October 18, 2021

The Lede

Yearn to Learn?

Medill School of Journalism holds free journalism workshop

The age of internet and remote learning has made it that much easier to get connected to other people in the field and learn from them. This online workshop being put on by Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern is all about improving and honing your skills and finding out what college journalism is like — all from the comfort of your own computer.

This fall the two free workshops they are offering are “How to be a better sports journalist and improve your section in four easy slides” by Melissa Issacson, a Medill lecturer; and “From Emmett Till to George Floyd: Racial Reckoning, Media Responsibility” by Christopher Benson, a Medill associate professor.

All you have to do to watch them is register for free. I promise it’s that easy!

Here’s what you can do:

  • Take this opportunity to bond with your class or fellow journalists, because a team that hangs together, stays together. (That’s how the saying goes right?) Whether it be pulling it up for the class one day or everyone watching it at home and meeting back to discuss, this is a great workshop for an entire newsroom to watch. The conversations surrounding these workshops may spark story ideas or ways to improve the newsroom.

Below is a previous stream put on by Medill from a student panel to discuss their own journalistic experiences.

Country Women Everywhere

Breaking the glass ceiling of rural America

While it may seem as though rural America is comprised mostly of white men, the reality is that women and people of color are a central component to rural communities. Did you know that more than 1/5 of Native Americans live in rural America? That’s more than double the share of the white, non-Hispanic population living in these areas.

In order to help reinforce the importance of women and people of color in these regions, women from across rural America will gather online this month at Rural Women Everywhere, a two-day virtual conference presented by the Rural Assembly.

Scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 19-20, the free conference will feature keynote speaker Diane Wilson, an award-winning memoirist and novelist. The event will also feature performances from rural and Native musicians and poets, and discussions on topics such as climate resilience, rural allyship with the LGBTQ+ community, and democracy.

Here’s what you can do:

Not only is this another opportunity for your newsroom to gain some knowledge from an array of experts, but this topic presents and important story to tell. Cities in rural and urban America need to see the full picture.

  • Are you from rural America? Tell the story of your own town and the people that live there. Why do some people prefer to live in the calm of the country rather than the hustle and bustle of the city? What are some problems facing your community that urban and even suburban areas wouldn’t think of?
  • Are you from an urban area? Do some research about issues that rural areas face and dig into that story. Whether it be healthcare, broadband, or transportation, pick a topic and make some phone calls to find out what problems are caused by and how the community feels they could be fixed.
  • Some things to think about:
  • Don’t oversimplify and mischaracterize the political, social, and cultural nature of rural areas.
  • Try to get stories from people who actually live in these areas and actually get to know them.
  • Don’t approach the story with preconceived notions or stereotypes.

The moral in morale

Low morale in hospitals at an all-time low

Nineteen months into the pandemic and we continue to see hospitals reaching, and re-reaching, capacity. Nurses across the country maintain their all-hands on deck attitudes, but morale has plummeted to an all-time low.

Research done at University of California Irvine shows that nearly 13 percent of surveyed healthcare workers said they left a position because of “moral distress” during the pandemic and 15 percent reported suicidal thoughts in the prior month.

Nurses are leaving the profession quickly and in significant numbers.

Here’s what you can do:

What does the healthcare shortage look like in your area? A lack of resources, workers, and future providers all contribute to the problem. There’s no one reason, but what have clinics and hospitals near you done to combat low morale and retention?

Some professionals say effective communication, respect, and empathy help to boost staff morale, but what are you supposed to do when the pandemic has hit everyone so hard and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

Talk to local healthcare professionals to hear their story, whether they have been at the job for three months or three decades, they have an important view on the pandemic and its effects. What has been weighing them down the most and what do they hope to find in the future? Can any of them see a light at the end of the tunnel?

The road to hospital recovery will be a long one, but for now we can make sure to tell their stories.

It’s An Honor

Results by December

Yearbook Excellence Contest entries are in judges’ hands

Over 1,500 entries spread across 30 categories have been sent out to judges for the 2021 Yearbook Excellence Contest. They will be returned to us in a month and we will get results back to each and everyone one of you in early December. Phew — The hard part is over. Well done, everyone.

Blue and Gold Awards will be given out for Staff Excellence, Writing Excellence, Design Excellence, and Photo Excellence. Writing, Design, and Photo will designate both a Class A school and a Class B school for those awards, and we will rank the top three overall in each class for the Blue and Gold Staff Excellence Award. All winning individuals will be able to apply for Quill and Scroll Scholarships in the fall.

Get ready for NHSJC

National journalism conference is virtual again this fall

Quill and Scroll urges you to register online for the virtual fall National High School Journalism Conference hosted by the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association.

There are many excellent sessions, and we strongly encourage you to dial up a session hosted by Q&S Executive Director Jeff Browne and featuring two Q&S Student Advisory Board members, Emma Diehl of J.W. Mitchell High School in Florida and Kathleen Ortiz of Kingwood Park High School in Texas, both editors-in-chief for the school news publications. Joining them are Jill Johnson, the president of Class Intercom, a social media company for schools, and adviser Jonathan Rogers of Iowa City High School.

Here’s the session description:

B-Positive: Social media best practices
Quill and Scroll’s seventh founding principle is friendship, but in this fractured world social media seems to be the last place to create bonds to build community. Learn from this diverse panel about how you can use social media to create positive messaging for your student media and for your school, while at the same time practicing great journalism.

Fall Membership Orders

It’s never too early to think about expanding your chapter

Don’t forget! Quill and Scroll Membership orders are open year around and it’s never too early to order your graduation cords. In fact, earlier is better in order to ensure supply chain issues do not affect your order or its contents.

Q&S in Pakistan

Eye on Ivy chapter sponsors writing contest for students

Quill and Scroll partnered with Eye on Ivy, a student counseling firm in Pakistan, to provide a writing contest that asks Pakistani students in 9th through 13th grade to write a persuasive editorial essay responding to this prompt: 

Eighteen-year-old Greta Thunberg from Sweden has become a prominent spokesperson for the fight against global climate change. Has her message been effective? What role can Pakistani young people play in reducing the impact of global climate change?

Not many Pakistani students are given the opportunity to publish work in school papers, and thus, this writing contest was created.

Nawal Haidar, Eye on Ivy Pakistan chapter sponsor, was featured in The News on Sunday in Pakistan where she interviewed a prominent writer about his experience with the publishing world in Pakistan.

Last year, the Quill and Scroll Board of Trustees changed its bylaws to allow non-school entities that provide publishing opportunities for student-journalists to earn charters. Eye on Ivy was the first, and we’re hoping that newspapers and broadcast outlets also begin chapters.

What’s Viral?

Black music history finds a home

A new museum in Nashville shows how Black artists paved the way for the music industry we know today

Nashville, Tennessee, the capital of country music, may also be known for its bachelorette parties and honky-tonk bars, but for too long tourists and music lovers alike have ignored the history of Black music.

However, a new museum in Nashville centers around the artistry of Black musicians. The National Museum of African American Music opened earlier this year and shines light on musicians that shaped the music industry forever.

The walls of the museum are lined with national and local history of Black musicians and artists and the creators of the museums hopes it will attract a more diverse array of tourists.

Here’s what you can do:

Of course, if you live in or around Nashville this would be an easy story. Check the museum out for yourself. Talk to attendees and workers about their experience and what they learned.

Why is it important to highlight the history of African American music? This is the question you want to answer in your story.

If you don’t live in Tennessee, it’s obviously a little more complicated. However, your question is the same. You may not be able to take a day trip to the museum but you can call and ask to talk to some of the workers or curators. From there you can also talk to historians who specialize in Black history.

You can focus your energy into specific people or genres that shaped African American music and talk to experts that know a lot about them. The topic has such a vibrant history and there is a serious lack of media coverage, which is why museums such as Nashvilles are all so important.

Media Ethics 101

Adam Schefter’s negligence to journalistic ethics causes online controversy

ESPN’s Adam Schefter did what every journalist is told not to do — shared a story with a source prior to publication and asked for suggestions. 

Schefter, considered one of the best of the best in the world of sports journalism, is now caught in the controversy of journalism ethics. 

According to Poynter, and most experts agree, to share an unpublished story with a source before it runs — and to solicit suggestions on that story — is way over the line journalistically. They said that this is because accuracy and fairness is being filtered through someone who has a stake in the story. 

Other journalists have chimed in on the situation:

“Young journalists, that is not how it’s done. EVER” – Jamele Hill, former ESPN writer alongside Schefter.

Here’s what you can do with this:

It’s never a bad time to freshen up on your media ethics and etiquette.

The Society of Professional Journalists is a good place to start. According to SPJ good journalists should:

  • Provide context and access to source material when available
  • Seek sources whose voices we rarely hear from
  • Take responsibility for the accuracy of work
  • Minimize harm
  • Act independently (that means no asking your sources for editorial advice)

Gather your newsroom together to discuss what each of these things mean and how you can accurately apply them to your work. While there are few rules on what content you can report and investigate, you need to make sure you are doing so in an ethical way. Mastering these skills now can save you a load of trouble — and controversy — in the future.

Just A Thought

Walker Watson

A Friend in SoCal

Student-journalist Walker Watson embodies Q&S’s principle of friendship

This year’s first episode of “THE SOURCE: Quill and Scroll’s Podcast” features Mira Costa High School senior Walker Watson and his outreach project to local elementary school children in Southern California.

Quill and Scroll Executive Director Jeff Browne interviews Walker and adviser Michael Hernandez to tell Walker’s story of “friendship,” the eighth founding principle of our society. Enjoy.