April 22, 2024

Our past three editions

April 1, 2024 Birth control • Colorado River • Beyoncé

March 25, 2024 SAT test • TikTok • Solar eclipse

March 4, 2024 FAFSA • Measles • Election


Some states are pushing back against book bans

Talk to librarians, dive into legislation 

The end of 2023 brought with it an “unprecedented” surge in book bans across the country — free expression group PEN America said that from July through December of 2023 there were 4,349 instances of book bans across 23 states. That is more than were banned in the 2022-2023 school year in total, reported NPR.

Some states, like New Jersey and Massachusetts, have proposed library-friendly measures that would prohibit book bans or forbid the harassment of school librarians, The Washington Post reported. This wave of support is being outpaced by bills in mostly red states that aim to restrict book offerings or threaten librarians with prison or fines. There are 100 such bills in at least 27 states, according to The Post.

What you can do —

A majority of states introduced some sort of legislation regarding book bans in 2024, according to The Post, so it is likely your state is among them. Check in on the status of any bills and talk to the primary authors to get more insight. There are also advocacy groups who are passionate about book banning. 

Beyond the legislative angle, talking to your school’s librarians about any challenges they have faced or are currently facing would be interesting. Not every district has had widespread book bans, but your librarian likely knows someone who has dealt with book bans recently. Depending what state you are in, this topic could make for some interesting data visualizations — the American Library Association has some data available for use.


Jane Goodall encourages youth to use their voices

Profile conservation, advocacy efforts at school

Jane Goodall became a household name for her groundbreaking research about chimpanzees, but now she is turning her attention elsewhere: empowering young people. In a recent interview with CNN, she said she founded Roots & Shoots, a global movement encouraging youth to speak up, because she was meeting young people who had lost hope. 

Roots & Shoots was founded in Tanzania in 1991 and is now active in 70 countries. Its main message, Goodall said, is that every person still has a role to play in the environment. 

What you can do —

Roots & Shoots is a youth-based movement, so it is entirely possible there are students at your school who are already involved. Some schools have a specific Roots & Shoots club that could be profiled. It would be interesting to talk to student leaders about what efforts they are overseeing at your school and why they got involved. 

This advocacy effort could also be used as a jumping off point for any number of conservation related stories — Does your school have a good recycling program? How is your district trying to conserve energy? Are there other advocacy groups in your district? 

Roots & Shoots’ website has a lot of information about the cause, including a map of active groups. 

What’s viral

Taylor Swift releases new album

Check in with fans after ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ premier

In true popstar format, Taylor Swift announced her next album on stage at the Grammy Awards as she accepted the award for Best Pop Vocal Album for “Midnights.” Her newest album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” came out April 19. 

Last time Swift released an album — “Midnights” in October 2022 — the streaming service Spotify temporarily went down. Though that didn’t happen with this release, Swift did drop an additional 15 songs in a double album titled “The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology.”

What you can do —

The album has only been out for a few days, but the Swifties at your school are sure to have listened on repeat over the weekend. Capture reactions to the 16-track album and see who was able to snag one of the four versions with a bonus track. A person-on-the-street style video of students sharing their favorite moments in the album would be a great multimedia twist. 

Check out social media reactions to the album as well — Swift has been dropping hints for her fans for weeks, so the social media craze is sure to be strong. 


It’s always membership season

Don’t be left out this year, nominate members year round — including freshmen

It’s our busiest time of the year. Make sure to nominate students for membership order pins, cords and other Quill and Scroll materials and memorabilia now. 

Don’t forget you may now recommend freshmen for membership. We made this bylaw change in February after requests from several advisers.

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. 

Additionally our mail service is sporadic at best. It can take up to three weeks to process and send an order during this time.

Start the process here.

Workshop set for June 24-27, in Dallas

The Gloria Shields NSPA Media Workshop returns to the Dallas/Addison Marriott Quorum by the Galleria June 24-27, 2024, with bonus classes on June 23. Workshop registration is $140 per student or adviser.  The extra cost for the Sunday bonus class is $20 per person.

In 2023, 680 students from 85 schools took advantage of the instruction from our exceptional faculty. Watch the workshop website for additional 2024 workshop details as they become available.

> Watch the preview video for 2024.

Deadline approaches for 2024 Vanessa Shelton Chapter of the Year

Has your chapter been active in Quill and Scroll this year? If so, it’s time to apply for the Chapter of the Year. The deadline to apply has been extended to May 3.

Chapters must have initiated members in each of the past three years.

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.

During the past 98 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 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 April 19 and the winner will be announced mid-May. The application form is on our website

Final scrolls

We will publish our final Weekly Scroll May 6. We will resume publishing next fall Sept. 9.

Just a thought

Thank you to all who stopped by the booth or attended the Quill and Scroll award ceremonies at the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention. It was great to see you!

For those of you who stopped by, you had a sneak peek at our new sticker, which is also pictured here. This originated from someone asking if we had one. 

While Quill and Scroll is 98 years old, we do want to make it responsive to your needs. If you have an idea, please send it to me. We want to help you in whatever way we can.

— Lori Keekley