Dec. 15, 2022
THE LEDE | by Alex Steil
Biden signs gay-marriage protections into lawn
Law repeals defunct Defense Against Marriage Act
President Joe Biden signed into law Tuesday the Respect for Marriage Act, which formally protects same-sex marriage at the federal level. The Act repealed the Defense Against Marriage Act, which was found by the Supreme Court in 2015 to be unconstitutional in Obergefell v. Hodges. Democrats in Congress introduced the bill after this summer’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Court case, where Associate Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a dissent arguing to repeal Obergefell, as well as other civil rights cases dating to the 1960s. The RMA received bicameral, bipartisan support after its text was amended to include specific religious freedom protections.
What you can do —
While marriage and Congressional politics are outside the bounds of most school reporting, the rights of LGBT citizens are not. However, this is not limited to national or even state politics. School boards have been removing LGBT titles from their schools shelves in recent years. Even if these policies have been in place for a year, providing an update on the status of community actions as well as the preview for what is upcoming will teach valuable lessons in a tense social period. An examination of removal requests and subsequent actions or inactions would be a great localization topic.
Apple sued over AirTag tracking
Tech giant made a promise the devices were private
After its release in 2021, a proposed class action lawsuit is now pending in federal court is going after Apple for its AirTag product being used to stalk individuals. The lawsuit alleges ex-romantic partners stalked and harassed a slew of victims by placing the small device in objects like cars or children’s backpacks. Because of its cheap price, the device “has become the weapon of choice of stalkers and abusers,” according to the lawsuit.
What you can do —
In conjunction with the news a handful of weeks ago with the FBI Director that TikTok presents a security concern, the perennial question of technology security and its overreach into our lives is again resurfacing. Students tactfully figured how to navigate Snapmaps, but these new developments present to them a new quandary. An interesting data journalism story could be covered that discusses the certain security measures taken by students within your coverage area, such as private mode on Venmo or using objects like AirTags.
AI filters permeate social media feeds
New app, Lensa AI, dominates
The New York Times wrote an article last week about a new app called Lensa AI: the user submits photos of themselves and then the app creates portraits in a variety of different styles. At the time of the article’s publication the app was number one on the App Store. There is a small fee to use the app, but a user gets 50 different options as a result.
What you can do —
Keeping in line with the previous section on social media, the big names in the industry shifted this year –– BeReal rose to the top and Lensa is filling feeds. Yet the irony should be palpable: Students use BeReal to be authentic and Lensa creates a portrait that is entirely unlike the user. Content from your publication could examine how students make their decisions in what to post, or perhaps even what they value as traits in social media. At their core, do they prefer an authentic version of life or an altered one? Some have expressed concern concerning the sexualization of the images by the app.
IT’S AN HONOR
It’s always membership season
Don’t forget you can nominate members year round
You may be almost one half of the way through the school year. It’s a great time to submit members for Quill and Scroll! By submitting members now, you can also avoid the spring rush!
Yearbook Excellence Contest awards announced last Friday
See the website for details
Check out the site from Friday for our individual contests and Blue and Gold Award Award winners for writing, photo and design. Congratulations to this year’s Blue and Gold Staff Excellence winners: Wando High School in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina in our Class A Category and Christ Presbyterian Academy in Nashville, Tennessee in our B Category.
It’s been a very busy fall. Thank you for your patience while waiting for the results. For those who like to plan far ahead, we will open our 2023 contest in April. All entries will be due October of 2023.
Next contest opens today
Writing, Photo, Multimedia category descriptions and submission forms are live
Entry form is live and we are accepting submissions. We changed a few items and added a few categories. The cost is $7 for all entry types and you may submit live links OR pdfs/folders for each individual entry. Please make sure the links are live or shared with “anyone with the link” prior to submitting.
We have added several categories based on last year’s entries and feedback, and we’ve updated the description of others. The intent of Categories 38-40 is to include website entries that have robust content using a single URL. For example, if a staff were to cover a girls’ swim team, they might publish a story, podcast and photo and photo gallery on the website. This would qualify for the Multimedia Sports Category entry.
We’ve also moved to a spreadsheet instead of Google form. It’s a very similar process to the Yearbook Excellence Contest submissions. Payment will be through either our credit card process or invoice through our check/purchase order form. We will need either payment or a check/purchase order to send entries to judges so please make sure to include payment check/purchase order or credit card when you enter your awards. (The link provided on the site will take you directly to the credit card or check/purchase order page for the order.)
Please reach out if you have any questions.
Scroll pause and office break
We will take a little break while you’re away
We’re back, but only for this week.
The office will close Dec. 22-Jan. 2 for the holidays. We will still be able to answer questions and process orders, so don’t hesitate to contact us with questions or even order memberships or other items.
We resume publishing regularly starting the week of Jan. 9.
Just a thought
While most are just looking forward to the upcoming break, I hope you take time to appreciate and enjoy being with each other as the days before break tick off.
We know journalism matters, but know what you do matters. You are fostering many connections with students and have more of an impact than you may ever realize. Thank you for being this positive connection.
Also, thank you for the feedback given and patience shown during the past six months as I transitioned from teaching to my position at Quill and Scroll and NSPA. I’ve learned a lot (and taken a lot of notes). Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have an idea or area for improvement.
If you are celebrating the holidays, I wish you well. And, of course, Happy New Year!
— Lori Keekley