March 18, 2021

News, tips and advice from Quill and Scroll

The Lede

Anti-Asian bigotry

Mass shooting in Atlanta raises ugly specter of hate crimes

A Georgia man has been charged with killing eight people in series of attacks on three Georgia massage parlors. Because the victims were Asian-Americans, the killings have created fear among the Asian-American community, not just in Atlanta, but around the U.S.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones used this Twitter thread on Wednesday to help explain the history behind anti-Asian bigotry in the U.S.

Abolitionist newspaper re-launches

With help from student journalists, ‘The Emancipator’ hopes to ‘hasten racial justice’

The Boston Globe” and Boston University Center for Antiracist Research are teaming up to launch “The Emancipator,” a call and tribute to early abolitionist newspapers popular in the 19th century. The aim of the paper is hopes to reframe the national conversation around racism to “hasten racial justice.”

In a press release, founders stated, “The Emancipator will be reimagined for today to amplify critical voices, ideas, debates, and evidence-based opinion in an effort to hasten racial justice.”

“The Emancipator” was originally founded in 1820 as an abolitionist newspaper magazine focused on the fight to abolish slavery and move closer to racial equality. Now, it will launch online later this year with different, but similar, hopes around the national conversation around race.

The publication plans to produce opinion journalism pieces from experts, community voices and student journalists. The project will also include a biweekly newsletter titled, “Unbound.”

Nebraska student fights censorship

Local newspaper publishes story after school censors article

Sophia Walsh, a senior at North Platte High School in North Platte, Nebraska, turned to her local newspaper to publish a story on Confederate flags and racism after school officials attempted to censor her story.

After another student stole a Confederate flag from the truck bed of another student at North Platte, Walsh decided to pursue a story on racism and Confederate flags at the school. She interviewed Jessica Mathieu, the student who originally stole the flag, other students across campus – including students who owned and displayed Confederate flags – and school administrators.

The article was submitted to school Principal Scott Siegel for review before she was allowed to publish the article in the school’s newspaper, The Bulldogger. After one round of revision, Walsh no longer received any feedback or approval of publication for the article. Newspaper adviser Lori Larson meant with Siegel and became reluctant to publish the story, claiming it was “no longer timely.”

After the article had received no traction, Walsh contacted editor-in-chief of local newspaper, “The North Platte Bulletin” about publication. Her article, “When the Confederate flags fly, people talk,” was published on Oct. 10.

The article resulted in the start of a petition for removal of Confederate flags from school property, gaining 500 signatures. The petition was dismissed by the administration as an attempt for censorship.

Students were able to fly the Confederate flag, but Walsh was not able to publish her story.

As we’ve talked about many times, this is because of the historic Supreme Court case Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier. Like many other states, Nebraska does not have a law protecting student voices. If the New Voices Bill were to pass in Nebraska, high school and college journalists would be protected from the kind of censorship Walsh experienced.

It’s An Honor

WPM Results!

FRIDAY ‘Twitter takeover’ will reveal international winners

Our 2021 Writing, Photo and Multimedia Contest closed in early February. Since then, our judges have been hard at work reviewing entry materials in all 34 categories of the contest!

Sweepstakes and National winners for all 34 categories will be announced via Twitter tomorrow, Friday, March 19, starting at 10 a.m. CDT. Stay tuned for our Quill and Scroll Twitter takeover!


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. 

Help for editors

Quill and Scroll student board establishes online discussion board for student editors

A note from Kathleen Ortiz, Kingwood Park HS Student Advisory Board member

Hi there! On the Quill and Scroll Student Advisory Board we’re working on projects and one of them is a monthly newsletter and a Discord chat for editors to use, so they can give and receive help, tips and ideas from other editors.

Advisers, if you could please send this Discord link to any of your editors who might be interested in being part of this new initiative, we would really appreciate it. We would like our network to really encompass and connect as many editors as we can. Thank you so much for your time!

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.

New podcast!

JEA President Sarah Nichols discusses JEA events, Q&S values

We welcomed Sarah Nichols to the SOURCE, and she obliged by discussing how she uses Quill and Scroll’s eight guiding principles as lessons for her students to share. In addition, you’ll hear about managing JEA during the pandemic, the status of the JEA Advisers Institute, the National High School Journalism Conference and so much more.

It’s required listening if you’re in scholastic journalism or care about it.

What’s Viral?

Columbia University offer multicultural graduations

Additional ceremonies incorporate ‘meaningful cultural traditions’

Photo by Good Free Photos on Unsplash

Columbia University announced Wednesday the addition of supplementary graduation ceremonies based on race, ethnicity and other factors to undergraduate students.

The ceremonies will not replace University-wide commencement, but rather act as an additional event for communities and families to come together to celebrate their individual cultures and identities.

Columbia University is not the first to implement additional graduation ceremonies. Georgetown University, Texas Women’s University and Portland State University have also implemented the plans.

All ceremonies will be held virtually. Columbia is offering seven different ceremony offerings in addition to university commencement.

The ceremonies being offered include:

  • Multicultural Affairs Graduation Cord Celebration
  • Native Graduation Celebration
  • Lavender Graduation Celebration (LGBTQIA+ community)
  • Asian Graduation Celebration
  • LatinX Graduation Celebration
  • Black Graduation Celebration

Tai confirmed in unanimous vote

First woman of color to serve as U.S. Trade Representative

The senate confirmed Katherine Tai as the U.S. Trade Representative in a 98-0 vote Wednesday. This historic vote marks Tai as the first Asian American woman and the first woman of color to serve as the U.S. Trade Representative.

Tai formerly served as the Chief Trade Counsel on the Ways and Means Committee within the U.S. House of Representatives. Prior to her election in 2017, Tai also worked on the General Counsel of the U.S. Trade Representative and international trade departments in Washington D.C.

Tai’s appointment marks a turning point from Trump’s former positions on trade with China. Tai has previously stated China would be addressed forcefully and strategically.

In her original appointment, President Biden stated, “Her deep experience will allow the Biden-Harris administration to hit the ground running on trade, and harness the power of our trading relationships to help the U.S. dig out of the COVID-induced economic crisis and pursue the President-elect’s vision of a pro-American worker trade strategy.”

Tai’s parents are originally from mainland China. Tai is fluent in Mandarin.

TIME features Elliot Page

Transgender actor reveals lifelong struggles, fight for trans equality

Elliot Page took the internet by storm in December when the star revealed he was transgender on social media, his pronouns are he/him/his and he will now be going by Elliot personally and professionally.

Page is a name, and face, we are all familiar with: from his breakout role in “Juno,” feature film performance in “Inception” beside household names, starring role in “Tallulah” and recent fame in the Netflix series “The Umbrella Academy.” Now, Page is the first transgender man to appear on the cover of TIME magazine.

The interview premiered Wednesday morning alongside portraits of Page. The double issue will hit stands in March 29, and again on April 5.

Throughout the interview, Page catalogues his journey to self-realization throughout his childhood and the degrading feeling of having to act, and look, like a woman throughout his Hollywood career.

Page now hopes to work for transgender equality and transgender rights. While not very active on social media, Page has posted in support of the ACLU, who is fighting anti-transgender bills and laws across the country: specifically those banning transgender men and women from participating in competitive sports.

TIME journalist Kate Steinmetz said, “As a trans person who is white, wealthy and famous, Page has a unique kind of privilege, and with it an opportunity to advocate for those with less.”

Throughout the interview, Page refers to himself as nonbinary and queer.

Page’s team has said the actor has experienced newfound interest from Hollywood after coming out as a transgender man.

“I’m really excited to act, now that I’m fully who I am, in this body.” Page said.

Read the full interview here.

Just A Thought

Jack Kennedy

Leadership models for student journalists

Integrating leadership and government into scholastic journalism

By Jack Kennedy, Quill and Scroll board member

I was pleasantly surprised a few weeks ago to discover something called the Colorado Youth Congress. It has been around since 2017, but I had missed it until I ran across this story from the Colorado Sun, an online-only news platform I subscribe to.

The organization – and I assume there are similar such across the country – is a leadership organization that attempts to listen to the concerns of students and then find ways to effect change.

The more I think about this organization, which includes a substantial budget that student board members have complete control of, the more I like the basic model.

What if each school created its own version of this model, with student journalists and student government providing some existing structures to identify and address stubborn issues at the local level? And what if administrators dedicated a regular budgeted amount for student leaders to invest in solving problems?

Student media can become quite comfortable in its role of gathering and sharing information, and of providing entertainment and insight into intriguing people. What many schools could use is this leadership component.

As we see fewer and fewer editorials in the student press – and some schools have essentially dropped even the idea of an opinion section – is it time to enhance and celebrate the opportunities for student voices to be heard more clearly and forcefully?

Leadership is one of Quill and Scroll’s Guiding Principles, of course, and leadership can come in many forms. I am suggesting that student media supporting more civics education (perhaps through student government) may be just the sort of initiative to help us refocus as we move past the pandemic.

This, of course, is close in mind as a bill to provide teaching resources and the specific inclusion of media literacy in state standards and the specific inclusion of media literacy in state standards advances through the legislature. The bill is sponsored by Barb McLachlan and Lisa Cutter in the House.