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University of Iowa News Release


March 19, 2007

Quill And Scroll Appoints New Executive Director

Quill and Scroll, an international honor society for high school journalists, will be under new leadership starting Aug. 1.

Vanessa Shelton has been appointed executive director of Quill and Scroll Society and editor of Quill & Scroll magazine. Shelton succeeds Richard P. Johns, who will retire July 31 after 35 years in the position.

Quill and Scroll is housed at the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication, which is part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The organization aims to encourage and recognize individual student achievement in journalism and scholastic publication. Since its founding in 1926, charters have been granted to 14,267 high schools in all 50 states and 44 countries.

"It's an honor and a privilege to take over the directorship of Quill and Scroll," Shelton said. "I'm excited to be involved in the organization at a time when the journalism industry is evolving to embrace new technologies. That shift affects high school journalists, along with professional journalists."

Under Shelton's leadership, Quill and Scroll will continue to reinforce basic skills that high school journalists need. The organization will also strive to expand media literacy among high school students and stress how ethics and credibility are essential to solid journalism.

"In addition to teaching communication skills, journalism education prepares high school students to be responsible and informed citizens in this democracy. This type of hands-on citizenship training is extremely important, but not widely available in other curriculum," Shelton said.

Shelton brings a rich background of training and experience in scholastic journalism to the position. For the past 10 years, she has served as executive director of the Iowa High School Press Association (IHSPA) and director of the UI summer journalism workshops for students and teachers. She also assisted with evaluation and judging projects for Quill and Scroll.

Prior to her work with IHSPA and the UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Shelton was an associate editor and then assistant director of UI News Services from 1989-1997. She also worked as a news reporter for The Cedar Rapids Gazette for nearly 12 years.

In the past decade, Shelton has been active in national scholastic journalism organization conferences and activities.

In fall 2006, she was inducted into the Iowa High School Press Association Hall of Fame.

In 2003, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) awarded her a first-place award for innovative outreach in scholastic journalism in recognition of the Summer Journalism Academy programs that were developed and coordinated for elementary school students in Davenport and Des Moines. AEJMC also recognized Shelton's contributions to the recruitment and retention of minority students in scholastic journalism by awarding her the Robert Knight Multicultural Award in 2003.

Shelton serves as the chairwoman of Student Publications, Inc. (The Daily Iowan newspaper) at the UI and belongs to the Journalism Education Association (JEA), the JEA Nominations Committee, the National Scholastic Press Association and the National Association of Black Journalists.

A graduate of Beaumont High School in St. Louis, Shelton earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from Coe College in Cedar Rapids. She earned a master's degree at the UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where she is currently working on a dissertation for her doctorate.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Nicole Riehl, 319-384-0070,; Program: Vanessa Shelton, 319-335-3318,