A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists


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  • March 26th, 2020 • Featured | #Quill Blog
    In challenging circumstances, students write first draft of history

    He was about to begin dress rehearsals for the school play. Sam Shelenberger, a senior at Saegertown High School in Saegertown, Pennsylvania, had scheduled a week off of work at a local gas station to prepare for his role in “Matilda,” a play about a precocious five-year-old girl.


    March 23rd, 2020 • Featured | #Quill Blog
    Hicks: Trump among challenges of accurately covering COVID-19

    Journalists are encountering numerous challenges as they report on the coronavirus outbreak. One is the president of the United States. President Donald Trump spent the early days of the virus’ arrival on the homeland denying it would have much impact here.


    March 18th, 2020 • Featured | #Quill Blog | #Toolbox | #Quill Archives
    Hicks: Groups urge care, precision in coronavirus reporting

    Journalists covering the coronavirus have produced compelling, informative stories, but along the way, there have been mischaracterizations, inaccuracies and absent nuances. An ABC News story posted to its website incorrectly implied the terms coronavirus and COVID-19 can be used interchangeably, a common mistake.


    March 17th, 2020 • Quill Blog
    10 with Pat Mitchell

    Journalist and media executive Pat Mitchell’s resume includes time as president of CNN productions, president of PBS and editorial director of TEDwomen, along with the accumulation of 37 Emmys and five Peabody awards. In many of those roles, she was the first woman.


    March 12th, 2020 • Quill Blog | #Quill Archives | #Bookshelf
    Bookshelf: “Conversations on Conflict Photography”

    As Lauren Walsh was preparing to teach her New York University class on ethics and photojournalism one day a few years ago, she projected onto a screen an image that would open that day’s discussion. Shot at a food line in the Sudan, the photo depicted in stark black-and-white a man so weakened by starvation that he could not stand.


    March 9th, 2020 • From the President
    From the President: Facing off with fake news

    As my year as SPJ president approached, I put “fight fake news” on my to-do list. I’ll respond to every nasty slam, every spurious tweet, every “enemy of the people” put-down with a counter-tweet of my own, I thought. A few tweets in – with low-impact “No, you are incorrect, Mr.


    March 3rd, 2020 • Featured | #Quill Blog | #Quill Archives | #Journalist on Call
    Hicks: During crises, public needs trust in government and the press

    As the infectious coronavirus travels the globe, claiming more than 3,000 lives so far, public health professionals have urged people to learn the facts. Meanwhile, a White House official had a different message for Americans: Stay uninformed. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Feb.


    February 25th, 2020 • Quill Blog | #Quill Archives | #Bookshelf
    Bookshelf: New book explores trade publication’s role in exposure of the Keating Five

    In late 1989, front pages and evening newscasts were dominated for weeks by stories about the national savings and loan crisis that saw more than 1,000 thrift institutions fail. Drawing particular interest from the media was a high-powered businessman named Charles Keating Jr.,


    February 18th, 2020 • Quill Blog | #Toolbox | #Freelance Toolbox | #Narrative Writing Toolbox
    Excerpt: Tips on organizing notes from “The Craft of Science Writing”

    The new book The Craft of Science Writing is a curated collection from The Open Notebook, a primary resource for science journalists. It offers a primer on how to report and write about science, including how to read a scientific paper and how to explain complex concepts and processes clearly.


    February 17th, 2020 • Quill Blog | #Quill Archives
    Hicks: Snoop Dogg’s threat to Gayle King echoes national media attacks

    Snoop Dogg’s sexist, threatening response to Gayle King for bringing up an old rape allegation against Kobe Bryant looked very familiar. It reminded me of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo launching into a profanity-laced tantrum following an interview with National Public Radio anchor Mary Louise Kelly.


    February 13th, 2020 • Odds and Ends
    Bookshelf: “Author in Chief: The Untold Story of our Presidents and the Books They Wrote”

    About 10 years ago, journalist and historian Craig Fehrman got an idea for a book. It would be a book about the books that presidents write. Pretty simple, right? Just make a list of all of those books, read them and then tell people about what you’ve read.


    February 10th, 2020 • Featured
    In Journalism We Distrust: Notes from the Casper Project

    The Avis rental car office serving the Casper/Natrona County International Airport sits off-site, but there’s a shuttle at the ready. The drive is an easy two and a half miles — enough time for the friendly, courteous driver to ask a question, whose answer she seems genuinely interested in hearing.


    February 3rd, 2020 • Featured | #Freelance Toolbox | #Odds and Ends
    Studies show…or maybe they don’t

    Misinterpreted data and unsubstantiated conclusions plague press and social media. What can journalists do to stop them? Quill asked Rob Pyatt, who has presented workshops focused on teaching critical thinking skills, to chime in on the subject. Pyatt, an assistant professor in the New Jersey Center for Science, Technology and Mathematics at Kean University, is certified in Clinical Molecular Genetics and serves as a director of the Oxy-Gen Laboratory in Norcross, Georgia. 


    January 22nd, 2020 • Featured | #Ten With...
    10 with Al Letson

    Bringing with him a résumé that included work as a hip-hop musician, a slam poet, a playwright, a performer and even a comic book author, Al Letson joined The Center for Investigative Reporting to help launch and host public radio’s first hourlong investigative journalism show, “Reveal.”


    January 16th, 2020 • Quill Blog | #Quill Archives
    Update: “Bombshell,” “Richard Jewell” and more

    “110 Journalism Movies, Ranked”  — Quill’s cinematic way of celebrating the 110th anniversary of SPJ — proved overwhelmingly popular. And it continues to get visited by a steady stream of readers. Since publication of the original piece, though, there has been a run of new movies with journalistic themes, which put our seemingly exhaustive story at risk of being outdated.


    January 14th, 2020 • Featured
    Journalism on autopilot: The upside and downside of computer-generated stories

    Curt Conrad still remembers heading to bed at 4 a.m. on football Friday nights. With multiple games to cover, quotes to cull and stats to sort, football Friday inevitably led to sleepy Saturday. Not now. Conrad, a sports reporter with the all-digital Richland Source in Mansfield, Ohio, relies on automated journalism to cover brass tacks such as the final score, scoring plays by quarter, team records, basic stats and future schedules to generate game stories independently.