A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists


  • July 25th, 2022 • Quill Archives
    10 with Ayesha Rascoe

    The new host of NPR’s “Weekend Edition Sunday” as of March, Ayesha Rascoe set out to become a journalist at an early age. Her first writing experience was as a columnist for the teen section of her hometown newspaper, the Durham Herald-Sun.


    July 18th, 2022 • Featured | #Quill Archives
    Traveling Blues

    Susan Glaser, travel editor for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Cleveland.com, still wistfully recalls her final pre-COVID trip before the world went into lockdown and tanked her livelihood. “I went to northern Kentucky to visit a bourbon trail right before everything shut down,” Glaser said.


    July 6th, 2022 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Diversity
    “Sorry” state: Should newspapers apologize for their pasts?

    The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina, partnered with white supremacists to intimidate black voters in the 1890s yet remains a respected newspaper today, writer Alexandria Neason noted in a story last year. “Americans have short memories; we don’t like to be reminded of our many sins, so instead we prop up lofty narratives of progress and unity that obscure the violence enacted along the way,” Neason wrote for the Columbia Journalism Review.


    June 23rd, 2022 • Featured | #Quill Archives
    Graphic depictions: Long-form comics as journalism

    In December of 1991, the comics artist Art Spiegelman, author of the two-volume graphic novel “Maus,” wrote a letter to the editors of The New York Times. After thanking them for acknowledging the unexpected success of his book, which had recently made the Times’ bestseller list, he expressed a concern about “Maus” appearing on the fiction side of the list.


    June 22nd, 2022 • Quill Archives
    Bookshelf: The Future of Business Journalism: Why It Matters for Wall Street and Main Street 

    Although he’s considered an expert on business journalism, authored a business-journalism textbook and spent much of his career covering business, Chris Roush got his start like a lot of journalists: covering cops and courts and other basic news. It taught him a lot, he says, about covering a beat, working with people and understanding news.


    June 10th, 2022 • Quill Archives | #From the President
    From the President: Chapters take the lead

    The Society of Professional Journalists is a strong organization in part because of our chapters, where local journalists often turn for support when challenged, attacked or even put in danger doing their jobs. Here are just a few examples of how our chapter leaders have stepped in to defend and protect journalists.


    May 31st, 2022 • Quill Archives
    Keeping an eye on hurricanes this season

    On May 24, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its outlook for the forthcoming Atlantic hurricane season.   Forecasters at the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center predict that this hurricane season, which starts on June 1 and ends November 30, will have 14 to 21 named storms – with 6-10 of them becoming hurricanes and 3-5 of them becoming major hurricanes.


    May 27th, 2022 • Quill Archives
    Texas shooting renews debate about trauma journalism practices 

    “How can it be that nothing has changed?”  That’s how Kai Ryssdal began the May 25 edition of the public radio program “Marketplace.” The story he referred to that prompted the question was not a classic “Marketplace” story, he acknowledged. But the big story of the week could not be ignored — that of 19 students and two teachers killed by a shooter at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. 


    May 16th, 2022 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Diversity
    Making good on diversity promises

    One of the most important jobs of any newsroom in any city is to tell the stories of the people who shape and construct the narratives of the community. But for many years, newsrooms, reporters and leaders did not reflect those communities as well as they should.


    May 4th, 2022 • Quill Archives
    The Pod Squad

    When Gabby Petito went missing in September, her story went viral. It was difficult to avoid the constant updates, timelines, theories circulating the internet and armchair detectives swapping “clues” to try and find the 22-year-old. Social media users from old-school Facebook posters to true crime TikTok followers, and traditional news outlets, became deeply invested in this case.


    April 26th, 2022 • Quill Archives
    Covering the Midterms

    Horse race. Polls. Who said what today. Who picked up what endorsement. A soundbite. A gaffe. Even an occasional gotcha, conflict or carnal impropriety story. All expected in election coverage these days. But with control of Congress at stake, media can do much more to help voters make informed choices by probing candidates’ actions, positions, financing and misstatements.


    April 21st, 2022 • Quill Archives
    Making space for Black women photographers 

    The first time Polly Irungu picked up a camera was when a guidance counselor encouraged her to get involved with the yearbook club. After a series of relocations that left Irungu feeling depressed, photography offered hope. “It was the first thing that brought me joy in those few years, so I decided to explore it more as a career opportunity,” she says.


    April 14th, 2022 • Featured
    Op-ed writer challenges newspaper’s decision to inform readers of past crime

    Steve Schulz’s social life often led him to downtown Minneapolis, where he’d attend ball games, go to the theater or just have drinks with friends. Since he was there so much, he decided to sell his house in the suburbs and get an apartment downtown, where he could walk to his favorite hangouts.


    April 12th, 2022 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Ten With...
    10 with Lars Willnat

    Every 10 years since 1982, researchers for “The American Journalist” survey a representative sample of journalists throughout the United States to understand who makes up the profession and their attitudes toward it. Leading the survey this year is Lars Willnat, the John Ben Snow Endowed Research Professor in the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.


    March 25th, 2022 • Featured | #Quill Archives
    Widely shared Ketanji Brown Jackson graphic misleading without context

    A Washington Post graphic comparing Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson’s experience with that of current justices has been widely shared on social media, sometimes without the headline that provides important context.  The chart ran online and in the newspaper with the headline, “How Ketanji Brown Jackson’s path to the Supreme Court differs from the current justices.”


    March 18th, 2022 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #From the President
    From the President: Communities make a difference

    Since becoming president of the Society of Professional Journalists, I’ve constantly talked about #SPJStrong. We are a strong organization in part because we have two communities that bring journalists together for a common cause. If you’re a freelancer looking to expand your network, find a job lead or join a supportive group, all you have to do is turn to the SPJ Freelance Community.


    March 9th, 2022 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Freedom of Information
    Declining fulfillment typifies today’s FOIA. Here’s why.

    (image credit: www.epictop10.com) Many a great story has come out of Freedom of Information Act findings. At the same time, many a story doesn’t get written because the requested documents don’t arrive by deadline – if at all. And the two-year-old pandemic is worsening response times.


    March 8th, 2022 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Words & Language Toolbox
    Is That the Right Word?

    Racking your brain for the right word is particularly grueling on deadline. Are paramedics attempting to stanch the bleeding after a mass shooting? Or should that be staunch? And was the lawyer riffling through her notes, or rifling? Did the defense refute or rebut the arguments?


    February 23rd, 2022 • Quill Archives
    11 more films added to Quill’s ranked list of journalism films

    Below you’ll find eleven more film reviews that have been added to our ongoing ranking of journalism flicks, taking the total up to 150. Yes, 150. Newcomers include films released as recently as 2021 as well as others dating back to the 1930s.


    February 17th, 2022 • Featured | #Quill Archives
    Hicks: Palin case dismissal comes with a reminder of vulnerability

    Both the jury and judge who considered Sarah Palin’s libel lawsuit against The New York Times concluded she did not prove her case. That means news shops will continue to enjoy the high legal standard that’s rarely met by plaintiffs attempting to prove libel. 


    February 16th, 2022 • Featured | #Quill Blog | #Quill Archives
    Beyond the Zucker headlines, another ethics issue

    Jeff Zucker’s departure from the network he led has been big news. But media executives and newsroom managers who strive to produce journalism with high ethical standards should take note of a passing detail in the events at CNN that preceded his leaving. 


    February 15th, 2022 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Ethics Toolbox
    Code Breakers

    Violations of journalism ethics come in a variety of types, many of which were committed in 2021. Some happen because of bad judgment, some are committed by journalists who know they are wrong and some come from maintaining the status quo without question.


    February 8th, 2022 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Ten With...
    10 with Apoorva Mandavilli

    You may recognize Apoorva Mandavilli’s name due to the sheer number of COVID-19 stories bylined by The New York Times health and science reporter. Her background in both science and reporting on other infectious diseases truly prepared her for this moment.


    February 4th, 2022 • Featured | #Quill Archives
    Accident brings attention to safety of lone journalists in the field

    On the night of Jan. 19, Tori Yorgey was in the field doing a live report for the 11 p.m. news on NBC affiliate WSAZ in Huntington, West Virginia. Yorgey was covering the significant winter storm that hit the area, which resulted in a water main break in Dunbar, a town roughly 7 miles west of the state capital Charleston.


    January 31st, 2022 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Digital Media Toolbox
    Eyes in the skies: Getting the most out of satellite data and images

    On May 13, 2021, the British Antarctic Survey observed a massive chunk of ice breaking off Antarctica. A generation ago, journalists would have had very little specific information to write about such an event. But in this case, we almost knew immediately that the iceberg A-76 measured around 4,320 square kilometers (about 1,668 square miles) in size, making it the largest berg in the world at that point.


    January 27th, 2022 • Featured | #Quill Archives
    Legal matters: To retweet or not to retweet? 

    To retweet or not retweet. This isn’t a complicated question for most tweets. But not all. Some retweets can be used as evidence in a defamation suit against a journalist. Think this is fiction? Think again. Recently, a federal appeals court said a journalist’s retweet of a potentially defamatory article via Twitter can be used as evidence of malice in a defamation suit.  


    January 14th, 2022 • Quill Archives
    Is redemption possible for journalists who cross the line?

    Can a journalist with past credibility issues ever be redeemed or truly rehabilitated or will they be forever tarnished by past transgressions? If the former, is there a statute of limitations or a timeline for reentering the field?   Those questions have surfaced as Ruth Shalit Barrett, the controversial writer who resigned from The New Republic in 1999 amid claims of plagiarism and credibility issues, was back in the news.  


    January 7th, 2022 • Featured | #Quill Archives
    UN warns of ‘a significant number’ of risks toward journalists 

    The United Nations has warned that journalists still face a significant number of risks, even as newly released figures show the lowest death toll of journalists and media workers in over a decade.  The Observatory of Killed Journalists at UNESCO, the UN’s educational, scientific and cultural agency, reported that 55 journalists and media workers lost their lives in the past year.  


    January 6th, 2022 • Featured | #Quill Archives
    Face-to-Face Value

    An Oklahoma City TV station reported in September that local emergency rooms were turning away gunshot victims because they were inundated by victims of ivermectin overdose. Great story — and one fitting into the media narrative debunking the myth that ivermectin, an anti-parasitic medicine used for livestock, can be used as a COVID-19 preventive.


    January 4th, 2022 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #From the President | #SPJ Report
    From the President: #SPJChapterStrong

    SPJ professional and student chapters are the backbone of our organization. Often the “boots on the ground” for our local journalists, student journalists and journalism educators, they play a big part in the strength of SPJ. That’s why I’m devoting my Quill columns to our chapters, whether they are standing up for the rights of journalists, raising scholarship money or giving students a place to grow their network on campus.


    December 20th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Digital Media Toolbox
    SPJ Journalist’s Toolbox Tool of the Month: Quick-and-Dirty Fact-Checking Tools to Help You Get it Right

    I’ve been posting fact-checking tools to Journalist’s Toolbox for more than a quarter of a century. Verification is at the core of what we do as journalists, and having good resources at our fingertips. Here are a few of my “quick-and-dirty” tools I’ve been using to fact-check stories, photos and video: The Google Fact Check Explorer tracks if a story has been fact-checked by an independent source.


    December 7th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives
    Journalist’s Gift Guide 2021

    At first, we thought we’d go for practical this year. After all, journalism is serious business. Then we thought about what a tough year it’s been for many and thought “fun” would be a better road to go. Then again, what about stylish gifts?