April 27, 2023

Our past three editions

April 13, 2023 Medicaid • Pentagon leaks • Super Mario

April 6, 2023 South storms • Banned books • Gwyneth Paltrow

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


THE LEDE  |  by Alex Steil

School districts sue social media companies

Allege mental health is harmed

Some school districts from across the nation are joining forces to sue social media companies. The districts allege social media overuse harms students’ mental health. However, legal experts say the claims have little merit and likely won’t succeed in court.

What you can do —

The staff could write about the effects social media has on students. Interview a local psychologist about the impact social media has on teens and how it impacts their mental health. Does your school provide any resources for teens to help manage their social media habits?

Otherwise, the staff could produce a staff editorial on the subject of how involved schools are. For example, how much should your school be involved in protecting the mental health effects of social media from teens?


Florida expands ‘Don’t say gay’ bill

Prohibits teaching of sexual orientation, gender identity in all grades 

Since we last published the Scroll, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) requested an executive rule change that would expand the state’s parental rights bill, more often referred to as the “don’t say gay” bill. This would prohibit the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity for all grades. When originally passed, the legislation called for banning the topics in kindergarten through third grade.

What you can do —

While we’ve written before about how to cover your state’s legislative movements, like actions like DeSantis’, a journalist’s role is twofold: we are also supposed to give a voice to the voiceless.

That said, what are your LGBT+ students’ reactions to this legislation? How do they see themselves implicated by the enactment of these policies for themselves and your broader school environment?

A brief lesson on how-not-to tokenize underrepresented communities would also be important. Understanding that once journalistic connections are made, they must be maintained to continue that trust, is an important lesson for reporters.

What’s viral

Elon Musk’s rocket explodes

Twitter had a field day

SpaceX launched the world’s largest rocket on Thursday. It did not end well. Twitter users, who are owned by Elon Musk (who also owns SpaceX) had a field day with the exploding rocket, creating memes to both roast the failed launch and Musk himself.

What you can do —

An engaging student life piece could be written about what it means to be immersed into meme culture. You could tackle memes from a news literacy point of view. How do memes affect and inform students’ understanding of the world around them? Your student media would include coverage on this issue since the information may be in more of an editorial realm. Further, what are the ethics of journalists producing memes?


Final student discussion opportunity from Quill and Scroll’s Student Advisory Board

Conversation will be leadership

Quill and Scroll’s Student Journalism Collaboration Program connects student journalists from across the nation. Through virtual meetings, participants discuss, collaborate and troubleshoot with their peers about scholastic journalism issues pertaining to their student media.

Our next meeting will take place May 2 from 6-7 p.m. Central, and our topic of discussion will be leadership. If you’ve already filled out the form, you will automatically receive it for all subsequent meetings. If you haven’t, fill out this form by today to be included. Those who have filled out the form will receive a zoom link 24 hours prior to the meeting. We look forward to seeing you!

It’s the height of membership season so now is the time to order!

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

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.

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.

Applications are being accepted for the 2023 Vanessa Shelton Chapter of the Year 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 Students

Act now — deadline is May 12

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

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.

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: 

As we repeatedly state, Chapter activity is dependent on what the adviser and students would like. Now is the time to reflect on what your goals and aspirations are for next year’s group.

Some questions for reflection:

What is your favorite memory from being in Quill and Scroll?

What was your favorite activity? 

Did you help educate the students at your school or community concerning media literacy, the First Amendment, etc. 

Looking at next year, what would you like to accomplish as a Chapter? A great starting point might be rooted in the principles of Quill and Scroll: Truth, Learning, Leadership. Loyalty, Initiative, Integrity, Judgment and Friendship. Students could use a graphic organizer, such as a bubble map to help with this. By asking questions such as “How do we forward and educate about truth” or “How do we show leadership” could help with this.

Think about the action(s) can students take to help promote the First Amendment, media literacy or even forward the eight principles of Quill and Scroll? 

If your school starts late, you might want to start thinking about how you would like to celebrate and educate on Constitution Day, which is Sept. 17, which is a Sunday. 

Just a thought

It was great to see so many of you at the Spring JEA/NSPA National Journalism Convention in San Francisco! 

Thank you for not only stopping by the booth, but also for your input about how you structure your chapter and all the ideas on what we can offer to help journalism advisers and their students. It was great to hear from both groups! If you weren’t at the convention — or if you were and have an idea you’d like to forward — please either email me your idea. 

I would love to have your ideas of what you would like as well as what you use and would like continued. 

A small bit of housekeeping, next week will be our final Chapter Activity idea, but we do have them on our Chapter Activities page. Our final Weekly Scroll will be the week of May 15. We will resume again in early September.

Thank you for your continued support of Quill and Scroll and I look forward to hearing from you!

— Lori Keekley