December 13, 2021

The Lede

Pfizer for the future

Pfizer expands COVID booster eligibility to 16-year olds

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday strongly encouraged older teenagers to get a Pfizer vaccine booster shot at least six months after completing their first two Covid-19 doses.

The CDC’s recommendation for 16- and 17-year-olds comes just hours after the Food and Drug Administration expanded eligibility for Pfizer and BioNTech’s third shot to that age group.

The CDC’s strong recommendation and the FDA’s emergency authorization come only a day after Pfizer and BioNTech released initial lab data indicating that booster shots provide high levels of protection against the highly mutated omicron variant of the virus that causes Covid-19.

The preliminary data found that omicron significantly reduces the protection provided by the initial two-dose series. Boosters, on the other hand, fight the variant at levels comparable to the 95% protection provided by the two-dose series against the original strain of the virus, the lab results showed.

Here’s what you can do:

With 16- and 17-year olds eligible for the booster, high schoolers across the country will be getting in line for another jab. Find where your classmates will be going to get theirs and try to tag along to ask people why they are getting a booster.

How is the new COVID variant affecting your community and are the students at your school concerned? This is great opportunity to find statistics about vaccine booster efficacy and how many people in your city are vaccinated.

Get the full picture by asking fellow students who are in favor of and against the vaccine.

The International Federation of Journalism says that with the wave of misinformation about vaccines, reporting on them is that much more important. Here are their tips:

  • Don’t trust data automatically, check for their context.
  • Use trusted and reliable sources — experts in the field.
  • Understand what’s known and what’s not about the vaccine.
  • Explain in detail scientific vocabulary.
  • Avoid sensationalism and click-baiting.

Going for the gold

Facebook puts pause on development of kid-oriented Instagram app

Poynter Institute asked high school and college journalists to submit work from their newspapers that they are most proud of. Five high schools were featured on this list:

  • Palo Alto High School in California for their investigative piece on TA grading privileges, and features about gender-fluid fashion and student athletes,;
  • Huron High School in Michigan with coronavirus coverage about the costs of going back to school in person and a feature about bipartisanship;
  • Wastenaw International High School in Michigan for features about National Diabetes Awareness Month, Michigan’s menstrual equity and Gay-Straight alliance leaders;
  • Lakewood High School in Florida with breaking news coverage about an LGBTQ+ book being removed from their library; and
  • Dougherty Valley High School in California with an investigative piece about dress codes.

For the full list of selections, check it out here.

Here’s what you can do:

Contests are a great way to excite and invigorate a newsroom. With so many opportunities for student journalists to be recognized for their work (including Quill and Scroll’s contests) awards are just around the corner for every type of story.

The Journalism Education Association has a database of contests open for high school newspapers and writers. Check that out here. 

Keep your eyes for contests your newspaper can enter and maybe add your newspaper to the list of winners in 2022.

One latte with extra labor rights, please!

Starbucks workers form their 1st union in the U.S. in a big win for labor

Starbucks workers have voted to form their first U.S. union. Workers from one store in Buffalo, New York, voted to unionize, in a watershed moment for Starbucks, which operates 8,953 stores in the United States.

Three Buffalo-area stores held separate union elections. Baristas and shift supervisors from one store voted 19-8 to unionize, while workers from the second store rejected unionization 12-8. The third store failed to reach a verdict and faces a legal battle. There, 15 votes were cast for unionization and nine against, while seven votes were challenged. Most of the challenges came from the union, which argued that some workers who voted weren’t regular employees at the location.

The election marks one of the highest-profile union wins for U.S. restaurant workers, who are among the least unionized in the country. Starbucks workers who voted to unionize will join Workers United, affiliated with the massive Service Employees International Union.

Here’s what you can do:

With a labor victory like this one it is good to study up on how unions work and the history of labor unions in the United States.

A labor union or trade union is an organized group of workers who unite to make decisions about conditions affecting their work. Labor unions strive to bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to our nation. If you’re in a public schools, it’s likely that many or even most of your teachers are in a union.

Unions work like a democracy. They hold elections for officers who make decisions on behalf of members, giving workers more power on the job.

In the United States history of unions, early workers and trade unions played an important part in the role for independence. Although their physical efforts for the cause of independence were ineffective, the ideas they introduced, such as protection for workers, became part of our American culture.

Details about unionizing is key to writing a story about well, unionizing, as readers may not full grasp what it really means.

It’s An Honor

YEC winners posted

Our yearbook contest results are final and official!

The long-awaited day has finally arrived, and the Yearbook Excellence Contest Winners have been announced.

Check out our website for the list of winners.

We are so proud of everyone who entered and congratulations to all of our winners!

Editorial Contest winners

Pakistani students earn awards in first Editorial Contest, co-sponsored by Eye on Ivy

Eight students will be awarded Quill and Scroll Gold Keys for their submissions in the first Editorial Writing Contest for Pakistani students, co-sponsored by Eye on Ivy and Quill and Scroll.

The winning entries deftly explained how Pakistani teenagers, much like Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, could help lead the world away from climate catastrophe. Here are the winners, along with a link to the first-place editorials and a short comment from the contest’s judges, professional environmental. journalists from the U.S. and Canada.

Here’s a link to the winning Class B entry (Grades 11-13).

Here’s a link to the winning Class A entry (Grades 9-10).

WPM Contest opens

Enter the 2022 Writing, Photo and Multimedia Contest ASAP

When one door closes, another one opens. The contest door that is. Just because the Yearbook Excellence Contest is over for this year doesn’t mean that the fun stops there.

Dec. 1 was the first day to be able to submit entries for one of our 35 Writing, Photo, and Multimedia Contest categories. This is a journalism contest, organized by journalists, administered by journalists and judged by journalists. We don’t dabble in art contests or creative writing here at Quill and Scroll.

Last year saw more than 3,100 entries from the U.S., South Korea, Canada and China, and 320 students were honored. Here is the slideshow of the 2021 winners, including all first-, second- and third-place entries. Here are all the winners, including all the honorable mentions.

This year’s contest will also see a slight rise in the contest entry price. Entries in most writing, photo and design categories will cost $7, while more detailed categories (Multimedia Features Package, In-Depth Team Reporting, Documentary Film, for example) will cost $15 each.

The deadline for entries is Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. All entries must have been published online or in a publication, either school-based or professional.

What’s Viral?

Seeing art like never before

Scientists uncover clues about Rembrandt paintings through lead analysis

For hundreds of years, up until the 20th century, there was one type of white paint that reigned supreme globally. It was called “lead white” and artists were drawn to its particular buttery texture and concealing power.

Now, a group of scientists have devised a method for studying the lead in “lead white”.

Using a technique called lead isotope analysis, what they found was that changes in lead chemistry reflected changes in history. For instance, a noticeable change in the lead white of Dutch paintings in the 1640s coincided with the English Civil War.

Future use cases may include the attribution of disputed paintings to the correct artist, as well as understanding how artists worked and traveled throughout Europe in the 17th century.

Here’s what you can do:

This new information is still so cool! In the 21st century there are scientific and historic discoveries happening every day, and journalists have all those new discoveries to pull from when thinking of stories.

I recommend, subscribing to at least one science-y newsletter to keep up with new findings in so many different fields.

Additionally, you should keep an eye out on local research facilities and universities that may be working on life-changing research. Most places have a section of their website dedicated to such work and can help you get connected to the head researchers if you are in search of sources.

Now when you do interview experts for scientific stories, make sure you ask all the necessary questions needed to make the story clear for readers. You can ask them to clarify extra and even tell you the process of how they do their work.

Not only are science stories interesting for readers and writers alike, many studies offer great opportunities for some stunning photos to put on the page.

Journalism from the page to the screen and beyond

There are a lot of great journalism movies. Here are Poynter’s top 25.

There’s a lot of movies about journalism. A lot more than you might think. And most of them, actually, are quite good.

Most journalism movies, even the ones that aren’t exactly like the day-to-day lives of flesh-and-blood journalists, are still pretty entertaining. Many perfectly capture the journalistic experience.

Poynter Institute put out a list (yes, another list — lists are fun) of their top 25 favorite journalism movies.

So relax this weekend with one of these 25 movies. Or all of them. I don’t know your life.

Here’s what you can do with this:

For as hard as journalists have worked in 2020, a year full of chaos and misinformation, we all deserve to relax and take a breath. Now, watching a movie is just one of the ways that we can do that, but do whatever is best for you.

Take a bath, make yourself your favorite meal, go back to that hobby you abandoned 4 months ago when school started up again. You deserve it.

When Monday comes again, hopefully you can be ready to take on the week.

The Journalists Resource says reporters and newsrooms can handle stress and burn-out on the job by offering trauma training and peer support in the newsroom.

Just A Thought

THE SOURCE: Episode 33

Covering Politics in High School and College

Host Lauren White talks about politics with two reporters from The Daily Iowan newspaper at the University of Iowa — Editor Caleb McCullough and reporter Natalie Dunlap. Caleb and Natalie discuss their time as high school journalists and all the things they’ve learned about political reporting since starting at the DI.

And while you’re at it and if you have time, check out our previous 32 episodes!