Susan Yerkes doesn’t like to call what she used to write a gossip column. “I never thought of what I wrote as that,” she said. “The word gossip, to me, has an unpleasant connotation, kind of a snarky one. I think of gossip as a kind of negative, personal besmirching.” But the column that Yerkes wrote, first for the San Antonio Light, and later for the Express-News, fits into what most people would recognize as a gossip column: short items of news, usually about people or about the culture, full of human interest and foibles, though not usually about scandal.
In 2016, the world woke up to the reality that freedom of expression itself had been weaponized. The enemies of strong democratic values had learned a new trick. They had turned the power of self-expression on social media platforms — which only five years earlier had helped unleash the natural desire for self-determination in the Arab Spring — into a cloaking device that allowed them to wage a surreptitious influence campaign.
Hollywood helps define just about everything in America. And journalism is no exception. From “Citizen Kane” to “The Post” and from “Libeled Lady” to “All the President’s Men,” reporters have clashed with editors, danced on both sides of the ethical line, and otherwise populated hits and duds on the silver screen.
Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency could add new revenue streams for journalism. Or perhaps they are nothing more than distractions from the industry’s drastic problems. That depends who you ask. Proponents say that blockchain technology and cryptocurrency could open a new revenue stream for journalism, create more security and permanence of news archives, and give readers a new way to engage with news and journalists.
May 10th, 2019 • Featured | #Quill Archives
Critical Eye: Rupert Murdoch on Broadway in Tony-nominated “Ink”
James Graham’s play “Ink” opened April 24 at Broadway’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Quill asked New York-based arts journalist Martha Wade Steketee to take a look and report back. Here are her thoughts. Playwright James Graham’s “Ink” imagines tabloid emperor Rupert Murdoch’s origin story, rooted in a 1969 London we barely see, amidst London landmarks that are named but not evoked, told by characters sometimes half described.
April 18th, 2019 • Quill Blog | #Quill Archives
Impactful Pulitzer-winning journalism undermines ‘fake news’ claims
The news stories that won Pulitzer Prizes this week show the benefits of having journalists free to tediously dig through records, analyze volumes of data, interview sources under dangerous circumstances and widely share their findings. They show how good journalism can help people understand issues that directly impact their lives.
March 26th, 2019 • Quill Archives
Perception of bias: the media and the Mueller report
There’s much chatter on social media claiming that the failure of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to draw any conclusive links between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election — combined with the exhaustive coverage of the investigation — is proof of a bias against the president by the news media.
March 19th, 2019 • Featured | #Quill Blog | #Journalist on Call
Sacramento residents assess media coverage in wake of Stephon Clark shooting
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Residents across Sacramento said they generally are pleased with the breadth and accuracy of the local news media’s coverage related to the death of Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old unarmed black man killed last year by two police officers.
March 13th, 2019 • Featured | #Quill Blog | #Quill Archives
110 journalism landmarks for the 110th. Your input requested.
This fall, SPJ continues the celebration of its 110th anniversary with a special print issue of Quill devoted to 110 landmark moments in American journalism. From the first newspaper in America to the publication of the Pentagon Papers and from the printing of the Federalist Papers to the document dumps of Wikileaks, we are looking for the moments that shaped and defined the Fourth Estate.
March 12th, 2019 • Featured | #Quill Blog | #Quill Archives
SPJ calls on Congress to pass strong Federal Shield Law
Each day, journalists throughout the country are working tirelessly to inform their readers what the government is up to. The free press is one of the most important pillars of American democracy. By reporting the truth, reporters allow the citizenry to elect leaders that represent their values and ideals and craft laws and policies that they believe in.
Barton Keyes personifies the ideal insurance claims adjuster in the classic, and must-see, film noir “Double Indemnity.” Although he’s neither a journalist nor a real person, the character portrayed by the inimitable Edward G. Robinson is worth emulating. What truly sets him apart is the Little Man who dwells in the pit of his stomach.
Journalism is wrapping up a bad week — a week of mischaracterizations in news reports that further tainted the credibility of the industry.