Weekly Scroll for January 18, 2019

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


The Lede

Matthew Henry, Unsplash

First Amendment freedoms are at risk in 2019

Systemic challenges regarding First Amendment freedom are surmounting in a growing list for 2019 already, according to the Freedom Forum Institute. “Anonymous” speech is relatively nonexistent with people’s use of social media and “the abilities of artificial intelligence to collect, collate and match social media and online data about any one,” the Institute claims.

The Freedom Forum Institute argues that people have put a twist on the Big Brother of George Orwell’s “1984” by virtually installing government surveillance just by using a smartphone, tablet, and other technological devices. This surveillance poses a huge threat to a reporter’s ability to secretly meet with a source for a sensitive story about government corruption, invasive national security policy or a botched criminal investigation.

The biggest threat to 2019 is the spread of misinformation, and newsrooms are working every day to eliminate or reduce that threat with accurate reporting and fact-checking tools. To read the full Freedom Forum Institute article on the journalistic freedoms that are at risk, click here.

Facebook invests in local news

William Iven, Pixabay

After being accused of taking away from local news organizations, Facebook announced its plan to invest $300 million to help revive the news industry. Money will be awarded to nonprofits and local newspapers to fund reporting and help publishers reach paying subscribers for their stories. Social media platforms like Facebook have demolished ad revenue for news organizations, taking away billions of dollars. To get the full story, click here to watch a Reuters TV video that reports on Facebook’s investment in detail.

Nebraska and Virginia introduce student free expression bills


On Jan. 11, the judiciary committee in Nebraska’s unicameral legisature proposed a bill “to provide protection for freedom of speech and freedom of the press for student journalists; to provide protection for student media advisers; to provide immunity for schools; and to provide exceptions.” If this bill were to become a law, it would mirror the student free expression laws already in existence in 14 other states. Read the bill here.

Virginia is following in a similar matter as journalists-turned-Democratic-lawmakers Del. Chris Hurst and Danica Roem push for legislation “to protect student journalists from censorship and their faculty advisers from punishment,” according to The Roanoke Times. Roem’s bill would allow confidential sources security in the inability for a court to force their revelation from journalists. In a similar vein, “Hurst’s bill would prohibit schools from limiting students’ rights to free press and speech unless such content was libelous, slanderous, violates federal or state law or incites students to create a clear and present danger, violates policies or disrupts the school setting,” according to The Roanoke Times. To read the full story, click here.


It’s an Honor

2019 Writing, Photo and Multimedia Contest deadline approaching

Quill and Scroll’s Writing, Photo and Multimedia Contest is now open, and that means it’s time to send in your entries before our final deadline of Feb. 6, 2019. This year, Quill and Scroll added three video and two podcast categories in the multimedia section of the contest, bringing the total number of categories to 30, spread among writing, photo, design and digital media.

Each entry costs $5, and winning students will be eligible for Quill and Scroll scholarships at the end of the school year. Click here to visit our WPM Contest page for more information on how to enter and the contest itself. A complete list of winners can be found here along with a brief showcase of and links to the award-winning work.

Yearbook Excellence Contest winners announced

The entries for the 2018 Yearbook Excellence Contest have been judged and Quill and Scroll congratulates McKinney High School (Texas) and Calvary Day School (Georgia) for earning Staff Excellence Blue and Gold Awards for their overall performance. The Blue and Gold Awards note the best high school journalism offers. Winners of this prestigious award have distinguished themselves in visuals and/or writing categories in the regular Yearbook Excellence Contest.
A full list of the 179 national winners of the 2018 Yearbook Excellence Contest can be found here. The professionals serving as judges commended the winners on their heightened creativity, fine reporting, in-depth captions and strong visual packages. In addition, the theme development winners were commended for their unique designs and diligent work in producing creative yearbooks.
Keep an eye out for our May announcement on how to enter into the 2019 Yearbook Excellence Contest.

Keep a look out for upcoming Q&S podcasts


Quill and Scroll is looking to feature famed retired police officer Ron Stallworth in our Fifth Light: INITIATIVE podcast later this month. Stallworth infiltrated the ranks of the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado Springs and was the subject of the movie success BlacKkKlansman. We’re hoping to hear him show scholastic journalists the realities of going undercover to attain information from sources.


Tell us what you’re doing for Scholastic Journalism Week

Quill and Scroll encourages you to send in shorts about what activities your chapter will be engaging in during Scholastic Journalism Week before Feb. 18. Send all information to [email protected]. 

2019 Spring Q&S Magazine to be released in March

Quill and Scroll’s 2019 Magazine is set to be released March 15. The theme of this spring’s edition will be “50 Years of Tinker” in recognition of a remembrance of the Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District that opened the door to a new era of student free expression in public high schools, and that included free expression in student newspapers and yearbooks. The magazine will feature stories from news media professionals and scholastic journalists alike.

To receive the 2019 Magazine when it’s released, sign up for a Quill and Scroll membership or magazine subscription by either going online here or calling us at 319-335-33457. Below you can find a sneak peak of our Fall 2018 Magazine.


News Media Evaluation Gallup Award winners showcased

The 2018 News Media Evaluation Gallup Award winners have been put together in a slideshow to showcase the exceptional excellence of their publications along with judge commentary. The list of winners can be found here and the slideshow should be released by next week.

13 school publications from ten states and British Columbia were recognized as George H. Gallup Award recipients for their extraordinary improvement, exceptional service to the school and community, editorial campaigns, and in-depth reporting on special issues.

The News Media Evaluation Contest will open up for entry submission between April 1 through June 15, 2019, so keep an eye out for that.

Establish a Q&S charter and membership

Q&S charters are granted for the lifetime of the school, and there are no annual dues. School membership automatically grants student membership for one student journalist for free. A charter also allows all of the school’s media advisers to automatically become members of Quill and Scroll and recommend students for induction into the honor society. Forming a charter at your school will allow students and advisers alike to conduct service activities and engage in scholastic journalism development programming. 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.
Individual student membership is also granted for a lifetime after a one-time initiation fee. The Society then provides the initiate with an official membership pin, membership certificate, and a one-year subscription to Quill & Scroll magazine. Membership is a great way for students to be provided with resources and support that allows their work as journalists to flourish. Click here to learn more about establishing a membership with Q&S.

Q&S Scholarships

Q&S encourages students and advisers alike to apply for our scholarships.

For students, that means filling out this application if you are an eligible senior who was a national winner in the International Writing, Photography and Multimedia Contest, Blogging Competition or the Yearbook Excellence Contest. Scholarships can be used for tuition, room and board at any college or university that offers a major in journalism or related areas of communications such as multimedia, broadcast, graphic design, strategic communications, and photography.

For advisers, that means applying for the Lester G. Benz Memorial Scholarship for College Journalism Study if you have had at least six semester hours of journalism courses and a minimum of four years of teaching experience and advising school publications, are currently teaching a journalistic writing class, and plan to return to the high school classroom and media advising next year to apply the information gained in the course work taken as a result of this scholarship. Download that application here.

Quill and Scroll is asking for donations to the 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. To donate click the button below. Thank you for your support.


What’s viral?

2009 v. 2019

Instagram pictures of throwbacks are taking the world by storm again, but this time with the trend #10YearChallenge. The 10 Year Challenge (and you grammar nerds know it should be 10-Year Challenge, right?) puts a spin on the classic #ThrowbackThursday fad, requiring participants of the challenge to create a side by side comparison of themselves to see the changes in appearance that have occurred since 2009 to today’s 2019. Celebrities such as make-up guru Patrick Star are even getting in on the challenge.

View this post on Instagram

#2009vs2019 #pastorPAT #10yearchallenge

A post shared by patrickstarrr (@patrickstarrr) on

Think about a way your school could feature a story that compares the year 2009 and 2019 to exhibit the changes that have occurred in your community or school. It could lead to some interesting discoveries and a fun way to engage your audiences in your publication.


Just a Thought

Bullying increased in areas of Virginia that voted for Trump


A research study found bullying and teasing occurred at higher rates in areas where voters in the 2016 election favored Donald Trump over Hilary Clinton. The study was conducted by University of Missouri Associate Professor Francis Huang and University of Virginia Professor Dewey Cornell, collecting data from a survey that recorded the responses of over 150,000 students across Virginia. As of now, school bullying rates have remained relatively flat with 1 in 5 bullied students in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Is bullying a problem at your school? Has it worsened or increased since the 2016 presidential election? Conduct a survey and find out. To read more about the research study, read this NPR article.

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