April 6, 2023

Our past three editions

March 30, 2023 Teens suing over climate change • House parental rights bill • Northern lights

March 23, 2023 Gender-affirming care • MSU shooting • Earthquake scammers

March 2, 2023 School lunch • Debt ceiling • China balloon

THE LEDE  |  by Alex Steil

Storms pummel South

Tornadoes, rain, and other weather events wreak havoc

At least 31 have died from storms in the South and Midwest region of the country, as of Sunday. Rain storms and tornadoes have ripped through cities and have flattened entire areas. Both state and federal assistance is forthcoming, but rescue searches have started.

What you can do —

Especially if you have not been affected by these storms, organizing a fundraiser or item-drives as a chapter to help these communities will help your other, domestic chapters as well as the affected communities.

If your school or organization has been impacted by these storms, you could produce work that examines how life will change because of these storms. For example, answering some of the basic questions, such as “How long will it take to rebuild?” will go a long way with readers who are still reeling from the experience, but want some information on what has already happened.

An infographic outlining how to access help or provide support would also be prudent. Also, an interactive infographic that goes beyond the basics on what to do when major weather occurs would be helpful.


Texas judge temporarily reinstates banned books

Highlights opportunity to track status of books in your area

A Texas judge temporarily reinstated banned books while a lawsuit brought by parents trying to permanently reinstate the majority LGBTQ+ books moves through the judicial system. The judge wrote, while the case is being litigated, the government cannot censor books simply for their content.

What you can do —

The American Library Association keeps a tracker of books being censored across the country, and have noted a spike in the past year. Taking a look at their data to determine what the status of books in your surrounding community are, if yours isn’t being affected, to give students a sense of what’s going on around them.

Some starting questions could be: (1) Broadly, is this happening in yours or neighboring states? (2) What direction is your state tending? Are they leaning toward the bans or instead promoting them? What are students and community members doing?

What’s viral

Gwyneth Paltrow found not guilty in ski accident

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow was found not guilty of a 2016 ski accident on Thursday after the jury found she was not responsible for the collision. Her comment after the conclusion of the lawsuit has also gone viral, saying “I wish you well” to the retired optometrist.

What you can do —

The case in question was all about guilt and who was at fault. It’s worth remembering there is a specific AP Style rule dedicated to presentation of a crime, (this case was not criminal, but instead civil). Nevertheless, it’s good to remember the rule. Are you teaching reporting regarding non-incrimination in the proper way? Are you making sure to not presume guilt when writing about a subject?

Further, are you and your news staff cognizant of the more subtle editorial words, such as “only,” “just,” etc.?


It’s the height of membership season so if you’re on break, now is the time to order!

Don’t forget we need at least three weeks to process orders — and our mail service is slow

We’ve now hit the busiest season of the year, but don’t let that deter you. Just remember, we need at least three weeks lead time from when you order and the date it is needed. Also, we need to have either payment or the purchase order in order to send your order. 

We are not receiving mail on a daily basis. This is beyond our control. We are processing orders as soon as we can, but orders sent through the U.S. Postal Service may experience delays. The quickest way to submit an order is via our online system. If paying with a purchase order, you can submit the PO number and then we will still ship. If you want to use the paper version, that is fine. We suggest scanning and emailing these documents.

We will not be processing orders during the week of April 17 since we will be at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention in San Francisco. You may still submit your orders. They will be processed when we return in the order they were received. 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.) This error is delaying several orders.

> Start the process here.

2023 Chapter of the Year application deadline extended

Applications are now being accepted for the 2023 Quill and Scroll Vanessa Shelton Chapter of the Year Award until May 1. 

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 May 1, 2023, and the winner will be mid-May. 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.

Scholarships for advisers, students

Adviser application deadline is April 15; student deadline is May 12

Quill and Scroll will award scholarships again this year to journalism advisers and their students who want to study and/or practice journalism in college.

The $250 Lester G. Benz Scholarship goes 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 Convention, to help pay for tuition for a university course in a relevant subject area, or for a summer workshop 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 are now open, and they’re for students who are Quill and Scroll members or for students who have won awards in any number of Quill and Scroll contests. Apply for the grants — which can pay up to $1,500 for your first year in college — before May 12.

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:

AI and student media

CNN recently highlighted how people are being duped by AI generated content in their social media feeds — including a video about the spread of misinformation by news anchors who were created by AI. Time even warned about the possibility of fake mug shots prior to for President Donald Trump surrendering to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office

As a chapter, a discussion could center on the importance of discussing AI with readers. 

How does the use of AI impact trust or distrust in the media? What role does transparency play in this? Why is it important to make a statement regarding AI use?

The end of the video also discusses how to spot AI in videos. How can you work to educate your student population on this and on the importance of paying attention to where they get their information?

Media staffs could work on developing a policy on AI use. A Quill and Scroll chapter could then work on an educational campaign to discuss what the students decide. 

Some new and updated AP Stylebook entries include suggesting not to use human characteristics to AI text generators. (For those who love AP Style updates, they range from adding the plus to LGBTQ+ to guidance on climate change terminology to capitalization of Civil Rights Movement to borscht to make a few.)

Just a thought

Last week, I announced we had brought the Graduation Honor Cord Charms back, which we are glad to do. 

While we were able to do this, we are unable to bring back the position-specific pins. Both the inventory and order fulfillment labor costs have forced us to phase out this offering. While we are saddened by this as well, we felt the importance of trying to keep the membership costs low outweighed the position-specific pins.

Again, thanks to those who asked about these and if you have any further questions, please feel free to send me an email.

— Lori Keekley