Feb. 2, 2023

Our past three editions

Jan. 26, 2023 Tax season • AP African American Studies • Hamline professor

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

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



Senate Democrats question children’s gun

Senators asked the FTC to look at issue

Several Senate Democrats requested that the FTC examine whether a gun company is marketing to kids. 

The product in question is a toy version of the AR-15 called JR-15. While the company claims the toy gun’s intent is to help teach responsible gun ownership, the senators disagree. They claim the gun manufacturer is targeting children.

An NPR story that discussed America’s relationship with guns cited that for every 100 people in the United States 120 guns exist.

What you can do —

In addition to the obvious editorial issues surrounding gun ownership/availability and/or responsible gun ownership, another strand might be the fact this gun might be misconstrued for a real weapon. What might be the repercussions of that? If your school has a police liaison, it might be a great interview topic.

On a somewhat tangential note, some students also start to have the discussion about this time of year on the Assassins game in which students form teams to tag other players using NERF guns. As these guns have transitioned from white to darker colors, could these be mistaken for a real gun and partnered with the fact the behavior of the teen may be suspect to some?


Sports betting and its impact

Examine prevalence in schools

We now know it’s the Chiefs vs. the Eagles, but how will sports betting on this even impact your students? This is nothing new, but with the impending Super Bowl and March Madness season soon approaching, it’s relevant to teens and adults.

What you can do —

What is the status of sports betting in your state? Many of these sites require users to be either 18 or 21. However, some teens are getting around this by either using someone else’s information or using unregulated offshore and illegal websites.

How easy is it for students to illegally sign up for one of these sites? What are the legal ramifications if caught? The video link states some start gambling when they are 13. 

How is gambling specifically being marketed to teens? How does this impact your students? Are some of the games played when they were young contributing to this issue? How can teens access help if they think they may have a gambling addiction?

Police release footage of Tyre Nichols’ death

Sparked anger, outrage nationwide

While some feel they must watch the video of the violent and horrific arrest of Tyre Nichols to honor him, others feel they cannot watch the footage.

This CNN article centers around the fact that the best approach whether to watch or not depends on the limits of the individual. The research cited in the article addresses vicarious trauma and its effects, which may be exacerbated by violent media exposure. This exposure may increase anxiety — and may result in post-traumatic stress disorder.

The article links to the work of three sources whose expertise range from racial discrimination and psychological outcomes to law enforcement and community trauma, and the work of these psychologists and professors. 

What you can do —

Media staffs could address this research (and the information on Riana E. Anderson’s, Dr. Earl Turner’s and Dr. Monnica Williams’ sites would be great starting points). How can students help navigate where they are and what they view or choose not to see? 

What is the impact of racial trauma and stress? How does this vicarious watching of these events impact those who have experienced this trauma — especially for our students of color? What can students and staff do for those experiencing this and what local supports are available?

What’s viral

Who thought candy would transform into a troll

Stunt involves spokescandies taking a brief break until the Super Bowl and many of us fell for it

The early report concerning a temporary M&Ms spokescandy break from has led to even more discussion concerning the cartoon candies as it was intended. 

What you can do —

First, the power of trolls. Why do these stunts work? Talk to a local marketing organization about stunts such as these. 

News literacy is needed. You could provide a news quiz in which you ask one international, national, state and local question. The fifth could be about the spokescandy. What questions did students get? What did they not know? Where do they get their news? Why is this important?


Student opportunity from Quill and Scroll’s Student Advisory Board 

Meet, collaborate and discuss with peers, but act now.

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! The first offering Feb. 21 from 6-7 p.m. will center around motivating staffers.

The students leading this session will facilitate this discussion so the participants can discuss, collaborate and troubleshoot with their peers about motivating staff. Advisers, we are asking this to be a student-only offering. 

Fill out the interest form here by Feb. 20. We will send the meeting link 24 hours prior to the first meeting.

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 entries due Monday

Due date is Feb. 6 — you only have a few days to submit.  

Don’t miss out on honoring your students’ 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.

The Student Press Law Center’s next Student Press Freedom Day event is coming up Thursday, Feb. 2, at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. ET. The event “When Knowledge is Power: Uncovering Your District’s Student Media Policies (and Making them Better).

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

This podcast by Audie Cornish examines not only objectivity, but also public trust and the “shutting out” of news.  The podcast does include a journalist talking about covering former President Donald Trump. The times listed are when they begin to discuss the item outlined. The link has the transcript of the podcast as well.

A few talking points: 

The :10:50 mark, which addresses local journalism. How can student media. Ask the students how they have worked to support the local journalism coverage. What is going well? What needs to be improved?

The :11:59 mark addresses echo chambers. How does your student media work to engage readers in social media? What information is being disseminated in these platforms? 

The :15:36 mark questions how the last few years’ political environment with Trump has impacted journalism, and leads into the cumulative effect of media at the :16:00 mark. What is the cumulative impact of your student journalism? And yes, this applies to yearbooks too! Think about its importance as the historical record of the school. 

The :17:40 addresses transparency. How could you be more transparent in what you do? Also, how could you work to educate your students about what, how and why you do what you do.

The :21:30 examines the mission of journalism — and the need for news literacy in high schools. This fits perfectly with last week’s media literacy ideas!

The 24:23 looks at the blending of news vs. feature vs. opinion personas of journalists on social media. What are the students’ thoughts on this?

What are three main takeaways to revisit in a week of the podcast? What can we learn from this?

Just a thought

I am so proud of what our Student Advisory Board members have been doing. 

The first group began to finalize their plans concerning our Journalism Collaboration for high school students (as noted above). Our second group will be adding some useful items on our chapter activities page. And yes, I will put this in the Scroll when they are added. 

They also are amassing some useful items they have created in order to help other staffs across the nation and show what they are doing for Scholastic Journalism Week and Student Press Freedom Day. 

Thank you to this group for all the work they have done. Congratulations to the advisers who work with these students on a daily basis. They are great scholastic journalism ambassadors and each one of the students still involved have done you proud! Thanks for sharing them with me!

— Lori Keekley