Feb. 5, 2024

Our past three editions

Jan. 29, 2024 Groundwater • Oscars • Mexican food

Jan. 22, 2024 Disinformation • Road signs • World’s oldest dog

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


Public universities in Virginia may end legacy admissions

Explore how this changes the admissions process, prepare for college commitment season

Both the House of Delegates and the State Senate in Virginia have approved a bill that would eliminate a preference toward children of alumni in the application process to the state’s public universities. The law, once signed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin, would take effect after admissions decisions have been made for next fall. 

This change comes in the wake of the Supreme Court banning race-conscious admissions in June. A number of other universities have eliminated legacy admissions, Colorado has banned legacy preferences in its public universities and similar legislation has been introduced in Congress. 

According to data from the Department of Education released in December, 579 universities consider legacy status.

What you can do —

Though college admission season hasn’t fully picked up steam, it is just around the corner. This change, alongside the end of Affirmative Action, are fundamental changes to the college admissions processes at many institutions. Talking to college seniors about how the admissions process is going and if they support these changes can localize this story outside of Virginia. Your school may also have alumni at Virginia Schools or current students applying, and they may have an interesting take. 

Though decision day is still almost two months away, students who are interested in playing sports in college may have already signed letters of intent. Check with coaches at your school to see if any standout athletes have been recruited.


New York government pushes back on social media’s effect on youth

Look into your state’s approach to social media

Top elected officials in New York have recently expressed their discontent with social media’s effect on children’s privacy and mental health. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James are pushing measures that would limit collection of data from minors and restrict exposure to addictive algorithms, Gothamist resorts. Mayor Eric Adams went so far as to declare social media a “public health crisis hazard” in his State of the City address. 

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 12 states adopted measures last year to address social media and mental health, with a total of 35 states introducing related legislation. 

What you can do —

Since the majority of states introduced legislation surrounding mental health and social media, there is a chance your state is among them. If so, dive into the proposed legislation, its current status and what implications it could have if implemented. Beyond talking to advocates and lawmakers, talk to students and parents about the effects they have seen first hand and if they think legislation could be effective. 

If your state is one of the 12 that enacted legislation, check in on what its effects have been. Have students noticed a difference? Are advocates still pushing for more? Social media’s ubiquitous presence and constantly evolving nature lends itself well to reaction stories as well as news updates on changes to policies.

What’s viral

Taylor Swift and the international date line

Media literacy education can address conspiracy theories

A TV episode from 23 years ago has answered Taylor Swift fans’ questions about how the star will make it to the Super Bowl in time. Swift has a concert in Tokyo on Feb. 10, the day before her boyfriend Travis Kelce will play in the Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Writer and comedian Rohita Kadambi tweeted a scene from the NBC political drama “West Wing” that answers this question. In an episode that aired in 2001, President Jed Bartlet’s team puzzles out how the international date line affects someone traveling from Japan to the United States. 

In Swift’s case, she will finish her Tokyo concert 17 hours ahead of anything in Pacific time. Combine that with the roughly 12 hour flight back from Tokyo, and the star can theoretically make it back with a few hours to spare before the game. Beyond the “West Wing” dialogue, Swift has also been the target of right-wing conspiracy theories this week. 

A variety of right-wing media personalities have started speculating that Swift is a part of a “sprawling psychological operations plot staged by the NFL and the Democratic Party to deliver the 2024 presidential election to President Joe Biden,” according to a CNN article.

What you can do —

Though “West Wing” might not be fodder for a story, conspiracy theories can make a great media literacy case study. Harness societal interest in Taylor Swift to do some media literacy education about how to spot conspiracy theories. 

The News Literacy Project has some good tools to help students spot misinformation, including quizzes on how to vet information as credible and what posts to share. 


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.

Be recognized during Scholastic Journalism Week

Student advisory members from Quill and Scroll want to celebrate the upcoming Scholastic Journalism Week by releasing a list of a hundred reasons why scholastic journalism is here to stay. We want to include your students. Please join us by answering this short survey, which will close Feb. 7 at noon.

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 Feb. 20 from 7-8 p.m. Central, and our topic of discussion will be AI

Please ask interested students to fill out this form by Feb. 15. 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 was Feb. 2 — but we will give you until Monday at midnight to enter and submit payment

The time is now to enter. 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. 

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 — including overnight orders. 

Also, we will not publish the Weekly Scroll during the weeks of March 11, 18 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 was sent to all registrants this past week. Join us for “At the Heart of the Story” at the JEA/NSPA spring convention April 4-6.

Just a thought

I like lists — especially those of the top 10 variety. Since we’re on the brink of our busiest time of the year, we have some tips about ordering.

  1. Order early. We need at least three weeks from the time you make payment or submit your purchase order to the time of your induction. Yes, we try to ship out as soon as possible, but during the height of the order season it’s impossible to keep up. 
  2. Online forms are processed quicker, which results in the order being sent earlier. And yes, there’s a separate credit card form and check form. (Combining these into one form is clunky.)
  3. Include your email address — and turn on the UPS tracking notifications. We ship the bulk of our orders using UPS. This will allow you to know when we send the order and you will have the tracking information. 
  4. With that said, we often mail single orders or small cord orders.
  5. We’re happy to send as many orders as you would like. However, to save on shipping costs, order everything all at once. 
  6. If you need the order rushed, we have an overnight shipping service available for domestic orders at an additional charge. (We do not offer this during the weeks of March 4, March 11 and April 1. Remember, we need payment prior to sending an order overnight. We only ship to the school. If we ship to a residence or overseas, it is an additional charge. Contact our office for pricing.
  7. Remember to send the membership spreadsheet to [email protected]. We do contact advisers who don’t submit names, but we know it’s tough to remember. Make sure to have the “notify sender” button checked. 
  8. If you make an error in online order submission, just let me know — especially on a credit card transaction. We work hard to maintain our current membership fee and we are charged per transaction.
  9. Take time during the induction to celebrate your students and what they have accomplished. When I taught, I inducted my oldest son into Quill and Scroll, which made me a proud parent and adviser. 
  10. If you have questions, please let me know. I’m happy to help. Please allow 24 hours for a response from February through the end of May.

— Lori Keekley