April 1, 2021

News, tips and advice from Quill and Scroll

The Lede

Trans visibility

Biden issues proclamation; states seek to limit trans women’s rights

U.S. President Joe Biden issued a proclamation Wednesday to honor Transgender Visibility Day, making a clear statement where the current White House and Biden’s administration stand on trans rights at a time when many state legislatures are trying to limit what sports and what bathrooms trans high school girls use.

“Today, we are proud to celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility alongside barrier-breaking public servants, including the first openly transgender American to be confirmed by the United States Senate, and alongside patriotic transgender service members, who are once again able to proudly and openly serve their country,” Biden’s proclamation reads.  “We also celebrate together with transgender Americans across the country who will benefit from our efforts to stop discrimination and advance inclusion for transgender Americans in housing, in credit and lending services, in the care we provide for our veterans, and more.”

Meanwhile, in states like Tennessee, Republican-led state legislatures are pushing back, specifically passing laws that limit trans girls in their states. In Arkansas, the state senate passed a bill that would ban gender-affirming health care for trans teens.

Here’s a tweet from Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee that explains his government’s stance, tying it to Title IX requirements that provide for equal access to sports for girls:

Minneapolis trial progresses

Witnesses and video tell the story in the trial of Derek Chauvin

The trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd last summer, has progressed this week featuring some explosive testimony by a medical technician and video of Floyd’s death.

Testimony from an off-duty emergency medical technician highlighted Tuesday’s evidence. The EMT said she grew increasingly frustrated as she was not allowed to help Floyd as he lay suffocating under Chauvin’s knee.

Here’s a great explainer story by the Associated Press about how videos have been used in the trial and about how both the defense and the prosecution are using it. Here’s the entire AP repository of stories about the trial.

Princeton workshops

Ivy League journalists present workshops for high school students

The Princeton Journalism Workshops begin this Saturday with a seminar on “Reporting Basics During COVID-19,” presented by journalists at the Daily Princetonian.

The workshops continue with one seminar on April 25 and two on May 22. Registration costs $22, but students who can’t afford the cost can work with the Daily Princeton’s business office to reduce their costs.

Here are the sessions:

  • April 4: Reporting Basics During COVID-19
  • April 25: Making your first podcast: A crash course in audio journalism
  • May 22: Managing hot takes on controversial issues
  • May 22: Mobilizing your journalistic skills to the freelance world and beyond

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. 

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.

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?

Pfizer vaccine for youth

Major provider tests vaccine on teens and pronounces it 100 percent effective

The Pfizer and BioNTech partnership announced this week that the COVID vaccine they’ve provided to anyone aged 16 and older is 100 percent effective on 12- to 15-year olds, according to a study they’ve conducted on that population. The vaccine has proven to be about 95 percent effective on the rest of the population.

Still, more studies need to be done before the virus is approved for administration.

That’s the good news.

The bad news starts with a rise in cases among young people has raised fears among health professionals that a fourth wave may spring up soon.

“Now is one of those times when I have to share the truth, and I have to hope and trust you will listen,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. “I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom … We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope. But right now, I’m scared.”

And for teens, here’s some advice on not sharing too much about your vaccination status.

Pop culture

Well, the big news this week is Lil Nas X “Montero” video, but it’s not exactly PG.

Here’s a really interesting story about the song and its video, connections to queerness and religion.

Here’s another on Netflix’s deal for “Knives Out” 2 and 3.

Kindred spirit

World-renowned sports writer covers high school girls’ basketball team in Illinois

Dave Kindred has covered more than 50 Super Bowls, about that many Wimbledon tennis championships and World Series, and countless other major sporting events in his long career for various media.

So why’s he covering the Morton High School girls’ basketball team close to his log cabin in Illinois? CBS’s “60 Minutes” answered that question just this past week.

Just A Thought

Supremes to hear f-word

Top court will determine if schools can punish students for off-campus speech

Later this month, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case, Mahanoy School District v. B.L., that will test the limits of free speech for student journalists — even though the original case involved a cheerleader who used the f-word on social media to address her school principal.

After trying out and not making her high school’s varsity cheerleading squad four years ago, a student at Mahanoy (Pennsylvania) High School wrote a profanity-laced Snapchat post that was originally seen by 250 people. Her coaches and school administrators determined that she had violated a junior varsity cheer policy, so they suspended her from the team.

She sued. And she won in district court, where a judge said her First Amendment rights were violated by the school’s policy. An appeals court affirmed that ruling on appeal. The case that the Supreme Court will hear on April 28 is the district’s final appeal of that lower court ruling.

Here’s a wonderful opinion from Frank LoMonte, the former executive director at the Student Press Law Center and the current director of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida.

Full disclosure: Quill and Scroll is one of eight amici curiae in the case, along with the SPLC, the Center for Scholastic Journalism, the National Scholastic Journalism Association and others.