The Weekly Scroll

October 14, 2019

News, tips and advice from Quill and Scroll

The Lede

Syrian troops move north to meet Turkish forces

When U.S. President Donald Trump announced last weekend that American forces would be removed from northern Syria, Turkey’s army immediately moving into the territory, which has been a haven for America’s Kurdish allies in Syria during Syria’s eight-year-long civil war. Turkey considers Kurds to be terrorists and/or aligned with terrorism.

Today, Syrian troops moved north to meet the Turkish forces. Syria’s government forces are backed by Russia, and they hope to provide some protection for the Kurds, who have been governing themselves in the northern part of Syria.

If you want to learn more about the Syrian Civil War and what it means for the rest of the world, check out this wiki.

You can also watch this video:

Trump administration tries to respond to critics of Syrian withdrawal

Politicians on both sides of the aisle — Democrats and Republicans — have denounced the president’s decision, and some military people have also spoken out against the withdrawal, which is still taking place.

The White House is trying to figure out how to respond.

Shep Smith calls it a career at Fox News

News anchor Shepard Smith, who started at Fox News when the network debuted in 1996, has left the network to pursue other opportunities.

In announcing his resignation, Smith was profusely complimentary to everyone at the network. Over the past few years, however, Smith had some on- and off-air spats with the opinion hosts at the network.

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 deadline approaching!

The 2019 Yearbook Excellence Contest has closed for entries. All entries will be forwarded to judges this week, and Quill and Scroll should have all results ready for public distribution before Dec. 20. Check out this page for results.

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?

“Joker” spoof on SNL digs into Oscar the Grouch story

If you’ve seen “Joker” with Joaquín Phoenix (and if you’re under 17, you saw it with an adult, right?), then you’ll probably get a kick out of the “Joker” video sketch “Saturday Night Live” put together this week.

In the faux trailer for the faux movie “Oscar,” we get the origin story of Sesame Street’s Oscar the Grouch, played by David Harbour, who plays Chief Hopper on “Stranger Things” and who has played “Hellboy” in movies with that name.

We here at the Scroll find the whole thing hilarious, especially when we find out a little more about Bert and Ernie, as well as the Count.

Comic Sans makes an appearance in … a letter from the White House?

It’s the font we all love to hate … well, almost all of us.

The inventor of the font Comic Sans love his creation, but even he’s not enamored of how the White House used the font last week in a letter to Congress outlining why the president and his administration will not cooperate with the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry.

The interwebs hated it.

Here’s an introduction to the man who invented the contentious font.

Podcast highlights free speech

“On the Media,” a production of New York Public Radio, produced a thought-provoking podcast last week that deserves a listen, especially if you think the First Amendment and its free-speech clause is easily interpreted.

Listen here.

Just a Thought

Navigating the world of podcasting: Three podcasts that you can listen to and to learn from 

By Erica Hernandez

Erica Hernandez is a mobile content producer for CNN, and she’s a member of the Quill and Scroll Board of Trustees.

There’s no question, podcasts are having a moment. Almost every news outlet has its own podcast, if not one sometimes a few. There’s news podcasts, talk show style podcasts, interview podcasts, dramatic storytelling podcasts, educational podcasts. You name it, there’s probably a podcast for that. 

When reviewing some Quill & Scroll member publications this summer, I was pleased to see students dipping their toes into the world of podcasting. When there are so many hundreds of thousands of podcasts out there, it’s tough to know where to start. 

Listening to and studying good podcasts is a very important first step in conceptualizing and then creating your own podcast. So here’s a good place to start. I’m recommending these three podcasts to anyone who is interested in potentially creating a news podcast. 

A product of the New York Times, this podcast seems to be the holy grail of news podcasting. It’s a must-listen for people inside and outside of the journalism industry. The format of this show is a host-led half hour or so focusing on one major topic in the news every week day. Sometimes the host is interviewing a newsmaker, but more often than not he’s interviewing his colleagues about the news they’re reporting on. This format is a great style to model a podcast after because it relies primarily on the resources you already have at your disposal: your reporters and their expertise. 

This show is a product of the mecca of all things radio, NPR. The focus of the show is to “explore the invisible forces that shape human behavior.” This is a very narrative, story-driven show. There’s almost always a main character that you hear from very early on in the episode. He or she plays a big role in telling his or her story, with narration from the show hosts. The hosts bring in secondary sources, other key players in the story and or experts in the field that they’re exploring within the episode. It sounds clunky, but it’s really not. The producers are NPR are experts in making audio storytelling that is focused, smooth and interesting. This format, while being one of the hardests to replicate, is worth studying. There are so many small technical details that can be picked up from if you’re really listening closely. 

This is the wildcard show in my list of three recommendations. This is not a news podcast, but it is arguably one of the best interview podcasts out there. 

This show is a good example of how a person can produce a podcast, without having to be the star or voice of that podcast. It looks at a single track from a new or old album and asks the artists or artists behind it to break down the music from concept to production to publication. 

The podcast is edited in a way that the main voice of each show is the given artist, not the host. This is really unique and a great format to experiment with for journalists who often cringe at the sound of their own recorded voice. You can still ask the right questions and guide the interview in a way that will allow you to not need to be heard. It’s a tough skill to master. 

Listen to this podcast and imagine what questions the artists are answering. Practice in your own every day reporting interviews. See if you can use the recordings you already have of sources to tell a complete story — without narration. 

There are so many other podcast formats. From purely talk show style, to even dramatic readings of fiction writing, there’s so much to choose from. 

Getting creative with your own podcasting may seem especially daunting, since it’s still such an unfamiliar medium to so many, but I encourage you to think outside of the box. Think outside of my recommendations even.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. There are hundreds of other podcasts out there that you could be inspired by. 

Have a podcast you’d like to recommend to me? Tweet me @Ericaalyssa.