The Weekly Scroll

August 26, 2019

News, tips and advice from Quill and Scroll

The Lede

Global Climate Strike forces businesses and governments to pay attention

Thousands of protestors gather in solidarity for the Global Climate Strike, Sept. 20, 2019.

Global Climate Strike

Led by 16-year-old Swede Greta Thunberg Friday, millions of people across the world banded together to protest fossil fuel emissions, environmental protection deregulation and ignorance of climate change. From New York to Afghanistan, individuals ranging from elementary school students to senior citizens came together to draw attention to the dire state of planet Earth.

BBC News came out with a story in July that uncovered the truth about how much time humans really have to save the planet. Earlier reports by scientists suggested 12 years. That was revised to 18 months, 16 of which is left for action.

As a response to that knowledge and other reports by scientists, the Global Climate Strike was launched by students who set the example in their “Fridays for Future” school strikes for the climate. They are demanding actions from lawmakers and big businesses by walking out of class every Friday to not only draw attention to, but summon action upon the climate crisis. The strike is set to continue on Sept. 27 and millions are expected to engage.

Thunberg is credited with raising global awareness of the current climate crisis our planet is in, and she is known for holding politicians and lawmakers accountable for their actions or lack thereof. Sept. 18, 2019, Thunberg spoke to Congress, urging them to listen to scientists regarding the climate crisis and come up with actions and regulations that will help save the planet.

The global impact of the strike prompted the closure of Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, Lush Cosmetics, Badger Balm, Burton and SodaStrean for the day. Several other hundred businesses gave their employees time off in support of the strike. The list can be found here.

In a more localized view of the Climate Strike, six University of Chicago Laboratory High School students covered the Chicago Youth Climate Strike on Friday, which began in Grant Park and ended at the Federal Plaza. To read their stories and coverage, click here.

Below you can find the #ClimateStrike twitter hashtag that consumed social media Friday.

Iconic journalist Cokie Roberts dies

Cokie Roberts, Twitter

NPR and ABC News legend Cokie Roberts set the standard for exceptional political commentary. On Sept. 17, Roberts left us at the age of 75 due to breast cancer complications. The journalism world will forever miss her.

As an expert on Washington politics, Roberts contribution to journalism is unmeasured, as she educated the public on the U.S. government, how to be good voters and be good citizens. She was an icon, and is remembered as such by the Obamas and colleague Nina Totenberg:

“[Roberts was] a trailblazing figure; a role model to young women at a time when the profession was still dominated by men; a constant over forty years of a shifting media landscape and changing world, informing voters about the issues of our time and mentoring young journalists every step of the way,” Michelle and Barack Obama said in a statement.

“The country knew her as this always polite political reporter, willing to ask the impolitic question if necessary — this funny, wise, smart woman, who could write circles around most reporters,” Nina Totenberg wrote in an NPR piece.

In your newsrooms, practice journalism and human decency as the Radio Television Digital News Association showed Roberts did:

  • Don’t listen to people that say you can’t do something
  • Look into good ideas and solutions, not just problems
  • Be a mentor to and advocate for those less powerful in the newsroom
  • Work matters, but family comes first.
  • Be kind. Be human.

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.

Pre-ordering ended Tuesday, Sept. 17 for guaranteed Oct. 15 delivery, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get great journalism swag! Get yours today in order to support the Quill and Scroll Scholarship Fund, which benefits Quill and Scroll members who plan to study journalism in college. All profits will go to the fund.

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.

Our new video is ready!

News Media Evaluation critiques announced

Quill and Scroll’s News Media Evaluation service judges are done with their work for 2019, and they’ve identified 15 news publications—in print and online—that received the prestigious Gallup Award from Q&S. Click here to find out who the winners were.

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?

NYTimes news analysis of Brett Kavanaugh sexual harassment allegations stirred controversy

Mark Thomas, Pixabay

A new sexual harassment allegation was published in a news analysis essay by the New York Times Review regarding Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The allegation sparked widespread criticism, but not in the way you might think.

The allegation published lacked a key fact: the alleged victim of the incident didn’t remember it. Not only that, the piece was promoted with a surprisingly insensitive tweet from the New York Times Opinion account, written by co-author of the essay Robin Pogrebin.

The tweet, which has since been deleted, seemed to minimize sexual harassment at a college party by referring to it as “harmless fun.”

Dismay over the Times’ handling of the story erupted from both conservatives who have long defended Kavanaugh and feminists who fought against Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Read the essay here or a review of the criticism here.

New digital literacy project breaks through to teenagers

Poynter created a new project aimed to help teenagers separate good news from fake news and fiction online by 2020. The project is called MediaWise, and it’s targeted to 1 million teenagers—half of them from under-served communities. Poynter and Stanford History Education Group’s research showed teens struggle to navigate through the slough of digital information available to them on different platforms.

MediaWise’s approach is unorthodox, as they live primarily on social media, especially Snapchat. However, they’ve just started an aggregation of their fact-checks on a blog. This approach has maximized reach to teens by meeting them where they already exist. The project requires that student journalists do the fact-checking and news reporting themselves for other teenagers to receive and engage with.

Read more about MediaWise and their work here. Consider how your newsrooms and publications might implement similar methods for reporting and fact-checking to actually reach the audience you’re writing for: teenagers. Maybe follow MediaWise’s lead and increase your social media coverage of news, among other facets of journalism, in order to maximize engagement and ensure teens are really being taught how to decipher the overwhelming amount of information that is out there on the web.

“The Future is Ms.”

Ms. Magazine

Ms. Magazine, a publication founded by feminists Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes, is accepting pitches from self-identified teenage girls for their column. Their editor, Katina Paron, is accepting pitches for the “The Future is Ms.” column, set to be released in winter 2020, to highlight the stories and and work of teen girls who are impacting the world and the lives of others.

For those interested in sending a submission, keep in mind environmental movement teen girl leaders have received consistent mainstream media publicity. Thus, Ms. is looking for stories about either specific environmental issues or local level issues. Pitch submission does not have to be exclusive to environmental issues/leadership.

Paron requests those looking to pitch read previous published pieces here. For more background on the column, read this Call for Pitches.
The pitch should include the specific impact of the teen. Send pitches to [email protected] by Tues. Sept. 24, 2019, with urls/pdfs of clips, if possible.

Just a Thought

How to have conversations about the news instead of bone-headed arguments

A short opinion piece by Nichole Shaw of Q&S

Author and Philosopher Peter Boghossian gives his take on how to turn impossible conversations into productive ones. He has three tips:

  1. Use scales—measure your differences and escape yes/no dead-ends.
  2. What evidence might actually change your mind?—imagine a world where you are wrong.
  3. Know what you know—admit you might not know enough to have a confident position on something and are open to learning more.

“Improving our conversations is vital because it enables us to solve shared problems,” Boghossian said.

Think about how this strategy might help you when dealing with administrators, parents, other students or community members when discussing the content and coverage of your newspaper, website, broadcast news outlets, yearbook or news magazine. Otherwise, have a great week!