The Weekly Scroll

August 26, 2019

News, tips and advice from Quill and Scroll

The Lede

Hurricane Dorian ravages Bahamas, still threatens Florida

The Bahamas have been devastated by the storm scientists are calling Hurricane Dorian, and now Dorian is bearing down on the southeast coast of the United States, including Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Check here for more updates throughout the day and week.

Amazon afire is product of arson encouraged by Brazilian administration

The Amazon is a mammoth of an area in South America that spans across eight countries, containing one in 10 known species on Earth and half the planet’s remaining tropical forests. It is a rich and diverse region that stabilizes both the local and global climate because of its 90 to 140 billions metric tons of carbon, according to World Wildlife Fund.

It is on fire.

At the hands of an environmentally careless Brazilian government, deforestation of the Amazon rainforest has increased eightfold in the last year. In addition, environmental policy violations have pushed indigenous people out and economic development in.

Social media users expressed their frustration with the news media on Twitter, claiming a lack of media coverage contributed to the prolonged fires in the Amazon. However, media outlets like CNN, The New York Times and more have covered the fires as early as June. It brings to light the effect social media news can have on its users with people developing echo chambers for information instead of seeking out news actively and looking at updates for issues that concern more than just the United States.

Much of the outcry regarding the Amazon fires claim inaccuracies, such as the argument that the Amazon provides 20 percent of the world’s oxygen. In actuality, the Amazon is not the Earth’s lungs as it produces 6 percent of oxygen that contributes to the world’s unusual abundance of free oxygen largely upheld by underground fossil fuels, according to researcher and science writer Peter Brannon. Read more about it in The Atlantic.

215 respiratory illness cases possibly tied to vaping

Dani Ramos, Unsplash

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated the number of respiratory illness cases possibly tied to vaping and usage of e-cigarettes to 215 on Aug. 27, releasing a statement in conjunction with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The cases span a total of 25 states. Pulmonary illnesses are also being investigated for ties to vaping and e-cigarette usage.

“While some cases in each of the states are similar and appear to be linked to e-cigarette product use, more information is needed to determine what is causing the respiratory illnesses,” the U.S. CDC and the Food and Drug Administration said.

On Aug. 23, the Illinois Department of Public Health released a Twitter statement attributing the death of a man to a severe respiratory illness that could be tied to vaping: “The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) learned of the death of an individual who had recently vaped and was hospitalized with severe respiratory illness. Learn more about the dangers of vaping here:” The possible vaping death could be the first reported in the nation.

The vaping and Juuling phenomenon is primarily tied to the demographic of youth and young adults, with 4.9 million junior high and high school student consumers, according to the CDC’s 2018 Vital Signs report. As the tobacco industry continues to be dominated by vaping products and e-cigarettes, consumption of them by children, adolescents and young adults continues to show dangerous trends and effects.

It’s An Honor

“I TELL THE TRUTH” t-shirts available for your staff

Now is the time to order your Quill and Scroll “I TELL THE TRUTH — I’m a journalist” t-shirts. As you know, “Truth” is the first pillar upon which Quill and Scroll was founded in 1926.

We’re taking pre-orders from now through Sept. 15, 2019, and we’ll deliver your shirts by Oct. 15, 2019 or earlier. Every time we get to 100 t-shirts ordered, we’ll print up a new batch and ship them to you.

All profits will go to the Quill and Scroll Scholarship Fund, which benefits Quill and Scroll members who plan to study journalism in college.

Just fill out the form at this link to tell us how many you want in each size. We’re offering a unisex style and a female-fit style. RAYGUN is printing the shirts for us, and you can read about their “USA-made” t-shirts here.

Of course, we’d like every Quill and Scroll member to wear one, but these shirts are good for any journalist.

We will accept only credit card payments, and there’s a per-order charge for that, so order all your t-shirts at one time and save!

Yearbook Excellence Contest entries are being accepted

The 2019 Yearbook Excellence Contest is underway and Quill and Scroll will accept entries through Thursday, Oct. 10. Just go to this page, and you’ll see rules, guidelines and forms for entry. Entries cost $5 for individual entries and $10 for a school’s theme development entry. Don’t wait for the last minute, get this done now to see how your work stacks up against those of your peers from schools across the U.S. and Canada.

News Media Evaluation critiques announcement next week

Quill and Scroll’s News Media Evaluation service judges are almost done with their work for 2019, and they’ve already identified several news publications, in print and online, that will receive the prestigious Gallup Award from Q&S. Look in this space next week to find out the winners.

Evaluations will be sent back to advisers next week so they can begin to share our judges’ insights with student journalists.

Quill and Scroll on the road

Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash

Quill and Scroll Executive Director Jeff Browne will again be touring nearby states this fall for their various journalism conferences. So far on this year’s itinerary:

  • Sept. 26 in Fort Collins, Colorado for Journalism Day at CSU
  • Oct. 21 in Lincoln, Nebraska for the NHSPA fall convention
  • Oct. 24 in Iowa City, Iowa for the IHSJA fall conference
  • Nov. 21-23 in Washington, D.C. for the National High School Journalism Convention

Let us know when your state is hosting its conference because we’d love to have a presence there. And if you see Jeff, stop by his table to say “hell0.”

What’s Viral?

New study finds many genes influence same-sex behavior

Jasmine Sessler, Pixabay

The largest study of same-sex sexual behavior, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Science magazine, unveiled that non-heterosexual behavior not only has a genetic component, but that the component is a third responsible for whether someone has same-sex sex. The study proposes same-sex behavior is normal and natural, for it’s written into the genes and environment of individuals, M.I.T. and Harvard geneticist, and one of the lead international researchers, Benjamin Neale told the New York Times.

The study of almost half a million white people of European descent, excluding Trans people, was controversial and a point of contention for some who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community who feared findings could advance agendas of hate against them and that community. However, the lead researchers consider the findings of this study to show the public that diversity is natural not only in experience but genetics, which Dr. Neal finds “to actually just be beautiful.”

“Chicken sandwich wars” consume social media, becoming logistical nightmare

The competition between Chick-fil-A and Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen escalated into a full-blown war within 15 minutes. It started with Chick-fil-A’s a thinly veiled shot at Popeye’s with a twitter post stating, “Bun + Chicken + Pickles = all the ♥ for the original.” An intense 15 minutes of brainstorming from Popeye’s marketing officials before tweeting “… y’all good?” at Chick-fil-A.

That was all it took to jumpstart a social media craze concerning which chicken sandwich was better, creating a proliferation of chicken sandwich memes, hours upon hours of unexpected overtime for Popeye’s workers and locations selling out within a few hours, according to The New York Times. The craze forced Popeye’s to announce their restaurants would not be offering the famed chicken sandwich for the time being, since their simply wasn’t enough chicken to keep up with the demand.

The return of the sandwich is still to be determined, so it looks like media users will have to find something else to obsess over for now—like doing the most they can to save the planet, since the deadline is 18 months.

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Just a Thought

Is print dead?

A short opinion piece by Q&S Journalist Nichole Shaw


The cost of newspaper and magazine production is going up as circulation, ad revenue, and job postings wither away. Those trends are leading journalists and consumers alike to write print journalism off as good as dead, adapting to the presence and expansion of digital journalism in their daily lives. However, a new balance between digital and print is emerging for those that have learned to localize a story and maximize coverage at the local and state level to avoid misconduct and corruption from those in power. That’s what Indian newspapers have done, resulting in print newspaper revenue expected to reach 354 billion rupees—or almost $5 billion.

In the U.S., The New York Times Magazine also fares well because of its feature articles and notable contributors. The recent issue of the #1619Project spearheaded by Nikole Hannah-Jones, whom Q&S interviewed in the fall of 2018, sold out numerous times online and in New York newspaper stands.