Feb. 16, 2023

Our past three editions

Feb. 9, 2023 School lunch • Debt ceiling • China balloon

Feb. 2, 2023 Toy gun • Sports betting • Tyre Nichols

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


New law brings attention back to gender affirming procedures

Check the local legislation proposals

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed a bill banning minors’ access to gender-affirming procedures. About a year ago, the same governor signed a bill banning transgender girls access to play in school sports leagues matching their gender identity.

What you can do —

Check on the legislation in your state from the ACLU. What is the status in your state? Do you have students going to the state capitol to lobby for or against a bill? What would proposed legislation mean for your students?

SPLC also has this guide for names and pronoun use in student media.


Tragedy again hits campus

How safe is our school?

As we all read and listened, yet again, to the terrible news that another senseless tragedy occurred — this time at Michigan State University — some students asked “are we safe anywhere”?

What you can do —

Ask the same question these students from MSU are asking. Are we safe anywhere? Examine your own school. Is the building secure? Could students or an outsider easily access the building to do harm?

What steps does administration and staff take to ensure safety?

If someone suspects something, even if it might seem innocuous or a joke, what is the responsibility of reporting suspicious behavior? What is the school training surrounding “if you see something, say something”? 

For those going on to pursue postsecondary education, a good primer on the Clery Act of 1990 might be of interest. This act requires schools to provide transparency concerning campus crime and its reporting. Why might it be important to know the campus crime rate on college campuses and universities?

What’s viral

Syrian tragedy brings out scammers on posts

Help students vet where they donate

Scammers have been around for years, but now they are using AI technology to supply photos as well as seen in this BBC report.

What you can do —

Many are yet again being easily duped by fraudulent accounts. No one wants the bake sale for Syria money to go to a scammer. Take this time to educate your students (and staff) about the need to vet organizations before donating to a cause. Both the FTC and AARP cite easy ways and offer more resources to navigate this quagmire.


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 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. 19. We will send the meeting link prior to the first meeting.

It’s always membership season

Don’t forget you can nominate members year round

We are gearing up for the busiest season of the year. 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.

Spring convention registration opens 

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 opened Tuesday and the hotel link was sent to all registrants Feb. 14. Leave Your Heart, Find Your Voice at the JEA/NSPA spring convention April 20-22.

Workshop set for June 26-29, in Dallas

The Gloria Shields NSPA Media Workshop returns to the Dallas/Addison Marriott Quorum by the Galleria June 26-29, 2023, with bonus classes on June 25. Workshop registration is $140 per student or adviser.  The extra cost for the Sunday bonus class is $20 per person.

In 2022, 635 students from 90 schools took advantage of the instruction from our exceptional faculty. Watch the workshop website for additional 2023 workshop details as they become available.

> Watch the preview video for 2023.

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

We talked last week about making sure you had your plans set for Scholastic Journalism Week and Scholastic Press Freedom day. These are great options if you haven’t already.

Another starter discussion could center on just Student Press Freedom Day. What is the status of the free press in your school and state? Are you one of the 16 states with laws that protect student journalists? (If you need a primer on these, SPLC has a great resource.) What are the policies and guidelines at your school? What is the role of the student press? (See this JEA SPRC resource for help if needed.)

Why is this discussion so important? 

Just a thought

Part 1

Someone asked in a journalism adviser group how to use the Scroll with their classes, which made me start thinking — a lot.

While we don’t put together lesson plans for this feature we do include nuggets that would easily translate for a teacher. 

For a beginning journalism class, the teacher could use The Lede portion to help guide them in learning how to localize national and international news to their communities. For example, take one of the week’s topics. A teacher could ask how this impacts the students. Why might it matter to them? If you can find this connection, you might have a great content idea. We try to include ideas for this in the “What you can do” area.

To extend this, have the students identify who a primary source might be. Secondary sources? Have these sources been used before? How can we branch out from the same people? How can we utilize social media to find new student sources?

Of course in both a beginning and advanced class, students could evaluate the angle and create a plan using the best possible platform(s) for the information. Even if they decide they don’t want to cover the topic in the end, it might help with the creative content process in the future. 

And yes, It’s an Honor could also be used — but that’s more of an announcement format. 

I’ll talk next week about how you could modify some of the chapter activities to the classroom.

— Lori Keekley