February 7, 2022

The Lede

Under-representation in the NFL

Former coach Brian Flores is suing the NFL

We’re sportsin’ here at the Scroll this week.

Miami’s now-fired head coach Brian Flores is suing the NFL. He claims he has been discriminated against because of his race.

Flores has some interesting evidence, especially his winning record as a coach and the number of Black head coaches in the NFL, which currently is one, despite the league having had a majority of Black players over the last several decades.

The NFL has a muddy history of excluding Black coaches, and Flores isn’t the first to notice.

Here’s what you can do:

This is the perfect opportunity for students to sharpen their data reporting skills.

You should ask if the school’s faculty reflects the community that it’s based in, and if it doesn’t what can, or will, the school do to change that?

Having data in your story gives a much more full story and helps readers to completely understand the issue at hand.

Along with the numbers in the story, a good visual is always helpful for complimenting the data. Readers love charts and graphs because they can help the data make more sense.

This guide from Tableau explains how to make a more effective visualization.

Harsh Olympics

Athletes speak out about quarantine conditions during Winter Olympics

Covid-19 quarantine conditions at the 2022 Winter Olympics are less than ideal. Some athletes have spoken out about the food and training conditions accommodated to them.

Some teams have been lobbying and calling for improvements to be made, especially with transparency as Olympics officials are not open with how they have some positive-tested athletes isolate within the Olympic village and others way outside of it.

Here’s what you can do:

This story asks and important question: What is the proper system for mass quarantines?

We all know that when an individual member of a family is sick, it’s best for the whole family to stay home if they can, but what about these Olympic-like situations where that just isn’t possible?

How would health professionals in your area advise the perfect quarantine system? As the pandemic rages on, ask them what conditions are best for keeping people safe while also being able to hold important events.

“Fairness” is relative in S.D.

Trans students won’t be allowed to compete in sports teams consistent with their gender

A new law in South Dakota bans transgender women and girls from playing on same-gender sports teams at schools and colleges in the state. The law is credited as the “fairness in women’s sports” bill.

With the law signed by Gov. Kristi Noem, it is the first anti-trans law of 2022.

The law says that only female students, based on their biological sex, may participate in any team, sport, or athletic event designated as being for females, women, or girls.

Here’s what you can do:

Understanding politics and law is a huge asset to being a journalist because one of our jobs is to inform the public about things that will affect them and their community.

Helping people find out about policy can spark movement in people who want to make changes. If they are kept in the dark, they can never know what needs to be changed at all.

This law is one of many legislative changes that are bound to affect the LGBTQ+ community and keeping up on your state’s legislature.

Make sure you understand the structure and format of your state’s legislature. The Journalist’s Research offers 10 tips for writers who are covering government.

It’s An Honor

Benz Scholarship

Applications open for $500 adviser award

Quill and Scroll will award the $500 Lester G. Benz Scholarship to an adviser who undertakes a professional development activity over the summer or in the 2022-23 academic year.

The award can be used to attend a National High School Journalism Conference, to pay for tuition for a university course in a relevant subject area, or for a summer workshop, such as MediaNow, the JEA Summer Advisers Institute or a local summer workshop in your state, to name a few.

Applications are now being accepted. Deadline is April 15, 2022.

The award is named after former Quill and Scroll Executive Director Lester G. Benz.

Last year’s winner was Shari Chumley from Tupelo High School in Tupelo, Mississippi.

Student scholarship applications will open March 1, 2022.

NEW! PSJA Journalism Contest

The Private School Journalism Association has partnered with Quill and Scroll to honor the best journalism by private and independent school students. This “portfolio” contest looks to reward students for a pattern of excellence in journalistic work throughout an academic year.

With 12 potential entering categories, students can show off their chops from published news or yearbook material.

The deadline for entries is April 1, 2022. Students may submit work published between April 1 2021 and March 31 2022. A virtual awards ceremony will be held on May 15 to announce the winners. Additionally, the top placing school will win free memberships into Quill and Scroll.

Student Journalist Impact Award

Has your reporting made a difference in your community? Apply by March 15

The Student Journalist Impact Award recognizes a secondary school student (or a team of students who worked on the same entry) who, through the study and practice of journalism, has made a significant difference in his/her/their own life, the lives of others, the school he/she/they attends and/or the community in which he/she/they resides. (NOTE: This is not a scholarship competition. Do not send transcripts.)

This award is co-sponsored by the Journalism Education Association and the Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists. Quill and Scroll became a co-sponsor in 2018.

Entry Criteria

  • Teachers/advisers may nominate students or students may nominate themselves for this award. (More than one student per entry per school is permissible.)
  • The entry must be that of a secondary school student(s) whose teacher/adviser is a JEA member at the time it was published, broadcast or created.
  • The entry must be original student work and must have been published within two years preceding the deadline. Date of publication/production must be indicated.

Application Form

  • Please fill out this form to nominate an individual or publication for the Impact Award. Nominations are due March 15.
  • The entry will include URLs or PDF uploads of the article, series of articles (as it/they appeared in print), or multimedia that made the impact.
  • A narrative of at least 250 words explaining why the piece or series was produced and how the entry impacted the individuals, others, the school and/or community. Include, if any, media coverage that the entry generated in the community.
  • Three letters, uploaded as PDFs, attesting to the impact of the work from the adviser, a school administrator, professional journalist and/or member of the community (parent, student, resident). The impact of the work, not the author(s), should be the focus.

What’s Viral?

Whoopi Goldberg Suspended

Host of “The View” under fire after comments about the Holocaust

During the Jan. 31 episode of “The View,” Whoopi Goldberg made comments about the Holocaust that many people found offensive. She said the Holocaust was about, “man’s inhumanity to man” and “not about race.” Goldberg also said “This is white people doing it to white people, so y’all going to fight amongst yourselves.”

The President of ABC, Kim Godwin, released a statement that read: “While Whoopi has apologized, I’ve asked her to take time to reflect and learn about the impact of her comments. The entire ABC News organization stands in solidarity with our Jewish colleagues, friends, family and communities.”

The internet was set ablaze after the clip of Goldberg’s comments went viral, with both hashtags #WhoopiGoldberg and #BoycottTheView trending on Twitter. While many users were quick to condemn Goldberg’s comments, others took her side by calling out ABC for never suspending Meghan McCain, despite her many controversial comments.

Here’s what you can do:

These controversial comments come at a time when issues around anti-semitism are making news headlines. Just last week, a graphic novel about the Holocaust was banned in a Tennessee school district.

As journalists, it’s important to not sensationalize news that covers sensitive topics like the Holocaust, and focus on reporting the facts.

While reporting on issues about antisemitism and the Holocaust, make sure you understand what it means to be Jewish- both ethnically and religiously. The Conscious Style Guide has a guide for journalists about understanding the difference between race and ethnicity, specifically within the Jewish community. The Diversity Style Guide has a thorough entry about the Holocaust as well, including when to capitalize it.

Make sure to be sensitive to the history present here. Your job is to inform the public, not sensationalize.

Shadow Spotted

Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil predicts six more weeks of Winter

On Wednesday morning, the famous groundhog saw his shadow and determined that six more weeks of winter lie ahead. The ceremony was held in person this year, following 2021’s virtual ceremony.

Thousands gathered to view the ceremony, which took place in Punxsutawney in western Pennsylvania. Others chose to stream the event virtually.

The tradition started all the way back in 1887 and has continued since.

Here’s what you can do:

Traditions are important. They bring people together, build friendships, and help us bond on common ground.

The pandemic has changed many ways we celebrate annual traditions like Groundhog Day. While many have moved back to in-person celebrations, others continue to find ways to celebrate virtually.

Talk to fellow students in your newsroom. Have they started to attend in person celebrations? Do they feel safe reporting on events where many people are gathered? What precautions are they taking with interviews and reporting while COVID-19 continues to make its presence known?

The World Economic Forum released an article in which journalists from around the world discussed their experiences reporting in a pandemic. Read and find out how you can still report effectively without sacrificing the quality of the news.

Commanding a change

The Washington Football Team is now the Washington Commanders.

The Washington Football Team, formerly the Washington Redskins, have changed their name to the Washington Commanders. The change comes after decades of criticism for the offensive mascot and namesake,

Washington is the latest of NFL teams to drop their name linked to Native Americans, but has been one of the most contentious in the nation.

The NFL isn’t the only place where teams have taken on cultural appropriating names, high schools across the country have as well.

This article from Five Thirty-Eight, shows how many schools are using Native culture as their mascots and how it’s harmful.

Here’s what you can do:

Is your school included in the list of schools who have an offensive mascot? If so, how does your community feel about it and is there any movement to change it?

Some schools, such as Arapahoe High School in suburban Denver, worked with the Arapahoe people to come up with depictions and traditions that would not disrespect the heritage of the Arapahoe.

You want to make sure you represent Native Americans when reporting on the issue, their voice needs to be heard in this conversation.

This continues to be a contentious issue, but educating yourself and your newsroom on the harm offensive mascots create can help you identify where in your state it occurs, and bring forward investigative questions.

Whether it be tradition or laws, find out why these schools keep their mascot.

Just A Thought

Truth, Integrity and Friendship

Lauren Johnson wraps up her interview of ethicist, journalist and adviser Patrick Johnson

This is Part Two of a two-part podcast series on the intersection of Quill and Scroll’s eight guiding principles with basic journalistic ethics. If you’re a Q&S member or a prospective member, Patrick has some great advice for you.

Part One of the conversation is pasted below Part Two.