Dec. 4, 2023

Our past three editions

Nov. 13, 2023 Decorated steering wheels • AI deepfakes • Screentime

Oct. 23, 2023 Healthcare premiums • Lunchables for lunch • WNBA champs

Oct. 16, 2023 Montana climate change • Antisemitism • Book bans


New melatonin study finds increase in teen use

Look at other ways to help teens with sleep

According to a new study as cited in the Washington Post, almost one in five teens are using melatonin to help them sleep. Melatonin, as the study states, is not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration, so the amount of melatonin in over-the-counter supplements can vary. The article cites that in one study, the amount of melatonin in the supplements ranged from 74%-347% of the content indicated on the label.

What you can do —

Teens and sleep — or lack thereof — has been a story for years. Now, there’s a great new news peg. How prevalent is melatonin use among your students and teachers? What do local pediatricians say about the prevalence of use? Are teens concerned about the 

While talking to your local pediatrician or sleep specialist, what are some other actions teens can take to help them fall asleep?


Teacher contracts may be a discussion point 

Consider not only the status, but also the effect this might have on students

Portland teachers have a tentative contract deal as of Nov. 26. Both students and teachers have been out of the classroom for the past three weeks. 

While those outside the Portland area may wonder what this has to do with their school, the simple answer is everything.

What you can do —

If you’re not in Portland, it’s a great time to examine how this works in your state and see where teacher contract negotiations are in your district. Are the teachers currently negotiating a contract or preparing to? Have they recently ratified a contract? How does teacher compensation look in your state? If your state is one that has gotten rid of teacher unions, what has the impact been on the students and staff?

Has your district had difficulties finding licensed teachers? What has the impact of this been on students? Have increased class sizes to help alleviate a teacher shortage? Are teachers instructing out of their area of licensure? What other measures have been done? 

If you are in Portland, cover this issue. What has this been like? Also, this has caused a shortened winter break for those in the district. How has this impacted family plans?

What’s viral

SI takes down stories written by AI using fake names

Time to check in on sports reporting

In a CNN article, Sports Illustrated admitted it had taken down some website articles published using fake names and images that were AI generated. As the article notes, the SI Union said they “deplored being associated with something so disrespectful to our readers.

Additionally, Charissa Thompson said in a podcast that she fabricated quotes when she couldn’t get to a coach according to a recent New York Times article.

What you can do —

Examine your AI use. What are the parameters that are acceptable for staff use?

The Online News Association published a newsroom guide to AI that provides many talking points. NSPA also has updated its Code of Ethics to include AI use.

Also, problematic is the use of fake names and bios for AI reports. One chapter activity could center around how this can lead to further issues with trust in the media as well as other concerns from journalists and readers.

The Thompson portion is a great reminder of the importance of truth in journalism as well. A discussion could ensue concerning how this is a violation of trust and ethics.


It’s always membership season

Don’t forget you can nominate members year-round

Winter has begun. Don’t be left out in the cold. Nominate students for membership order pins, cords and other Quill and Scroll materials and memorabilia.

We haven’t changed the ordering process from last year. For those wanting to ditch the paper version, you just need to select the form based on how you would like to pay. We have one version for credit card and another version for check or purchase order. (We’ve added buttons for ease of finding these.) As usual, credit card payments are charged $4.49 per order for processing. 

> Start the process here.

Scroll publishing will during breaks

We will not be publishing the Weekly Scroll during traditional school breaks.

We will break for the weeks of Dec. 18, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1 because of winter breaks. We will resume publishing Jan. 8.

Also, Quill and Scroll offices will close Dec. 20-Jan. 1. We will return to the office Jan. 2.

WPM contest opens, YEC results to be released early December

It’s contest season again! We’ve opened our 2024 Writing, Photo/Design and Multimedia Awards. Please make a note — all entries and payments will be due Feb. 2.

So, start thinking about what you want to enter. For those who entered last year, you will see the same submission process as last year. 

We will be announcing our YEC results Wednesday, Dec. 5.

Meet, collaborate and discuss with peers

Quill and Scroll’s Student Journalism Collaboration Program, which is a discussion forum for students, will continue hosting discussion forums this school year. 

The 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.

Our second meeting will take place Dec. 11 from 7-8 p.m. Central, and our topic of discussion will be fundraising

Please ask interested students to fill out this form by Dec. 8. Once students fill out the form, they will automatically receive a notification for all subsequent meetings. Participants who signed up prior to today will also receive the Zoom link the Sunday prior to the event. 

We look forward to seeing you!

Sorry advisers, this is a student-only offering.

First Amendment Press Freedom Award entries due Dec. 15

The Journalism Education Association has opened applications for the First Amendment Press Freedom Award. 

This award recognized schools who actively support and honor the First Amendment through its student media programs. The award focuses on press freedom and a jury looks at the entire student media program at the school: digital and print newspaper, yearbook and student broadcast.

Round One questions must be completed by a student editor and an adviser or administrator filling out separate forms. Please read and respond carefully to Round One questions. Even if your school has received FAPFA recognition before, you must reapply each year.

Information and Round One submission forms for the First Amendment Press Freedom Award are available at this link and the Scholastic Press Rights Committee has a video available.

Just a thought

We’ve had a few questions concerning the first-year categories in our Writing, Photo/Design and Multimedia Contest.

As many advisers know, it’s difficult for a first-year student to be judged against someone who has had two or three or four years experience. This realization started office discussion and we decided to add these categories to this year’s contest. 

We’ve also expanded the categories to include newsletters as well as social media. 

As always, if you have feedback on these, please let me know. I’d love to hear from you about any category we should be offering but aren’t.

Thanks, and happy December!

— Lori Keekley