December 6, 2019

News, tips and advice from Quill and Scroll

The Lede

Things are looking impeach-y in D.C.

The U.S. House of Representatives could vote before Christmas on articles of impeachment for President Donald J. Trump. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday announced that the House will begin drafting those articles of impeachment.

The House investigation has focused on what it claims to be a months-long campaign by the Trump administration and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to withhold Congressionally allocated funds earmarked for Ukraine’s self-defense against Russian aggression unless the Ukrainian government promised to investigate alleged corruption by former Vice President Joe Biden, who remains a front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his son Hunter Biden.

Here is a copy of the House Intelligence Committee’s report, which was issued this week.

If the House votes to impeach the president, he would go on trial in the U.S. Senate, where a two-thirds majority would have to vote to convict to remove Trump from office.

Fires, flooding, droughts, heat devastate regions around the world

Climate change flares across international news this week, as the World Meteorological Organization released its annual climate report. 2018 projections for irreversible climate change to the world said we had 12 years. Then in July 2019,  BBC reported there was only 18 months to save the planet.

Photo by Chris Gallagher on Unsplash

Now, things are heating up even more as California and the Amazon is consumed by devastating wildfires, desolating droughts burden Southwestern United States, sweltering heat waves overtakes Greenland and destructive flooding engulf regions in Europe and Asia.

Season after season, climate change accelerates across the world, creating disastrous human and financial costs.

“Things are getting worse,” said Petteri Taalas, secretary general of the World Meteorological Organization, which on Tuesday issued its annual state of the global climate report, concluding a decade of what it called exceptional global heat. “It’s more urgent than ever to proceed with mitigation.”

While activists like Greta Thunberg combat climate change across the world by speaking with world leaders, greenhouse gases emissions continue to increase, increasing concern for how much longer the world has to slow climate change before it’s irreversible.

Read more about it here.

Don’t shake that box too much

North Korea has promised the United States that the U.S. will be getting a Christmas gift from the totalitarian regime headed by Kim Jong-Un.

Denuclearization talks between the two countries have stalled in recent months at the same time that North Korea has resumed conducting short-range ballistic missile tests. Officials there have said the U.S. is trying to use the promise of peace talks as a domestic political ploy.

“The dialogue touted by the U.S. is, in essence, nothing but a foolish trick hatched to keep (North Korea) bound to dialogue and use it in favor of the political situation and election in the U.S.,” a North Korean government spokesperson said. “It is entirely up to the US what Christmas gift it will select to get.”

It’s An Honor

Donate to the Q&S Scholarship Fund

Invest in promoting positive and responsible journalism by contributing to the Q&S Scholarship Fund. #GivingTuesday ended Dec. 3, but you can still donate to the Quill and Scroll Scholarship Fund and support student journalists and high school journalism teachers.

Whether you donate $10 or $10,000, your support will help students and teachers around the world receive the resources to further quality journalistic work that informs the public.

Donate on the post below before Dec. 16 or at

All the money donated to Quill and Scroll supports students and advisers through our scholarship programs. High school seniors who have placed in our contests or have been inducted into the society can earn a scholarship to study journalism in college. Advisers can use Q&S scholarships to pursue continuing education in journalism. You can read more about those scholarships here.

Yearbook Excellence Contest winners TBA

We will announce all winners in the 2019 Yearbook Excellence Contest in the Scroll for Dec. 13. So check back here.


Our Writing, Photo and Multimedia Contest is now open for entry until Feb. 5, 2020. This year, we’ve updated the contest so that it rewards students with the work they regularly produce in their newsrooms.

New contest categories include:

  • Portrait Profile Photo — This is likely to be an environmental portrait of a person or a group of people. These sorts of photos usually accompany a profile story.
  • Documentary Video — This is not a news video, but a non-fiction project that your students may have completed that feels more like a film. It can be any length longer than five minutes. Traditional news packages should be entered in the Video Package categories: news, sports and features.
  • News Show for Web or TV: Single Episode — Submit a single show of between five and 30 minutes, produced either for cable and/or web.

Quill and Scroll will also award Blue and Gold Awards in three areas this year:

  • Comprehensive Writing (Categories 1-11 below)
  • Comprehensive Visuals (Categories 12-24)
  • Comprehensive Multimedia (Categories 25-30)

Enter now to reward students with the work they regularly produce in their newsrooms at A form of payment must be completed at the time of entry. Online credit card payments must be completed by Feb. 5; purchase orders must be emailed to Quill and Scroll at the time of entry; and checks must be in our office by February 14th, 2020!

Below, you can find the complete list of 2020 WPM Contest categories:

  1. Editorial Writing
  2. News Writing
  3. Feature Writing
  4. Opinion Writing
  5. Review Writing
  6. In-Depth Reporting: Individual
  7. In-Depth Reporting: Team
  8. Sports Writing
  9. Profile Writing
  10. Political Writing
  11. Health, Science and Agriculture Writing
  12. News Feature Photo
  13. Sports Action Photo
  14. Sports Reaction Photo
  15. Photo Illustration
  16. Photo Slideshow
  17. Profile Portrait
  18. Cartoon
  19. Informational Graphic
  20. News Mag Cover Design
  21. News Front Page Design
  22. Feature Page Design
  23. Sports Page Design
  24. Editorial Page Design
  25. Video News Package (up to five minutes)
  26. Video Sports Package (up to five minutes)
  27. Video Feature Package (up to five minutes)
  28. Documentary Video (Single subject, five minutes or longer)
  29. Audio Podcast Single Episode (any length)
  30. News Show for Web or TV, Single Episode — 5:00 to 30:00

In addition, Blue and Gold Awards will be given for overall excellence. McCallum High School in Austin, Texas, has earned that title for the past two years.

The contest deadline remains Feb. 5, 2020. As always, the top 10 percent of all entries in every category qualify the student who produced it for the Quill and Scroll scholarships in their senior year.

What’s Viral?

OK, Gen Z-er!

Sheldon, Iowa 17-year old Sami Noteboom hides books from the rest of the residents in her town. And they love her for it.

Noteboom started Sheldon Look 4 a Book earlier this year, modeling it after similar programs in towns around the world.

Sami and her step-mother hide books in places around town and create adventures for young readers that result in them finding and reading the books.

We here at Quill and Scroll think this is a lovely idea that a Quill and Scroll chapter could copy and use as a community service project in your town.

Same-sex couple wins Denmark’s “Dancing with the Stars”

A gay male Danish comedian and his male dancing partner last week became the first same-sex couple to win a version of “Dancing with the Stars,” called “Vild med dans” in Denmark.

In last year’s U.S. version of the show, an openly gay man, Olympic skater Adam Rippon, became the first out LGBTQ dancer to win on the show, but he danced with a female partner.

#instagramdown or #instagramup

Did you miss it? Really?

Over Thanksgiving weekend in the U.S. popular social media platforms Instagram and Facebook went silent for a while, causing some over-sharers to panic on Twitter. I mean how are we supposed to know what a properly cooked turkey looks like if someone doesn’t “insta” it, amirite?

It did make for some fun tweets, though, even as late as yesterday, when users were still a little nervous about Instagram’s servers.

Just a Thought

Student Journalism Impact Award

Since 1994, the Journalism Education Association has been giving out the Student Journalism Impact Award, designed to recognize high school journalists who have succeeded in achieving journalism’s greatest accomplishment — changing their schools, communities and states for the better.

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Last year, Quill and Scroll was invited to help honor those students whose work has benefitted their readers. The award fits Quill and Scroll’s mission perfectly — honoring student journalists who do important and compelling work.

Last year’s winners, students from The Classical Academy in San Diego, California, wrote a series of stories that caused their school to re-examine how the school dealt with mental illness and how it provided services to students in need. The 2018 winners from Pittsburg High School in Pittsburg, Kansas, uncovered their school board’s mistake in hiring an unqualified administrator who had lied about her credentials in the hiring process.

The 2020 award will be given out at the Nashville National High School Journalism Convention, scheduled for April 16-18, 2020. The award application deadline is March 15, 2020, and you can find the application form here. On the same page, you can find summaries of each of the past winners.

We hope to see several sterling examples of how your journalism has made a difference in your schools. And see you all in Nashville.