Jan. 22, 2024

Our past three editions

Jan. 15, 2024 Meta safety features • Nanoplastics • “Mean Girls”

Jan. 8, 2024 Overlooked stories • Snoop Dogg • Januhairy

Dec. 11, 2023 Shoe germs • Taylor Swift • Peach Fuzz


Disinformation poses threat in 2024, experts say

This week is News Literacy week, here’s what you can do

With an approaching presidential election, misinformation experts are warning of the danger the spread of false information will pose in the United States. A report for NBC News dives into what experts are saying — primely that the United States is ill prepared to deal with misinformation. NBC cites increasing numbers of voters being susceptible to misinformation, the rise of artificial intelligence and social media company’s changing restrictions as contributing factors to the problem of misinformation.

What you can do—

Entirely fixing the issue of misinformation is a herculean task, but there are small ways to help. This week, Jan. 22-26, is National News Literacy Week. The annual initiative aims to highlight the importance of news literacy and provide resources for people of all ages. 

There is even a whole section on the News Literacy Project’s website devoted to resources for educators featuring news literacy events and tools. Whether it is taking time in class to discuss news literacy and why it is important or curating resources on how to improve news literacy, this is the perfect opportunity to raise awareness and help create an informed public. 

Student media groups could also do some outreach into their schools to educate students on what student journalism is all about and how it works. 


Federal Highway Administration cracks down on funny road signs

Check out humorous signs near you, take stock of student favorites

The newest edition of federal standards for highway signs calls for officials to avoid language “that may confuse or distract drivers,” which could include pop culture references or humor. It is not an outright ban on puns like “Use Yah Blinkah” in Boston or “Texting & Driving? Oh Cell No!” in Iowa but it could put a damper on highway humor. 

Business Insider reported that many states have leaded into creative messaging in recent years, and Arizona even runs a public competition to generate new traffic messages. The new federal standards offer examples of acceptable highway messaging including “No hand-held phone by driver” as an alternative to “Don’t text and drive”

 What you can do—

Though some states are particularly known for their clever signs (Massachusetts, Iowa and New Jersey, for example), it is possible your state has also dipped its toes in. Take a stab at localizing this national story by looking for fun signs near you. Talk to students and community members as well about what signs they remember seeing and if they feel humorous messaging is effective. 

There are a number of studies into this topic that could be used to supplement any reporting — a data visualization unpacking the results can add valuable context to this story. This could expand into coverage on distracted driving. Even one second of distraction can make a difference, is that why sign restrictions are being implemented? 

What’s viral

World’s oldest dog under investigation

Feature a unique pet or attempted world record in your area

At the time of his death in 2023, Bobi, a dog in Portugal, held the Guinness World Records’ record for the oldest dog ever to have lived. He died at 31 years and 5 months, significantly higher than the normal age for dogs. 

However, some have raised doubts about Bobi’s age, pointing to a lack of formal evidence of Bobi’s birth year as well as his overweight appearance, which is not a typical indicator of longevity. Wired published an article questioning Bobi’s title in December and this week Guinness World Records announced it was suspending the title and would investigate.

What you can do—

Though no pet in your area will have lived longer than Bobi (though if they have that is certainly a story), there are other ways to approach this story. Perhaps someone has a particularly unique pet or moving adoption story to highlight. Many people have deep attachments to their pets, just like Bobi’s owner, so look around for an interesting angle. It could be interesting to talk to a counselor on the importance and impact pets can have. Some people train animals specifically as therapy animals — see if any families in your community are trainers or have a therapy animal. 

Moving away from the animal theme, there may be a local record holder in any number of competitions. Perhaps someone is gunning for a world record and a story could follow their preparation process.


It’s always membership season

Beat the rush — nominate members today

Winter has begun, so 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. 

Remember, it can take up to three weeks to process and send an order during the peak spring season, which traditionally starts next month. Also, plan ahead. We are unable to overnight orders during the weeks of March 4, March 11 and April 1.

> Start the process here.

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 next meeting will take place tonight from 7-8 p.m. Central, and our topic of discussion will be fundraising

Please ask interested students to fill out this form by noon today. Once students fill out the form, they will automatically receive a notification for all subsequent meetings. Participants who signed up will also receive a reminder the week before the event and the Zoom link the Friday prior to the event. 

We look forward to seeing you!

Sorry advisers, this is a student-only offering.

Writing, Photo, Multimedia contest open

Due date is Feb. 2 — there’s less than two weeks to enter.

The entry form is live and we are accepting submissions. Be aware, we have added a few categories and changed a few items and descriptions. The cost is $7 for all entry types and you may submit live links. If you would rather make a PDF of the submission, you may still do this as well. Please make sure to allow anyone with the link to view. Remember, we don’t accept a Google document for an entry. We only accept published work. 

Please make a note — all entries and payments will be due Feb. 2.

Make sure to include either your credit card payments or check or purchase order when you enter. The link provided on the site will take you directly to the credit card or check/purchase order page for the order. The WPM category payment option is at the bottom of the page.

Please reach out if you have any questions.

PSJA Journalism Contest Open

Portfolio contest due March 1

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 March 30, 2023 and Feb. 29, 2024. Deadline for entries will be Friday, March 1, 2024. An awards ceremony will occur after judging is finalized. 

For PSJA members, the cost for your school is $20 per entry. Non-members pay $25 per entry. To become a member of PSJA, email PSJA Director David Cutler ([email protected]) and sign up for the PSJA newsletter.

Make sure to include either your credit card payments or check or purchase order when you enter. The link provided on the site will take you directly to the credit card or check/purchase order page for the order. The PSJA category payment option is at the bottom of the page.

If you are interested in entering the contest, please see our website.

Free Spirit Conference Applications available until March 1

2024 Free Spirit Conference: In June 2024, the Freedom Forum will host its annual Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference June 22-27 for high school juniors. Students selected for the program receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the nation’s capital where they hear from journalists, as well as a $1,000 scholarship to the college of their choice. Applications are due March 1.

Plan ahead

We will be out of the office during the weeks of March 4, March 11 and April 1. We will not be able to send or process orders during these weeks — or overnight orders. 

Also, we will not publish the Weekly Scroll during the weeks of March 11, 17 and April 8. Please make sure to plan accordingly. 

Spring convention registration open

Join us in Kansas City for the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention. This year’s convention will be at the Crown Center. Registration opened Jan. 17 and the hotel link is available to all registrants Jan. 24. Join us for “At the Heart of the Story” at the JEA/NSPA spring convention April 4-6.

Just a thought

Quill and Scroll’s Student Advisory Board is doing great things.

Our Collaboration Project, as outlined above, facilitates a monthly discussion for students only. This group doesn’t claim to have the answers. It truly is a group who wants to provide questions to help the group work to collaborate and provide ideas. Please encourage your students to fill out this form by noon for tonight’s discussion about fundraising ideas.

We have another group working on creating more Chapter Activities. I anticipate we will publish these within the next month. I will highlight these in future Weekly Scrolls.

Talking with and working with these students is a highlight for me. I encourage you to take advantage of all they offer.

— Lori Keekley