The Weekly Scroll for November 30, 2018

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News, tips and advice from the Quill and Scroll International Honor Society
Compiled and written by Quill and Scroll journalist Nichole Shaw


The Lede

Predicted trade truce for the U.S. and China

Markus Spiske/Unsplash

The “trade war” that broke out early this summer between the United States and China is predicted to end this weekend at the G-20 Summit in Buenos Aires. President Trump has indicated a willingness to strike a deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping despite the tough guise he has put on with threats of higher tariffs, according to The New York Times.

However, there have also been signs of a creeping anxiety from a prolonged trade war between the U.S. and China. As the two largest economic powers in the world, costs of a prolonged trade war on the financial markets and the broader economy would be detrimental for both the U.S. and China.

The soybean industry has been hit particularly hard by this trade war as soybean exports are down by 40 percent. To read the full story, click here. Trump also made headlines earlier this week when he threatened to cut all subsidies for General Motors after they announced their plan to cut thousands of jobs to ease the burden of spending billions in the future. Read that story here.

Senate considers ending U.S. support in Saudi-led war in Yemen

Pinky Binks/Unsplash

U.S. senators indicate they want to penalize Saudi Arabia for their involvement in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi with a procedural vote for legislation to end U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. This 63-67 vote comes as a rebuke to Saudi Arabia and the Trump administration, who issued a veto threat.

Trump and his administration is worried that lack of U.S. support in the war will negatively impact economic trade between the two countries and claim diplomatic efforts to end the conflict are already underway, according to The Washington Post. Read the full story here.


It’s an Honor

Quill and Scroll Scholarship Fundraiser

Quill and Scroll is looking to raise money for its scholarship fund, which pays out thousands of dollars annually to high school seniors across the world who apply for the award and have experience in and a passion for journalism. Visit our facebook page here to donate money to the Quill and Scroll International Honor Society’s Scholarship Fund. We award up to five scholarships every year to Quill and Scroll members who have distinguished themselves as high school journalists and plan to study journalism in college. Your contribution will make an impact, whether you donate $5 or $500. Every little bit helps. Thank you for your support. You can find past winners of Quill and Scroll scholarships here with pictures below.

2018 Quill and Scroll scholarship winners

Yearbook Excellence Contest

The entries for the 2018 Yearbook Excellence Contest have been sent to judges, and they have a Nov. 30 deadline to complete their work. We hope to announce all winners by early January.

Quill and Scroll’s Fall 2018 Magazine

Quill and Scroll’s Fall 2018 Magazine was released this month. Check your emails for the link to the e-issue if you’re a subscriber. If not, you still have access to four of the stories that were featured in the fall issue here! To start a subscription with us, call (319) 335-3457. Subscription rates are $17 per year and $30 for two years. Check out some of our past issues here. Below is a sneak peak of our fall issue.


Writing, Photo, and Multimedia Winning Entries Available

Quill & Scroll’s annual Writing, Photo, and Multimedia Contest for 2018 is complete, and winning entries are now available for your perusal. A complete list of winners can be found here along with a brief showcase of and links to the award-winning work.

The 2019 Contest will be open for entries from December 2018 through Feb. 5, 2019. Work entered should have been published online or in a news publication between Feb. 1, 2018 and Feb. 1, 2019. As always, students who finish in the top 10 percent in any category are eligible for Quill and Scroll scholarships.

Quill and Scroll teams with


  • Need a meaningful Q&S chapter activity this semester?
  • Hope to solve a problem in your community or school?
  • Want to interact with policy-makers and journalists?
  • Want to earn prizes for your civic engagement?

Quill and Scroll has partnered with to help you develop skills in reporting on, writing about, and devising solutions for issues in your school or hometown. You can read about the partnership on our webpage here, or you can download the pretty flier we created just for this partnership. If you have any questions, you may contact Q&S’s Jeff Browne at [email protected] or TheChisel’s Deborah Devedjian at [email protected].

Does your school have a Q&S Charter?

If you’re unsure of your school’s charter status, check the Q&S charter page to search for your school! Have a charter? Simply re-activate your charter by emailing [email protected]. Not on the list? Click here to open your charter, get your official Q&S banner, and begin inducting students.k


What’s viral?

SpongeBob Creator Stephen Hillenburg dies at 57


The creator of the iconic childhood television show, SpongeBob, died on Monday at the age of 57. He had been battling the neurodegenerative disease ALS, which he revealed he was diagnosed with last year. A former marine biology teacher, Hillenburg created the show in 1999, which to his surprise became a huge cultural phenomenon that we still watch and reference today on social media in the form of relatable memes.

Hillenburg’s work with animation in the show led to his special Emmy Award earlier this year. In lieu of his death, Nickelodeon will be airing a SpongeBob SquarePants marathon in honor of his work.

Elton John Christmas ad shows power of video storytelling

The recent release of a John Lewis & Partners Christmas advertisement has gained wide attention with more than 11 million views by youtube consumers alone. The ad features music legend Elton John and his heartfelt and powerful journey in the music industry, tracing it back to the one moment that really immersed him into his love for music: a gift of a piano on Christmas morning as a small child.

This video shows the power of video storytelling as the audience is moved by the various video sequences that showcase the entire scope of Elton John’s experience with music through the instrument of a piano. Visual media is becoming a medium consumers are engaging in more and more, especially with social media. Try experimenting with video storytelling yourself to get your audience to engage with the material you put out. Watch the full advert below:


Just a Thought

Science Journalism


Science journalism is a beat that often is overlooked or written off as a niche market that doesn’t have a lot of appeal to many readers. However. that’s far from the truth, and non-profit organizations like The Open Notebook challenge this perspective by showing that science writing is interesting and can be applied to virtually any topic and catered to any audience.

Science journalism can often provide a unique angle for a story, piquing interest in a topic and providing factual, fair and accurate information to readers. Science reporting also isn’t that different from covering other beats because science stories often stem directly from the focus of keeping up with the constant flow of news. To learn more about how to break into science writing or just learn more about science journalism in general, click here.

Importance of fact checking in Trump era and during chaotic social times


The trust of the public in journalism has been a precarious belief since tabloids first came about in the 19th century, along with yellow journalism often associated with George Randolph Hearst’s newspapers. Nowadays, public trust in the accuracy and fairness of journalism has dwindled and been put into question even more with President Trump’s campaign against “fake news” and traditional media legacies like CNN and The New York Times.

In order to combat being lumped into “fake news,” news consumers need to become critical news consumers. They must read past the headline, check the outlet, identify if the date and time of publication is recent, verify the author, evaluate the links to sources, identify confirmation bias, check if other news outlets reporting on it and share stories carefully. Educate your friends and family about the true work that goes into a newsroom and a journalist’s responsibility to the truth and the public.

So called “fake news” has always existed, but quality journalism has always survived and risen above. To learn more about the history of fake news and see how you can combat it and recognize it, click here.

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