Nov. 3, 2022

Our past three editions

Oct. 27, 2022  UK prime ministers • Inflation & jobless claims
Oct. 20, 2022  Alex Jones & defamation • Herschel walker & abortion
Oct. 13, 2022  Biden & marijuana • Nuclear rhetoric

THE LEDE  |  by Alex Steil

Supreme Court likely to end
affirmative action

Oral arguments this week indicate the practice may be ruled unconstitutional

The nation’s highest court seemed inclined on Monday to overturn all affirmative action in higher-education admissions processes across the country.

There are two cases before the court have been brought against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. Such a ruling, as indicated by oral arguments, would overturn decades of legal precedent. However, affirmative action has been whittled down in many cases since its inception and precedent has even indicated that it should be obsolete by 2028.

What you can do —

As your incoming seniors get ready to prepare for college, they could potentially be wrestling with an entirely reshaped admissions process. The court will likely announce its opinion near the end of term, leaving colleges just weeks before their early admissions open.

Covering stories about what students think of the practice itself, as well as how it could reshape what their higher education classes look like, will be an important story to tell. Further, you could probe for a deeper question from your students: does affirmative action, which came about in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, have a place in modern civil rights activism?


Supreme Court offers temporary reprieve for Trump’s tax returns

Chief justice grants appeal as other appeals considered

Responding to an emergency appeal by former president Donald Trump, Chief Justice John Roberts halted Donald Trump’s tax returns from making it into the hands of the House Ways and Means Committee.

In 2020, the court said the judicial system could rehear the case, as there are merits to it. The returns were due to the committee as early as Nov. 1, but were paused while the court hears the merits of the case. This move was one of many actions by the court early this term responding to emergency appeals.

What you can do —

While this would be hard to cover from a student lens, understanding court procedure is important, and for students pursuing journalism, understanding the court process is intensely important.

For example, which justices handle emergency appeals? Or first, what are appeals?

Teaching a unit on what the courts do and a basic birds-eye view will help journalists not only in their civic life but also in their reporting to understand the technicalities of how a major and influential branch of the government works. Perhaps it could lead to a great student journalism piece, since they have part of the full tools to report on their community. It’s also a great way to lead into a case law unit.

What’s viral

Musk’s takeover of Twitter is finalized

Billionaire has been in the process of buying the platform for months

Tesla CEO and billionaire Elon Musk, after months of protracted negotiations, finalized his purchase of Twitter over the weekend.

The timing could not have been more indicative of how he plans to run the platform. Shortly after the attack on Paul Pelosi, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Musk posted a conspiratorial article before removing it. Leading up to the finalization of the contract, he frequently mentioned reinstating former president Donald Trump to the platform, who was initially removed in response to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

What you can do —

The finality of this sale to a single individual highlights another contemporary problem with modern media: the public meeting spaces of democracy are becoming increasingly under the thumb of a single individual.

Musk now owns Twitter, and Mark Zuckerberg owns Facebook and Instagram. There are two avenues for advisers to talk about this.

First, they could teach the history of media in the United States — where information were partisan bullhorns and its slow transformation to objective journalism, and now it’s become increasingly taken over by social media and single individuals.

Second, they could cover these takeovers as matters of speech — do students want more varied spheres of public conversation, or are platforms their preferred method of communication?

Students could also examine how they get their news and then examine their sources of the information.


It’s always membership season

Don’t forget you can nominate members year round

Remember, we will be at the Fall National High School Journalism Convention in St. Louis next week, so make sure to submit your orders today if you need them prior to Thanksgiving. By submitting members now, students can be active members in their chapters for the remainder of the year. Also, you can also avoid the spring rush!

> Start the process here.

Writing, Photo and Multimedia Contest opens early December

It’s time to start thinking about what you will enter for our Writing, Photo and Multimedia Awards. This contest will be available starting late November, with entries and payments due Feb. 6.

We will publish the categories on our website within the next few weeks.

Just a thought

It’s almost here, and I can’t wait!

For the first time in two years, we will all be together again this November at the Fall National High School Journalism Convention. 

And I’ll be there, too. I’ll be in the exhibit hall when it’s open and teach two sessions with Gary Lundgren from NSPA — one that will highlight how to get the most out of your NSPA and Quill and Scroll memberships, and another aptly named “Winner, winner, chicken dinner,” which will highlight some Quill and Scroll and NSPA award winners. 

While I’m at the booth, I would love to hear how Quill and Scroll can help support you as student journalists. Don’t be shy! I’m open to suggestions and happy to answer any questions you have.

So stop by the booth, say hello, grab a piece of candy (while supplies last) and let me know what you would like to see Quill and Scroll do for you. 

I can’t wait to see all of you!

— Lori Keekley