Jan. 26, 2023

Our past three editions

Jan 19, 2023 TikTok bans • Article verification • Landmark renaming

Jan. 12, 2023 New COVID variant • Minimum wage • Damar Hamlin

Dec. 15, 2022 Gay-marriage protections • Digital security • AI


Tax season and student workers

What does this mean for students?

The Fed has announced an increase in standard deduction by 7 percent. These are the biggest increases in changes since cost of living began in 1985.

What you can do —

Taxes are really not interesting until readers are shown the literal bottom line.

For students, this could be what is needed. If students have had taxes withheld, when would they financially benefit from filing taxes?

Some do not know the threshold of mandatory filing. What is the threshold in your state filing of taxes? Interview a CPA or other tax professional about the laws in your state and state U.S. tax law. For those who don’t have to file a return, would someone who makes right under the minimum required to file probably get money back?

Does a class at school show how to file a tax return? Talk to that teacher as well.

Also, for those who need to file, where can a student go to get free tax help in your area?


AP African American Studies course adoption blocked by Florida governor

Localize by continuing to examine not only current offerings, but also how courses have evolved to be more representative

Outrage ensued after Florida Gov. Ron Desantis blocked an AP African American Studies course because he said it had a “political agenda.” The proposed course is a multidisciplinary study inclusive of literature, arts, science, politics and geography of the African American diaspora. NPR had this story about what was really in the course.

What you can do —

It’s a great time to examine what your school offers and whether the content reflects the student body. Does your school currently offer or plan to offer this course? If you are in Florida, does your school still offer courses such as AP US History and AP European History but not the course in question? How has the curriculum of earlier AP courses changed in the past 10 years? Has the enrollment in these courses changed?

Additionally, school media could go further into other related realms as well. Students could examine what pieces of literature are taught. Whose story is centered in the elective courses such as music and art? Others?

This could be continued in who has access to upper-level courses and how does school staff work to meet the needs of all the students? When and how can students get help? Is it only before or after school? How does this impact students who only have access to school via bus?

Hamline professor fired for showing image of Islamic prophet

Spurs academic freedom, censorship discussion

By now, most know by now Hamlin College in St. Paul, Minnesota, fired an art professor who repeatedly provided after a student complained about the showing of an image of the Islamic prophet Muhammed in an Islamic art class. The instructor had notified students of the image’s content. Many have rallied and supported the professor. Including one supporting that supports student media.

Tuesday and Wednesday, FIRE had a two-day mobile billboard campaign that read, “Art Censorship: Where Does It Stop?”

Additionally, the former adjunct professor has now sued the university for religious discrimination and defamation.

What you can do —

What is the role of academic freedom on your campus? Does your school have a policy or guideline for this? If a student objects to the curriculum, how is that handled?

What about other censorship issues on campus? What happens when these allegations occur?

What’s viral

Music double standard?

Shakira and Miley Cyrus both released new songs during 2023 that are being called revenge hits. In the video, Don Lemon said it’s not right to call out ex in a song and cited a double standard, which is seen at about the 1:30 mark. Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins both seem to disagree.

Music such as this is nothing new. Allegations of profiting off one’s exes are nothing new. Just ask Taylor Swift.

What you can do —

Is there a double standard in music? What role does music play in this discussion (if any)? If the lyrics were aimed at someone who identifies other than male, would that make a difference?

BONUS: Of course we all know the Oscar and Razzies lists are out. Is there a carryover to this as well?


Student opportunity from Quill and Scroll’s Student Advisory Board

Meet, collaborate and discuss with peers, but act now — form due Friday

It’s not too late to be part of Quill and Scroll’s Student Journalism Collaboration Program, but interested students need to act now to be part of this inaugural event! This offering aims to connect student journalists from across the nation. Through virtual meetings, participants will discuss, collaborate and troubleshoot with their peers about scholastic journalism issues pertaining to their student media.

Fill out the interest form here by Jan. 27. We will send the meeting link prior to the first meeting. (We will establish this after we have the list of how many are interested. We may offer more than one option depending on interest level. We will update this info in later editions as the meeting date.)

It’s always membership season

Don’t forget you can nominate members year round

What better way to beat the end-of-January blues than to submit Quill and Scroll members. Order now to avoid the spring rush. Remember, we need to have either payment or the Purchase Order in order to send your order. It can take up to three weeks to process and send an order during the peak spring season, which traditionally starts next month. 

We are currently able to process orders within 48 hours of the payment arriving. But this won’t last long. Remember, to please, plan ahead. We are unable to overnight orders during the weeks of March 5, March 12 and April 17.  

Also, as a gentle reminder, our address changed in July 2022. Many are still sending checks and orders to Iowa, which can result in a delay in sending orders. Please make sure to inform your business offices of our move to Minnesota. (Quill and Scroll, 2829 University Ave. Se, Suite 720, Minneapolis, MN 55414.)

> Start the process here.

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.

PSJA Journalism Contest Opens

Q&S and Private School Journalism Association set up portfolio contest

The PSJA Journalism Contest, co-sponsored by Quill and Scroll, seeks to honor the best journalism produced by private and independent school students. It is a “portfolio” contest, one that seeks not to reward single stories, but a pattern of excellence over the course of a year.

Other than Editorial Leadership, work produced for the contest should have been published in a news publication — in print or online — or a yearbook between April 1, 2022 and March 30, 2023. Deadline for entries will be Friday, March 31, 2023. An awards ceremony will occur after judging is finalized. 

For PSJA members, the cost for your school is $20 per entry. PSJA membership is free. To join, schools must enroll here to also receive the newsletter. Non-members pay $25 per entry. To become a member, email PSJA Director David Cutler ([email protected]) and sign up for the PSJA newsletter.

If you are interested in entering the contest, email PSJA Director David Cutler ([email protected]), who will send additional instructions and an entry form.

Writing, Photo, Multimedia contest open

Due date is Feb. 6 — you have about two weeks until entries and payment are due.

Don’t miss out on honoring your student work! The entry form is live and we are accepting submissions. Be aware, we have changed a few items and descriptions. The cost is $7 for all entry types and you may submit live links. (No more creating and downloading the PDF if it is accessible on a website.) If you would rather make a PDF of the submission, you may still do this as well. Please make sure to allow anyone with the link to view. 

Please make sure to include either your credit card payments or check or purchase order when you enter. The link provided on the site will take you directly to the credit card or check/purchase order page for the order. The WPM category payment option is at the bottom of the page.

Please reach out if you have any questions.

Spring convention registration opens Feb. 14

Join us in San Francisco for the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention. This year’s convention will be at the Hilton Union Square. Registration opens Feb. 7 and the hotel link is available to all registrants Feb. 14. Leave Your Heart, Find Your Voice at the JEA/NSPA spring convention April 20-22.

Scholastic Journalism Week, Student Press Freedom day reminder:

Don’t forget to prepare for Scholastic Journalism Week (Feb. 20-24) AND Student Press Freedom Day (Feb. 23). Both sites have available activities and resources. Make sure to check these for events leading up to the events as well as activities your staff can participate in.

First, check out the available resources for both. Ask students what they might like to do — or maybe these ideas will spur another idea. It’s time to create an action plan and timeline that includes individual responsibilities. Scholastic Journalism Week runs from Feb. 20-24 and Scholastic Press Freedom Day is Feb. 23.

The Student Press Law Center’s next Student Press Freedom Day event is coming up on Thursday, Jan. 26, at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. ET. The event (Overcoming Censorship: A Student Journalist-Led Open Forum) will be run by our awesome Student Press Freedom Day Co-Chairs. 

This is a great opportunity for student journalists from across the country to come together and share their experiences and ways to overcome barriers to their work. 

This is a student-led event in a safe, open environment. Please share this opportunity with your students, but advisers and other folks, please sit this Student Press Freedom Day event out.

This event will not be recorded, but students will receive a follow-up email after attending the discussion with any resources shared during the event. Registration can be found here.

Free Spirit Conference Applications available until March 1

2023 Free Spirit Conference: In June 2023, the Freedom Forum will host its annual Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference for high school juniors. Students selected for the program receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the nation’s capital where they are introduced to top journalists, as well as a $1,000 scholarship to the college of their choice. Applications are due March 1.

Chapter activity/discussion point idea: Scholastic Journalism Week

It’s late January, and some of you might be hitting the late January/early February blues.

We have a popular morale booster for you. In fact, when I taught returning students would ask when we were doing this activity and others said it was their favorite day of the year.  

It’s a cheap and simple activity that just needs tape and paper (although card stock is a bit easier). Students put their name at the top of the paper and then someone helps them tape the paper to their back. (Most years did not need a kindness reminder, but if your staff is a bit snarky, it might be great for an editor to remind students of the power of being positive and being inclusive.) 

We would spend most of the hour running around and writing on each other’s back. No one was forced to write on anyone’s sign — students did seek people out. During the last five-10 minutes, we would stop and then read what people wrote about them. (We took photos of this and used them for promotional purposes like recruitment and just general “this is what we do” social media posts. Several students told me how they kept these and grabbed them when times were tough.

And for those wondering, yes I did this too. We all need a little positivity now and then.

Just a thought

Trust in the media is low. 

About one in every four Americans trust most news according to the News Literacy Project’s site. In 1972, after Watergate it was almost three out of every four.

News Literacy Week sponsored by the News Literacy Project and Scripps hopes to help combat this deterioration of trust in the media.

It might be a good time to gauge your own students concerning their trust in student media. How can you work to help educate your students concerning media literacy? What questions do they have about how the media runs at your school? How do they report a problem? What happens after a report?

As we know, one of the best ways to teach about news literacy is to practice and study news literacy. If you missed it this week, you can always add it within the next few weeks. 

In addition to today’s offering, The News Literacy Project has developed four steps to help close the credibility gap:

Take these steps to help close the credibility gap:

Step 1: Know how to spot misinformation

Step 2: Seek out trustworthy information

Step 3: Champion news literacy

Step 4: Join the movement

In addition, the News Literacy Project offers teachers several tools and includes standards alignment per state. The group will host a panel today “Your brain and misinformation: Why people believe lies and conspiracy theories” at 2 p.m. EST.

— Lori Keekley