Sept. 22, 2022

Fall 2022 editions

Sept. 22, 2022  Rising food costs • Bad cheers • Tight school budgets

Sept. 15, 2022  College rankings • Monitoring your online traffic • The queen

Sept. 8, 2022  Staffing shortages • Constitution Day & Banned Books Week


Rising food prices hit home

Gas prices are dropping still, but the grocery bill is increasing

With the increase in inflation at near a 40-year high and food prices have increased 11.4 percent during the last year — especially staples such as eggs, meat, fruit, vegetables, milk and bread.

What you can do —

In addition to reporting on how this has impacted students, also provide resources for those who are now in need of assistance. Some of these may be new to locating where to find local food aid. An interactive infographic could assist but make sure to include addresses, phone numbers, websites and hours of operation. Also, how has your school made a difference for those who need assistance? Has there been an increase in those who applied for Free/Reduced Lunch? With the switch from prepackaged meals to buying ingredients, journalists could interview a chef or a nutritionist about cheaper food recipes that are simple to make.

Quill and Scroll chapters could help by sponsoring a back-to-school food drive.


When a cheer becomes harmful

Take a look into sportspersonship

The University of Oregon recently apologized for an offensive chant during a football game against Brigham Young University. A quick look into the sports world, and students can see several allegations of athletes being harmed.

What you can do —

With many school’s Homecoming events happening within the next few weeks, what are the rules concerning student cheering at sporting events? What action plan does the athletic department have in case something like this were to happen? What information has the school already released about expected event behavior?

A proactive story could help educate students on what they should — and shouldn’t — do.

Cockroaches, mold and heat

Crunching of school budgets result in overdue repairs

As the striking Columbus teachers noted, school buildings they taught in were in disrepair. This story again brought attention to school infrastructure and the need for maintenance. Some are reporting they don’t want to go to certain areas in the school because of insect infestation. 

A recent story from CNN included the executive director of the National Council on School Facilities who said the average age of school buildings is 49 to 50. The State of our Schools reports cites the funding gap for public schools also has increased. 

Some facilities have used money from COVID relief funds to update the school air quality.

What you can do —

Look at the physical structure of the school and document the conditions. 

Are students avoiding areas because of rats or other vermin? Have teachers and students worked to fill holes or patch walls? You could document some of these transformations and even include the cost and how the teacher has paid for the materials. Are they personal out-of-pocket expenses or have they crowd sourced for funding?

Also, interview doctors on the effect mold spores can have on students and those sensitive to mold. What about the temperature impact on students? How does the heat or cold affect their ability to work?

If your school made improvements during the pandemic, how did it use the funds?


Student Advisory Board applications due Sept. 30

Only eight days left to apply for Quill and Scroll’s Student Advisory Board! Apply today to serve your fellow student journalists and Quill and Scroll members. Join the Q&S Student Advisory Board for 2022-23. Applications close Sept. 30. 

SAB members will work on projects including establishing a regular communications channel for editors and other student journalists to discuss problems, successes, and coverage; and working on seminars that can aid Quill and Scroll chapters.

It’s always membership season

Don’t forget you can nominate members year round

Do you have a senior who just met the GPA requirement or a student who now wants to join Quill and Scroll? Want to avoid the spring rush? Nominate students for membership order pins, cords and other Quill and Scroll materials and memorabilia.

> Start the process here.

Submit your YEC entries today

Entries accepted until Oct. 10

The 2022 Yearbook Excellence Contest is only open for a little more than two weeks. Entry deadline is Oct. 10, and here is a link to complete descriptions of those 30 categories. Instructions on how to enter are here, and you can even pay with either a check or purchase order.

Just a thought

Many are talking about the release of Adnan Syed, who was freed earlier this week. When Sarah Koenig’s podcast “Serial” released, I remember listening and appreciating her transparency in her approach and commentary concerning the case. The discussion at home after listening took as long as the podcast itself.

As Columbia Journalism Review notes in an article from 2014, the podcast highlights the importance of transparency in journalism. If I were still in the classroom and if the students were open to listening to the podcast, I would probably use this as a teaching tool. We could not only discuss her transparency, but also the formulation of questions and ideas surrounding a very complicated topic. How does she approach this topic in an ethical manner?

Students could also study Koenig’s build of the story arc as well as the documentation she provides on the site. How does she build the story, who are the sources, and what do they gain by talking to her? How does she discuss this?

We also could explore social media and the information surrounding Syed’s release. What are students seeing? What are the sources of the information? Are these sources credible? How are journalists covering this current event?

For an extension, have students then look at their own coverage. How might they work to more robustly cover the issues surrounding our students and community? Have the students examine how they can be more transparent in their own decision making and transparency.

— Lori Keekley