March 2, 2023

Our past three editions

Feb. 23, 2023 TikTok bans • Debt-relief • Marvel movie

Feb. 16, 2023 Gender-affirming care • MSU shooting • Earthquake scammers

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


THE LEDE  |  by Alex Steil

Supreme Court weigh family’s claim Google responsible of terrorist act

Teachers could include lessons on potential impact on speech freedoms

The Supreme Court heard a case last week that could upend the modern structure of the internet. A family sued Google arguing the company is not protected by a legal provision because its algorithms promoted hate speech, which ultimately led to –– the family claims –– their daughters killing in a 2015 terrorist attack. However, the Justices seemed skeptical to rule so broadly as to allow for individuals to sue content aggregators for speech that isn’t theirs.

What you can do —

The first thing teachers should do, namely whenever a freedom of speech case arises, is help their students understand what is and what is not protected under the First Amendment. Lessons on the so-called “unprotected nine” and other relevant case law are useful for students.

The Student Press Law Center and national JEA Press Rights Committee Association have great resources on teaching First Amendment speech. 

Educators should also prepare for the ruling, should the Court side with the family’s argument. First, examine the standard of harm mentioned in news articles and elsewhere regarding the case.

Then advisers should look at if there are any ads on your website that could cause harm? What about letters to the editor?


Many industries announcing layoffs

However some still eager for workers

A litany of industries have announced layoffs in the past few weeks, ranging from technology to news. NPR announced it would cut nearly 10% of its workforce. The linked video highlights tech layoffs –– particularly Microsoft, Amazon and Google –– and the motivations behind it. The layoffs leave questions, especially as some industries (like service-based work) are still eager for workers.

What you can do —

Students are the main component of the service industry. So what’s the problem? Are they not flocking to these jobs in the same numbers because of working conditions or other factors? An interesting data piece could look at the motivations for why/why not students are working.

Also, have there been instances where favorite student hangout spaces (i.e. coffee shops) that are closed because of staffing issues?

Further, what are they getting paid? Do students think the jobs they are working are actually worth their time?

Dilbert comic strip dropped

Lessons in what is protected by the First Amendment –– versus what is business dealing

The famed “Dilbert” comic strip was dropped by multiple news outlets after the creator went on a racist rant on a radio talk show. The comics creator, Scott Adams, had a history of making controversial remarks, including questioning the accuracy of the Holocaust and has casted doubt on COVID-19 vaccines.

What you can do —

Some commentators have looked at the protection that Adams had as a creator to employ his First Amendment rights. However, a fundamental point seems to be missing: the government is prohibited from making rules about speech to foster a marketplace of ideas. Once speech enters a public conversation, an idea can be beat back or pushed forward. Students must understand this.

Teaching students, especially future journalists, about the importance of their own editorial autonomy to make their own decisions is critical. Further, future journalists should also comprehend the bounds of the First Amendment, especially the press’s place in furthering the marketplace of ideas. There is still a difference between marketplace protections to speak and marketplace repercussions as a result of speaking.

What’s viral

‘Cocaine Bear’ released Friday; highlights questions of truth-telling in film

A wild action movie was released on Friday based on the 1985 phenomena of a bear that overdosed on cocaine in a Georgia National Park, after the drugs were thrown out of a plane overhead. The movie took several liberties, mainly that any humans interacted with the bear while it was still alive –– which is the premise for the whole film.

What you can do —

The liberties taken by film makers can introduce an interesting conundrum for those interested in reviewing the arts: when movies take creative liberties in a movie based on a true story, should they make it clear to the audience? Especially when the creative liberties result in the deaths of characters, and they aren’t disclosed, is there an ethical conflict for viewers –– or instead, should it be assumed the audience is smart enough to know the story? How does this suspicion of disbelief play in other areas of literature and movies?


It’s always membership season

Don’t forget you can nominate members year round

We are on the cusp of 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 will not be processing orders during the weeks of March 5 and April 17 since we will be at conventions. You may still submit your orders. They will be processed when we return. Currently, we are processing orders within a one-week timeframe upon receipt. This timing will change soon, so please plan accordingly.

Also, as a gentle reminder, our address changed in July 2022. Many business offices 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.

New student opportunity from Quill and Scroll’s Student Advisory Board

Meet, collaborate and discuss with peers,

Two of our Student Advisory Board members led our initial offering about motivation, and they are doing it again!

Quill and Scroll’s Student Journalism Collaboration Program 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.

Please fill out this form by March 24. Our next meeting will take place March 28 from 6-7 p.m. Central, and our topic of discussion will be teamwork and leadership. If you’ve already filled out the form, you will automatically receive it for all subsequent meetings. Those who have filled out the form will receive a zoom link 24 hours prior to the meeting. We look forward to seeing you!

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.

2023 Chapter of the Year applications open

Applications are now being accepted for the 2023 Quill and Scroll Vanessa Shelton Chapter of the Year Award. 

Chapters must have had initiated members in each of the past three years.

During the past 96 years, Quill and Scroll has granted charters to more than 11,400 schools around the world. When a school’s journalism program receives its charter, students in the school begin a Quill and Scroll chapter there. Quill and Scroll does not dictate how active a chapter should be, but the organization’s Chapter Manual does provide some guidance on the value of an “active chapter,” the activities it may engage in, and its general goals:

“The chapter can accomplish these goals: 

(1) inspire members of the staff to greater efforts; 

(2) attract students of higher ability to publications/media work by offering them journalistic recognition and honors; 

(3) provide incentive for the development of the journalism department and the improvement of school publications/media; and 

(4) secure greater recognition of journalism work by students, school officials and the community.”

The deadline is April 1, 2023, and the winner will be announced later that month. The application form is on our website. Applications are free and winners will receive a plaque, $250 for the classroom, four free memberships and honor cords and one member spot on our Student Advisory Board.

Benz Scholarship

Applications open for $250 adviser award

Quill and Scroll will award the $250 Lester G. Benz Scholarship to an adviser who undertakes a professional development activity over the summer or in the 2023-24 academic year.

The award can be used to attend a National High School Journalism Conference, to pay for tuition for a university course in a relevant subject area, or for a summer workshop, the JEA Summer Advisers Institute or a local summer workshop in your state, to name a few.

Applications are now being accepted. Deadline is April 14, 2023.

The award is named after former Quill and Scroll Executive Director Lester G. Benz.

Student Scholarship applications will open April 3, 2023 and will be due May 12, 2023.

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.

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. We are excited to announce the awards ceremony will take place Saturday morning at the National High School Journalism Convention in San Francisco.

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 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.

We are excited to announce Quill and Scroll will hand out its Writing, Photo and Multimedia and Private School Journalism Association awards from 8-10 a.m. Saturday morning. We will provide more details on this as we get closer to the convention.

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.

Chapter activity/discussion point idea: Induction planning

March is a great time to bring in a speaker. Why not task your Quill and Scroll chapter with this task? Have them brainstorm on an area for improvement and then search for local journalists (or nonlocal if they are able) to come and talk about the topic.

For example, my former students invited people ranging from a news writer, photographer and a review writer. At one point, we had a state senator join us.

Have the student brainstorm and prioritize questions after the speaker is secured as well.

Just a thought

Something will be missing from your inbox for the next two weeks.

We will be taking a break from publishing the Scroll since we are traveling for conventions during this time. We will resume publishing the week of March 20 but take another pause the week of April 17 while we attend the National High School Journalism Convention in San Francisco.

Please note, you may still place orders during these weeks. We will not be able to overnight any orders during the week of March 6 or April 17. We will be able to overnight orders the week of March 13.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We will process all orders placed during the time we are away as soon as we return, so go ahead and send them in when they are ready! You might even want to send them early! 

— Lori Keekley