The Weekly Scroll

October 7, 2019

News, tips and advice from Quill and Scroll

The Lede

U.S. impeachment inquiry takes an unexpected turn with Nickelback

It’s happened. The current president of the United States and social media peaked at the weirdest convergence: meme culture. On Oct. 2, Trump tweeted an edited video of Canadian post-grunge band Nickelback’s song and long-running internet meme “Photograph,” displaying an image of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden next to what Trump’s video describes as a  “Ukraine Gas Exec.”

The now-removed manipulated video suggests Joe Biden engaged in corruption in the Ukraine, even though the claimed Ukrainian oil executive is actually an American businessman named Devon Archer, according to Vox News Media.

It’s a silly thing that happened in the onslaught of information and coverage of the U.S. House of Representatives impeachment inquiry into Trump. However, it is somewhat fulfilling to know that even the chief executive of the United States has to abide by copyright infringement laws and policies.

In actual news, the President continues to lash out at Democratic and Republican lawmakers who have spoken out against Trump’s potentially impeachable offenses, which currently focus on a July phone call to the Ukrainian president in which Trump appears to pressure the Volodymyr Zelensky into opening an investigation into the Bidens in exchange for Congressionally approved defense funds already earmarked for Ukraine. Trump and his allies claim that he was simply seeking to halt corrupt practices in countries that purport to be U.S. allies.

Trump on Saturday tweeted that former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, now a U.S. senator from Utah, should be impeached. He also tweeted, without evidence, that Utah voters are lamenting having voted for Romney.

On Sunday night, he tweeted that both Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California) were guilty of “treason” and that they also should be impeached. Trump punctuated his tweets with his usual name-calling: “Pompous A**” Mitt Romney, “Liddle'” (with the extra apostrophe) Adam Schiff, and “Nervous” Nancy Pelosi.

Stay tuned for more in New York, too, where a federal judge ruled that Trump can’t stop his accountants from turning over his taxes and other financial documents to a Manhattan district attorney whose office is investigating whether the Trump Organization falsified business records related to hush-money payments.

Censored students in Virginia now face an even more restrictive publications policy

Fundamental questions about the reasonable age of prosecution continues to shape conversations in Chicago. Activists are still fighting to see that children aren’t treated the same as adults in a court of law at the “Re-Imagine Justice Summit” in Chicago on Oct. 3. This comes after an entire century since the first juvenile court was established in Illinois. Read more or listen to the Public News Service‘s coverage of story to learn more about the contentions of juvenile sentencing and prosecution in the United States Justice System.

In your own news sections, consider how judicial dissidence in your town or city might lead to a story like the one above. It’s important to ensure that every voice is heard in your community in order to maximize fair and accurate reporting. We are journalists—we tell the truth.

Greta Thunberg and high school students lead Climate Strike in Iowa City

“Change is coming, and we are the change, whether they like it or not,” Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg said to more than a thousand people on Oct. 4, during the Iowa City Climate Strike.

The strike was a recent development under short notice. However, that didn’t stop peoplefrom showing up to support a call to action about climate change policies for lawmakers, government leaders, local leaders and even neighbors to get involved in. Thunberg recently spoke to the United Nations at the U.N. Climate Action Summit. While nothing concrete came to fruition after Thunberg’s speech, the impact of her words had a global impact as her words went viral on social media.

Thunberg, who is 16 years old, is a prime example of the agency that young people have to make change and hold adults accountable. She, along with high school student activists Shoshie Hemley (who is also a student journalist for The Little Hawk) and Massimo Paciotto-Biggers, emphasized the dire need for everyone to rise up in upheaval of governmental rollbacks in environmental policies. They promised they will continue to demand change in their everyday actions. The next Global Climate Strike is Nov. 29, but these teenagers and children strike every week with Fridays for Future, demanding people pay attention to the science behind climate change.

“We teenagers and children shouldn’t have to take the responsibility,” Thunberg said. “But right now the world leaders are acting like children, and somebody needs to be the adult in the room.”

This is an interesting point of contention for high schoolers and scholastic journalists alike to consider, because they play a similar role to climate activists like Thunberg, Hemley and Paciotto-Biggers. They hold those in power accountable for their wrongdoings, corruption and/or mistreatment to the people for which they swore to serve. You can hear just how they do that if you click here to listen to a clip of three students who preceded Thunberg’s speech in Iowa City.

Also, take a look below to see the crowds that gathered and the students that rallied for change with Thunberg, other activists and leaders.

  • Greta Thunberg, Swedish environmental activist, addresses the Iowa City crowd of 3,000 climate change strikers on Oct. 4, 2019. (Meria Ivy, VERVE Magazine).

  • High schoolers from Linn-Mar High School in Marion, Iowa hold up “Green New Deal” signs at the Iowa City Climate Strike in support of Kamala Harris-D and her climate change plan. The strike and Fridays for Future have been spearheaded by youth activists, particularly high schoolers. (Nichole Shaw, Q&S)

  • Student activists at the Iowa City Climate Strike show off their signs. (Meria Ivy, VERVE Magazine).

  • Shoshie Hemley, an Iowa City High School climate activist and The Little Hawk Opinion Editor, gives a riveting speech about the need for people to get involved in this movement to hold those in power accountable. (Meria Ivy, VERVE Magazine)

  • Massimo Paciotti-Biggers, a freshman at Iowa City High and one of the original local strikers, speaks to the crowd of 3,000 on Oct. 4, 2019. (Meria Ivy, VERVE Magazine).

  • Greta Thunberg, Swedish climate activist, moments before the 11-minute-silence commences at the Iowa City Climate Strike. (Meria Ivy, VERVE Magazine)

  • Linn-Mar High Schoolers from Marion, Iowa participate in an 11 minute moment of silence led by Iowa City High School student activists and global environmental activist Greta Thunberg. (Nichole Shaw, Q&S)

  • Swedish native and global climate activist Greta Thunberg gives a speech to Iowa City Climate Strike participants, stating work needs to be done locally to enact change instead of relying on world leaders. (Nichole Shaw, Q&S)

  • A climate strike is held on Oct. 4, led by Iowa City High School activists and global climate activist Greta Thunberg. (Nichole Shaw, Q&S)

  • A climate strike is held on Oct. 4, led by Iowa City High School activists and global climate activist Greta Thunberg. (Nichole Shaw, Q&S)

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.

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 deadline approaching!

The 2019 Yearbook Excellence Contest is open for entry submission, but not for long! The deadline is this 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.

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. He just finished a little trip to Fort Collins, Colorado for Journalism Day at CSU, which remains one of — if not the best attended workshop in the U.S. More than 1,400 students from about 100 schools attended.

What’s next on this year’s itinerary:

  • 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 “hello.”

What’s Viral?

Priests and clergy with credible claims of child sexual abuse have no oversight from Roman Catholic Church

The Associated Press produced an investigative piece that alleges the Roman Catholic Church is providing little oversight of 1,700 priests who have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse.

“60 minutes” with Saudi Crown Prince on Khashoggi and mistreatment of women

One of President Trump’s and White House advisor Jared Kushner’s close allies on television last week denied that he ordered the murder and dismemberment of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but said that he takes responsibility for it.

Starbucks offers free access to digital newspapers

Well, now. That’s nice of Starbucks. Saves them having to round up the papers that nobody buys in their stores.

Aral Tasher/Unsplash

Just a Thought

By Lucy Smithwick

Note: Lucy Smithwick is the Editor-In-Chief for The Eagle newspaper at East Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is also a member of Quill and Scroll’s Student Advisory Board.

Truth is strength. A child who broke something that belongs to their mother and told the truth about it is strong. A high school student who confessed to cheating on a test is strong. A college student who admitted they plagiarized is strong. 

In none of these cases did the person do the right thing, but they made it known that they were aware of their mistake by owning up to it. In an era when every move someone makes can be interpreted differently than intended, truth is a key principle that everyone should follow. 

Owning up to personal mistakes can be just as valuable as doing the right thing from the start. If a person acknowledges that they have flaws, they’re taking a step towards truth. 

One instance where this is apparent is with political leaders. They constantly make mistakes. What judges the quality of a leader, however, is if they admit that they made a mistake. If they play it off as something completely intentional or pass it off as someone else’s fault, they are lying to themselves as well as everyone they represent. 

Truth is also an important quality in today’s media. Tabloid papers and gossip sites may get more attention, but that doesn’t always mean they are reliable sources of news. When the term “fake news” is used, it’s often in the wrong context. Instead of referring to actual news, it’s used to slander a news site that the reader perceives to have a bias.

The hard truth is just that: hard. However, consequences of not telling the full truth are often worse than confessing to something in the long run. No matter how easy it is to be dishonest at times, the truth is always the best policy.