holland movie title released

Teaser video features three stars of the franchise

To most people, movie titles aren’t a big deal. You know a movie is coming… so what’s the big fuss over the title?

Well, if you’re a Spider-Man fan, it kind of is.

The latest (ninth?) movie installment following Spider-Man – the third featuring Tom Holland as its lead – will be released in December of 2021.

Yesterday, the three stars of the movie – Tom Holland, Zendaya and Jacob Batalon all shared conjunctive posts on Instagram revealing the title for the third installment. However, it doesn’t seem like the three stars were on the same page.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Zendaya (@zendaya)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Jacob Batalon (@lifeisaloha)

Well, today, Marvel decided to clear things up for fans with a teaser trailer.

We present: Spider-Man: No Way Home.

If you’re an avid Marvel fan, you’ll also know that Marvel announced the premiere of “Loki,” a Disney Plus feature following the brother of the god of thunder (Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth), Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston) after the events of “Avengers: End Game.”

“Loki” will premiere on Disney Plus in June. Watch the trailer below.

Wild sheep rescued in Australia

Wait – can they roam free?

You may have woken up Wednesday morning to pictures of a very, hairy, sheep trending on your Twitter feed.

Well, his name is Baarack, and it is believed that he was once a domesticated sheep because of a mark left by an ear tag. The tag, however, had been removed due to the thick amount of fleece on the sheep.

Sheep shearing has been debated heavily within the animal rights community: visuals have surfaced of some owners mistreating their sheep during the shearing process. However, sheep shearing is absolutely necessary to maintain the health and safety of wooled, domesticated sheep. If a sheep is left unsheared, the sheep may overheat during summer months, deal with health problems due to the trapping of waste in the thick coat, lead to pest exposure and can hurt the sheep.

When Baarack was rescued, he had over 35 kilograms (that’s 78 pounds!) of wool on his body. It had prevented him from being able to see properly and gain weight (although, his access to food in the wild may have contributed to this).

Baarack is being cared for at Edgar’s Mission, a farm sanctuary in Lancefield, Australia.

Just A Thought

HBCU newspaper editors on reporting Black news

Student Press Law Center interviews Oyin Adedoyin, EIC of the ‘Morgan State University Spokesman’

Check out the SPLC’s interview with Oyin Adedoyin, Editor-in-Chief at Morgan State University’s “Spokesman” regarding the importance of Black student journalists reporting Black news. This is part one of SPLC’s interview series focusing on this topic.

Interview by Alexis Mason, Outreach and Operations Manager at the Student Press Law Center

You may read it all here.

But here’s the last question and a poignant answer.

AM: Last question. When you thought about becoming a journalist, when you were younger, what if anything, has been better than you imagined It would be?

OA: My idea of journalism back then was the idea of this female fashion columnist writing about her love life, very Sex in the City—Carrie Bradshaw esque idea. Which as a young girl, that was so cool. Like, she gets to write about her life, and then it’s published—everybody reads it. But real journalism is so much better than that. It’s so much more than that. It’s writing about other people. It’s how other people’s lives are important, and it’s relating to someone who might not even feel like their opinion matters for whatever reason. Bringing that into light fuels me, and it’s so much more than I thought that it would.