October 11, 2021

The Lede

By Lauren White
Q&S Communications Coordinator

It gets better. Really!

High school introduces social-emotional learning course to support mental health in teens

High school is hard. It’s hard for everyone and some times it can feel like schools don’t even care right? Well, one school in Cedar Rapids, Iowa decided it would do something to try to help the mental health of its students. 

Cedar Rapids High School has introduced a social-emotional learning curriculum. Where students will be guided to develop healthy identities, manage emotions, set and achieve goals, show empathy for others, establish and maintain friendships, and make responsible and caring decisions.

Here’s what you can do:

Stories about mental health are always valuable. According to the CDC, one in three high school students experiences persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness. But fortunately, studies have shown that feeling connected to school and family can support a teen’s mental health.

When reporting on mental health, you want to make sure you are sensitive to the subject and choose your words carefully.

  • The American Psychiatric Association says that the media plays a critical role in advancing our understanding of mental illness and substance disorders and how you report stories about individuals with mental health challenges can increase awareness and reduce stigma around these conditions.
  • The words you use are important. You want to be human-forward and not diagnosis-forward.
    • For example: They were diagnosed with depression and not they were depressed.
  • Talk to experts and professionals. Psychiatrists and mental health professionals will be vital sources for your story because they are the ones that will be able to give you the facts.

Taxes — annoying and necessary

Countries settle on a new global minimum tax rate

Over 130 countries agreed on Friday to a haul of international tax rules including a 15 percent minimum tax rate and enforcement of big tech companies paying taxes in any country where their products are sold even if they don’t have physical presence there.

The changes aim to crack down on tax havens that have drained countries of much-needed revenue.

Now, what does this actually mean? The largest corporations will be forced to pay more in taxes while spreading taxable revenue more evenly across countries.

Here’s what you can do:

Journalists who understand global, national, and local economies are given a leg up in the field. However, reporting on things like money and economics can be really confusing. That’s why talking to experts and professors is the best way to go.

Localizing an international story like this just takes finding economic professionals in your area. This can be through agencies or local universities. From there you can talk to groups that may be affected by the new rules like Amazon, or Google. (Getting ahold of them can be tricky but if you get on it right away and are persistent, it’s possible).

Check out this Beat Basics book that gives you everything you need to know about reporting on different business beats.

What about abortion?

Abortion activists in Texas have to adapt to the state’s near-total abortion ban.

After the passing of S.B. 8, abortion activists in Texas have been helping people find clinics out of state. The work of these activists was made much more complicated but they have not given up hope entirely.

Pro-life activists in the state welcome the ban but are skeptical about implementation causing an uptick in vigilantes.

Here’s what you can do:

This story is still relevant. When it was first passed, you asked people what they thought about it, but now you find out how it has affected their lives.

When reporting on abortion, and other controversial policies, you always want to get sources that fall on both sides of the argument. No matter your own personal standing, an unbiased reporter gets every viewpoint. That includes activists, doctors, and community members.

  • Find people who are actually affected by this policy, even if you aren’t anywhere near Texas, there will still be people who are concerned or elated about the law.
  • Use background research  to guide your questions during interviews. You need to know what you don’t know before asking any questions.

It’s An Honor

Yearbook Excellence deadline extended

It sure has been. Thirty categories, including pandemic coverage, and two classes of schools highlight the 2021 Q&S Yearbook Excellence Contest. The new deadline is 10 p.m. CDT, Monday, Oct. 11. What better way to have your students critique last year’s book than by choosing the best entries for the world’s premier yearbook contest? (Answer: There isn’t a better way.)

Alumni Service

Have you ever wondered if there’s someone like Fred “Mr.” Rogers (Greater Latrobe HS, 1946) or Debra Messing (East Greenwich HS, 1983) among your school’s Quill and Scroll alumni? How about journalists, writers and teachers such as Ryan Foley, Barbara Tholen, Dan Fellner, and Chris Barton. 

Quill and Scroll has the names of every student ever inducted into your school’s Q&S chapter. Those names are easy to access from the period 2004-2021, but it takes a little longer to get those names between 1926 and 2003, when all memberships were recorded on cards that now reside in the basement of the Adler Journalism Building here at the University of Iowa.

If you’re interested in building a list of distinguished journalism alumni from your school, just contact [email protected] and use the phrase “Q&S ALUMNI LIST” in your subject line. 

For a cost of $50/hour, we’ll retrieve those names and sort them for you by year of induction and get them back to you in time for a fundraising dinner or a special ceremony celebrating student journalism at your school.

What’s Viral?

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice!

Carnegie Hall has opened its doors to a concert for the first time post-Covid.

After 572 days of locked doors and darkened halls, Carnegie Hall in New York City has  reopened to play its first concert since the pandemic forced it closure.

The opening night gala concert featured the Philadelphia Orchestra with pianist Yuja Wang, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and performing works by Beethoven, Bernstein and Shostakovich.

Is this a sign of normalcy? Is the world finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel?

Here’s what you can do:

What else is feeling like normal again? With concerts and sports game at full swing again what else can be done. Now is the time for companies and places to show off what updates they have made since reopening from the pandemic. We all learned a lot from isolation that we have carried into our normal lives.

IBM says that executive’s top priorities are shifting post-Covid as the future remains a mystery and that the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation.

Find out what companies in your area have planned for the future or what changes they have already made. What do they think is important in the workplace and how have their goals changed?

So bad it’s good?

Diana, The Musical: a campy story about America’s princess

Princess Di was a legend, we all know that, but did this musical capture what she was all about? I hope she liked weird songs because her show is full of them.

“Diana, The Musical”  tells the story of the princess from the time she began her courtship with Charles when she was 19 all the way until her death at 36.

NPR ranked all of the music from  Diana, The Musical” from most regrettable to least regrettable if that gives you any indication about the quality of music.

Weird, satirical music doesn’t necessarily mean they didn’t treat the late princess without respect, but maybe we should have her family ring in on that.

Here’s what you can do with this:

Musicals aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but this is a good opportunity for everyone’s favorite news pitch — a review! While writing music, movie, or show reviews aren’t actually easy, the assignment lets reporters get a break from hard news to focus on something they like.

When writing a review there’s a few things you want to keep in mind:

  • Actively listen and watch. There is usually so much more than meets the eye (or ear).
  • Think about context. “Diana, The Musical” is supposed to be bad. That was intentional. You need to know what kind of film you are watching in order to understand the message.
  • Be honest. You don’t have to give a good review. In fact, it’s often appreciated when you give a bad one because readers want to know what to expect.

Just A Thought

Help is on the way

Q&S Student Advisory Board gets started with projects designed to improve your chapter activities

It’s right there in the list of Quill and Scroll’s eight founding principles — friendship.

With that principle in mind, the 2021-22 Quill and Scroll Student Advisory Board held its first meeting last Monday, and came away with several great ideas that board members will be working on this year to help your Q&S chapter with its service projects.

First, a quick roll call of members is in order:

  1. Emma Diehl, J.W. Mitchell HS, New Port Richey, Florida
  2. Kathleen Ortiz, Kingwood Park HS, Kingwood, Texas
  3. McKenna Hudson, Francis Howell North HS, St. Charles, Missouri
  4. Kate E. Farr, Antwerp HS, Antwerp, Ohio
  5. Dania Azher, Arcadia HS, Arcadia California
  6. Riley Thompson, Harrisonburg HS, Harrisonburg, Virginia 
  7. Aric Shaw, Westlake, Westlake HS, Austin, Texas
  8. Kasey Thompson, Harrisonburg HS, Harrisonburg, Virginia
  9. Dacie Ritch, Richland HS, Essex, Missouri
  10. Caroline Mascardo, Iowa City West HS, Iowa City, Iowa
  11. Sandra Koretz, Harvard Westlake School, Studio City, California
  12. Aleena Gul, McLean High School, McLean, Virginia
  13. Kamryn Bailey, A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, West Palm Beach, Florida
  14. Melissa Liu, Northview HS, Johns Creek, Georgia

Of course, not every chapter of Q&S performs a service project, and we don’t require it. But many chapters do, and they’ve provided joy, comfort and information with those projects, whether they’ve done fundraising, coat or food drives, Scholastic Journalism week activities to promote ethical journalism, website building for local organizations or helping a local elementary or middle school put together its yearbook.

The first group will be doing something to help fellow editors, creating a virtual space for editors to share ideas, concerns and tips for producing the best journalism and keeping their peers engaged and productive.

Here’s Kamryn Bailey from Florida:

My proposal for a national project for this year is to create a network of student journalists who can provide peer editing online. In a school publication, it can be hard to separate yourself from a story especially if it was something personal that happened to your student body. However, having a student journalist from across the country edit the piece, they would be able to look at it objectively. This network will be able to foster friendships between students and chapters as well as create a learning experience from the constructive feedback from their peers.”

Another group will develop a template for helping chapters work with middle and elementary schools in their districts.

Here’s Riley Thompson from Virginia:

Quill and Scroll students should reach out to middle school and elementary schools to get them engaged and interested in the high school’s journalism programs. By getting students more involved, we are helping to create more potential staff members for the future and growing our journalism programs. If younger students were introduced earlier to the journalism programs in the high schools, it might help grow our staff by having more students sign up. We would also be reaching more people and gaining more viewers to our websites, newspapers, and yearbooks by getting involved early.”

And yet another group will encourage Q&S journalists to work on stories that make a difference in their communities and around the world.

Here’s Caroline Mascardo from Iowa:

“To celebrate diversity among communities, Quill and Scroll should organize a campaign inspiring student publications around the country to create local journalism projects centered around a common theme. Publications must easily modify their projects to best suit their community’s needs, similar to ‘Humans of New York’ and ‘This Is Milwaukee.’ Once complete, each publication’s edition of the project will be a piece of a vast, ongoing journalism mosaic. Above all, the national project should foster unity through local storytelling, as journalism is most meaningful when tangible to its readers.”

Keep reading the Scroll to find out when and how these projects go online. Until then, have a great week.