May 9, 2022

The Lede

Roe v. Wade out?

Leaked SCOTUS draft indicates that much of U.S. will repeal women’s reproductive rights this summer

A week ago, Politico published a leaked draft of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that would overturn the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which established a person’s right to privacy in determining whether to give birth or to have an abortion.

Over the past week, coverage of the draft ruling has predictably drifted in two directions, depending on one’s political views.

The left is contemplating a future in which at least half of America’s state legislatures will immediately establish “personhood” for newly conceived fetuses, making it a crime to get an abortion — and in some states, such as Louisiana, that crime will be murder, making both doctors and patients liable.

The right is trying to figure out who leaked the draft opinion.

Here’s what you can do:

Covering abortion as news and opinion has always been a difficult thing to do because of the emotions and experiences that many people carry with them when they frame the argument. But here’s a bottom line on which we can all seemingly agree: We’d all like to see fewer of them.

The left would argue that would be best accomplished by providing free family-planning services, contraception and comprehensive sex education so that fewer people have unwanted pregnancies, making all abortions rare, even if they are available to all Americans and covered by a patient’s health insurance.

The right used to argue along those same lines, but the hard-line right has won the debate and seeks to ban all abortions across the U.S., and if there’s no nationwide ban, at least in those states already inclined to make all abortions illegal, with zero exceptions, even if the pregnant person is a pre-teen or teenager, even if the pregnant person is experiencing a life-threatening situation, and even if the pregnancy in question is the result of rape or incest.

A simple reaction piece in your community would be appropriate, but look for sources who aren’t going to inflame the situation any further. Extreme voices in times like this can create more harm than good, so think about using sources who can convey reasonable and thought-provoking perspectives. Find experts in women’s health, such as obstetricians and gynecologists. Pastors and clergy can help give you a religious perspective.

And don’t be fooled by traditional stereotypical framing of views in the U.S. Not all Democrats are pro-abortion/pro-choice. Not all fundamentalist Christians are anti-abortion.

As always seek diverse sources who represent a variety of experiences, backgrounds and viewpoints.

Just don’t rely on flamethrowers to provide reason.

Milestone Choice

New White House press secretary is the first Black person in the post

Karine Jean-Pierre this Friday will become the first Black American and the first out lesbian to be serve as the White House press secretary.

Jean-Pierre replaces Jen Psaki, who is moving to the liberal television network MSNBC. Jean-Pierre is currently the White House deputy press secretary. She was born a French citizen in Martinique before her family moved to Queens, the borough in New York City.

Since the inception of the position in 1929 under President Herbert Hoover, six women have served presidents as press secretary, starting in 1993. Jean-Pierre will be the seventh:

  • DeeDee Myers (Bill Clinton)
  • Dana Perino (George W. Bush)
  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Donald Trump)
  • Stephanie Grisham (Trump)
  • Kayleigh McEnaney (Trump)
  • Jen Psaki (Joe Biden)
  • Karine Jean-Pierre (Biden)

The last man to serve in the position was Sean Spicer, Trump’s first press secretary. Spicer has since moved to become a political analyst at the fringe news, right-wing conspiracy network Newsmax. He also danced on “Dancing with the Stars.”

Here’s what you can do:

Your semester is winding down, and your yearbook is probably at the printers or close to it, and your newsroom is also focusing on year-end school stories. But here’s a chance to ruminate a little about the changing face of journalism, both in its increasing — yet still not adequate — diversity, and also about the possibility of a career in public relations, especially if advocacy for a position or for a cause is more important to you than a job in a politically neutral newsroom.

It’s An Honor

Chapter of the Year

Annual award for top Quill and Scroll chapter now carries grant for equipment purchase

The Vanessa Shelton Chapter of the Year for 2022 will earn a $500 grant for equipment purchase for its journalism program, Executive Director Jeff Browne announced Saturday, May 7.

“We felt as if the award needed a little more incentive for schools to nominate themselves,” Browne said. “Giving out $500 to help with an equipment purchase can make a big difference in some programs.”

The award was established in 2020, and Francis Howell North earned the award because of its commitment to Quill and Scroll’s founding principles and its philanthropic and pro-journalism activities at FHN and in the school community.

Here’s what the Q&S Chapter Manual says about a chapter’s activities and goals:

“The chapter can accomplish these goals: (1) inspire members of the staff to greater efforts; (2) attract students of higher ability to publications/media work by offering them journalistic recognition and honors; (3) provide incentive for the development of the journalism department and the improvement of school publications/media; and (4) secure greater recognition of journalism work by students, school officials and the community.”

Go here to find out how you can apply before the June 4 deadline.

Membership Season

Member Editor In Chief pin

Member Editor-in-Chief pin (K1)

Nominate members and order materials ASAP to guarantee delivery in time for graduation!

It’s now May, and the rush is on to get your students nominated for membership and to order pins, cords and other Quill and Scroll materials and memorabilia. We’re running low on some inventory items, so make sure you get what you need by sending in your order as soon as possible.

Start the process here.

Scholarships for Students

The deadline for Quill and Scroll scholarships is May 15

Student scholarship applications are now open, and they’re for students who are Quill and Scroll members or for students who have won awards in any number of Quill and Scroll contests. Apply for the grants — which can pay up to $1,500 for your first year in college — before May 15.

YEC open for entries

Looking for something to do after the yearbook deadline and before distribution? Enter the YEC!

The 2022 Yearbook Excellence Contest is open for entries. The cost for each entry in all 30 categories is $7, and schools will be divided by size — Class A for 1,000 or more students, and Class B for 999 or fewer students.

Entry deadline is Oct. 10, and here is a link to complete descriptions of those 30 categories.

Judges will award first, second and third places in each category for each class, and they’ll award honorable mentions so that between 10 and 15 percent of all entries are recognized in every category. All students named as award recipients will be eligible to apply for Quill and Scroll student scholarships in May of their senior year.

Quill and Scroll administrators will then tally points (5 for first place, 4 for second, 3 for third and 1 for HM) to determine a Blue and Gold Award winner for each class. Last year’s winners were Shawnee Mission North High School in Overland Park, Kansas (Class A) and Christ Presbyterian Academy of Nashville, Tennessee (Class B).

Here’s a complete list of last year’s winners, and here’s a slideshow that you can use to prepare for what judges may be looking for.

Summer camp!

MediaNow and Quill and Scroll work together to help student journalists and advisers

Quill and Scroll is proud to partner with Media Now to help students and advisers with the skills they need to succeed in the 21st Century newsroom through summer camp and year-round online resources.

We are excited for Media Now for many reasons. Like us, they have high standards and are well respected in the journalism community. They have similar guiding principles to our own Eight Guiding Principles. And we both want to recognize and further the cause of scholastic journalism. In addition, if you’ve ever been part of a Media Now event, you know they deliver not only on quality of instruction, but in bringing the energy and making their events fun.

Critique forms available

News Media Evaluation is the best way to get objective feedback about your news operation

The Quill and Scroll News Media Evaluation provides news media staffs a one-of-a-kind assessment of your publication(s) with constructive comments and suggestions for improvement from qualified evaluators. Judges will provide a thorough analysis and rating to schools, and the evaluation exercise and feedback are instructive and developmental. High schools and junior high/middle schools may enter their multimedia news operations, newspapers, news magazines and/or online news sites until June 15, 2022. Entries and ratings are returned in early September 2022. This service is open to non-member schools as well as member schools. Here’s the web page with all the information about entering your publication.

What’s Viral?

A million deaths

Into the third year of COVID, U.S. hits grim milestone

Spend any time in most American cities these days, and it’s hard to see that we’re still in the middle of a worldwide pandemic that this past week took its one-millionth American life. That’s the equivalent of the entire Omaha metropolitan area, or more than the populations of Vermont and Wyoming combined.

Yet the NBA and the NHL playoffs are in full swing, and people are gathering without masks in arenas, restaurants and pretty much anywhere they choose these days, including airplanes.

Here’s what you can do:

Is this really over? I mean, nobody around me seems to be dying from the disease, right? Well, 291 Americans died of COVID on Friday, May 5, and another 307 died Thursday, May 4. So it’s not over, and some experts predict it will be with us for a decade or longer.

What are the risks we take this summer if we travel? Are you and your friends just completely over it? Will you take any precautions whatsoever? As always, consult experts and let your readers know what they can do to avoid getting or spreading the disease over the summer, thus reducing the risk of having to mask again or missing time from school.

COVID has been a story for nearly 30 months now. It may be a story for another 30 years. But as tired as the public may be of a topic, journalists need to understand that covering a single story can take years, and that consistent follow-up is good practice.

Just A Thought

Former Q&S Executive Director posing for a portrait.

Former Q&S Executive Director Vanessa Shelton

AEJMC Awards

Friends of Quill and Scroll looking for applications for their suite of awards

The Scholastic Journalism Division of the Association of Educators in Journalism and Mass Communication is looking for applicants for its awards, and the winners can receive money in addition to accolades.

The Honors Lecture

The first award is the Honors Lecture to be delivered at the annual AEJMC Conference in Detroit, Aug. 3-6, 2022. Past speakers include former Quill and Scroll Executive Directors Vanessa Shelton (2015), Dick Johns (1994), and Lester G. Benz (1973)  as well as scholastic journalism luminaries such as Linda Puntney, Linda Shockley, H.L. Hall and a number of former and current Quill and Scroll board members.

Please send your nomination letter for the Honors Lecture to Marina Hendricks ([email protected]), Scholastic Journalism Division head, by no later than June 3, 2022.

Innovative Outreach

The Innovative Outreach to Scholastic Journalism Award is given to someone or some professional entity that has found creative ways to involve more students in journalism, or to improve the teaching and advising of journalism in the U.S.

From the call for entries: “This competition is designed to recognize programs that promote interest and training in scholastic journalism at the secondary and pre-secondary level (K-12) by providing models of innovative programs that higher education media programs could replicate. The ability to replicate the outreach program is a major factor in the selection of the award winner. These can include one-day workshops, online training or summer training. Also eligible for consideration are innovative resources that help scholastic journalism students and teachers, such as apps, podcasts, websites and curriculum materials.”

Please submit your nomination as a PDF to R.J. Morgan ([email protected]), Division awards chair, by no later than June 3, 2022.

Educator of the Year

This award, named after former Fort Hays State University, Kansas State University and Indiana University teacher and adviser, is for university faculty members who have done outstanding work both at their university and in other, broader educational settings. As with the Honors Lecture, the list of past winners is astounding, including Dick Johns (2002).

Please send nominations and supporting materials to Candace Perkins Bowen ([email protected]), Division teaching standards chair, by no later than June 3, 2022.

Multicultural Recruitment

The Robert P. Knight Multicultural Recruitment Award is for any person — at a professional news organization, at a nonprofit organization, at a university or at a high school — who has found new and innovative ways to diversify the profession and scholastic journalism, particular through outreach programs to underserved populations. Vanessa Shelton won the award in 2003, prior to her tenure at Quill and Scroll.

Please submit your nomination to R.J. Morgan ([email protected]), Division awards chair, by no later than June 3, 2022.