A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists


  • October 25th, 2021 • Quill Archives
    Bat Masterson: Wild West gunfighter, lawman, gambler and — New York sportswriter? 

    (William Barclay “Bat” Masterson, standing, was photographed in his office in the New York Morning Telegraph in 1921 with his friend, Western movie star William S. Hart. Eighteen days later, Masterson died at this same desk after writing his popular column.


    October 14th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Digital Media Toolbox
    SPJ Journalist’s Toolbox Tool of the Month: Create Layered Maps in Google MyMaps

    Google MyMaps is the perfect tool for mapping small datasets for dayturn stories and projects. Have a dataset of pothole repairs in your city? Map it. Tracking crime in certain neighborhoods? Load a spreadsheet from your police department into MyMaps. There are thousands of stories to be found in datasets on your city, county, state and federal data portals.


    October 8th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Ethics Toolbox
    Hicks: Colorado fabrication further erodes trust in journalism

    There are countless reasons why many Americans do not trust information reported by journalists, and no one change will turn that around. But each reporting infraction pushes the trust meter in the wrong direction, even if incrementally.  The latest breach occurred in Boulder, Colorado, at the Daily Camera, where the newspaper published a nearly 900-word retraction on Page 1 pointing out an extensive list of problems with a story, including numerous false quotations. 


    October 4th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Diversity | #People and Places
    2021 Fellows Feature: Maria Hinojosa

    For almost four decades, Maria Hinojosa has shared the stories of marginalized communities through work that celebrates the diversity of the American experience. In 1992, she helped launch the Peabody Award–winning “Latino USA” — one of the earliest public-radio shows devoted to Latino issues — and is its host and executive producer.


    September 28th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives
    Rising postal rates (again) prompt publisher concerns

    It’s not as though community newspapers aren’t struggling enough these days: declining advertising and circulation, COVID-19 and increased printing costs. Now they’re dealing with another scourge — increasing postage rates. Even in this era of instant electronic access to news and hedge fund ownership of newspapers, many small American towns still depend on that locally-owned mail-delivered weekly to keep them informed of community happenings.


    September 20th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #People and Places
    2021 Fellows Feature: Barbara Walters

    Barbara Walters, who would become one of 20th century television journalism’s most well-known faces, almost didn’t enter the field. TV was in its infancy when she graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1951, and her personal background hardly pointed toward a career in the new medium.


    September 13th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Digital Media Toolbox | #Education Toolbox
    SPJ Journalist’s Toolbox Tool of the Month: Tools in the classroom. Plus: Replacing “very”

    With the school year underway, let’s explore how to implement Journalist’s Toolbox into a classroom rather than focus on a single tool this month. College professors and high school journalism teachers have used the site for more than 25 years, mainly for research purposes.


    September 9th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #People and Places
    2021 Fellow Feature: Yamiche Alcindor

    Yamiche Alcindor sees her role as seeking the truth on behalf of Americans and telling stories in ways that connect to their lives. Alcindor is White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour and moderator of “Washington Week,” a PBS news analysis show anchored for years by her late mentor, Gwen Ifill.


    September 3rd, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #From the President
    From the President: Building by listening

    I’ve done a lot of listening in my year as national president of the Society of Professional Journalists. The best membership organizations are built around listening. I think back now to the first moments of my term, when I gave an inaugural speech in shorts and a jacket from my bedroom, my youngest daughter lying on the floor outside my closed door, listening.


    August 29th, 2021 • Featured
    Why Lou Grant mattered (in memory of Ed Asner)

    In the mid- to late 1970s, hundreds, perhaps thousands of young people were inspired to become journalists after seeing the movie “All The President’s Men.” But for those who already were journalists, even those of us with only a few years in the trenches, the real cultural avatar of the time was the CBS-TV show “Lou Grant.”


    August 27th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives
    Is Congress threatening press freedom by intimidating carriers?

    Since government can’t censor news content, can it control it indirectly through threats and intimidation? A congressional inquiry this year led by Democrats hinted at it and attempted to examine whether conservative news media were responsible for inciting violence. The representatives said they were just asking questions.


    August 24th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Diversity | #People and Places
    The 19th*: Gender, politics and policy are the keywords at a bold start-up writing “for communities rather than about them”

    Launching a journalism startup in the midst of a pandemic, protests and a presidential election year with an unstable economy looming overhead, most would probably agree, is a terrible idea. But, for The 19th co-founders Amanda Zamora and Emily Ramshaw, it was the perfect opportunity to put women front and center.


    August 23rd, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Diversity | #People and Places
    Ms. Mayhem: A self-funded news website takes pride in reporting on the intersection of race, class, gender, ability and sexual orientation

    Late one night in December 2017, Madison Lauterbach was having trouble falling asleep in the Sydney, Australia, hostel where she was staying over Christmas break. In between journalism school semesters at Metropolitan State University of Denver and getting ready to start her first journalism internship, she had an epiphany.


    August 12th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives
    ‘Whirlybird’ documentary covers copter couple who covered L.A.

    The news chopper world in Los Angeles is its own subculture. In a city that makes gridlock on its vast freeway system a high-contact sport, those with resources go up and over the traffic, experiencing a version of the city that mere vehicular mortals can only dream of having.


    August 9th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Digital Media Toolbox
    SPJ Journalist’s Toolbox Tool of the Month: How to build a cool chart in Google Flourish — Handout + video

    Google purchased the Flourish graphics tool five years ago, and it has evolved into an excellent tool for creating animated charts, maps and other interactives using only a spreadsheet. The tool includes a paid account for developers to code and add watermarks, but the free version of Flourish meets most newsrooms’ needs.


    August 9th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Diversity | #People and Places
    BridgeDetroit: Connecting with readers is key for a newcomer filling “information gaps” in the Motor City

    BridgeDetroit launched in the middle of 2020 with one purpose: to focus on “lifting up the issues that Detroiters themselves identify as important to their lives.” That meant staffing with a diverse team that reflected the city’s demographics, and hiring an engagement director whose job would be to meet with the community in an effort to create something that truly represented Detroit.


    August 4th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Ethics Toolbox
    Researchers: Knowledge of SPJ Code of Ethics helps students better navigate ethical issues

    College journalists who were familiar with the SPJ Code of Ethics, had taken an ethics course or had other exposure to ethical decision making were more likely to identify unethical behavior in scenarios posed to them in a survey by two South Carolina researchers.


    July 29th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Diversity | #People and Places
    Wind Newspaper: A free, bilingual weekly with a staff of one makes a difference in San Francisco

    Every Tuesday and Wednesday, Portia Li makes the 45-minute trek north from her Millbrae home to San Francisco’s iconic Chinatown neighborhood. On a particularly gorgeous day, with a warmth that is the antithesis of the cool weather the City by the Bay is known for, she purposely parks on hilly Sacramento Street.


    July 29th, 2021 • Quill Archives
    Ten more films added to Quill’s journalism movie rankings

    Did you think we were going to stop at 110? When SPJ celebrated its 110th anniversary, one of the features included in Quill was a ranked guide to 110 journalism movies. The popularity of that piece sparked us to continuing adding movie reviews, new and old, and adjusting our rankings accordingly.


    July 21st, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Bookshelf
    Interview: Jerry Ceppos and “Covering Politics in the Age of Trump”

    Jerry Ceppos, former executive editor of the San Jose Mercury News and vice president of news at Knight Ridder, got to “sit out” reporting on the Trump administration, thanks to his current position as a distinguished professor of journalism at Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication.


    July 12th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Digital Media Toolbox
    SPJ Journalist’s Toolbox Tool of the Month: Video Editing on VN Smartphone App

    There are many good smartphone video editing apps on the market, but for my work, the VN video editing app for iPhone and Android gets the job done better than any other tool based on ease of use and powerful controls.


    July 6th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Freedom of the Prez | #From the President
    From the President: Our most important interviews

    Remember your first nerve-racking interview as a student journalist? Remember the thrill of finishing your first story and having it actually be in the world? Remember reaching out to pros for advice while in college, not knowing if they’d talk to you, then hearing they gladly would?


    June 30th, 2021 • Featured
    Capital Gazette memorial unveiled

    Three years to the day after five staff members of the Capital Gazette were killed in an assault on their Annapolis, Maryland newsroom, a memorial to the victims, “The Guardians of the First Amendment,” was unveiled in downtown Annapolis on Monday.


    June 28th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #People and Places | #Ten With...
    10 with Lindsay Peoples Wagner

    Named editor-in-chief at biweekly The Cut in January, Lindsay Peoples Wagner took the reins of the fashion magazine after serving in the same role at Teen Vogue — where she was the youngest and among the few Black journalists serving as editor-in-chief of a Condé Nast publication.


    June 14th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Digital Media Toolbox
    SPJ Journalist’s Toolbox Tool of the Month: Tools for Visualizing the Census, Part II

    If you need to visualize U.S. Census data, unemployment statistics or other datasets quick and with no spreadsheets or coding, give the Google Public Data Explorer a try. The Data Explorer is linked into several official databases, including the census, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Eurostat, the Inter-American Development Bank, World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund.


    June 1st, 2021 • Quill Blog | #Quill Archives | #News Biz Quiz
    June — and final — News Biz Quiz

    I’d like to begin this, the final Quill News Biz Quiz, by saying thanks. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed these quizzes over the last few months and perhaps even gotten some new insight into how media itself can shape the news. As for me, I’m signing off to start work on my PhD in mass communications at: a) Syracuse University’s Newhouse School b) Faber College c) Grand Lakes University d) Wossamatta U e) UC Sunnydale The correct answer is a, obviously, but bonus points for you if you can name the source of the fictional higher education locations on this list.


    May 27th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Journalism Education
    Navigating Remote Learning

    This feature celebrates one of SPJ’s four guiding principals: We are producers of journalism’s future.  These days, Robert Walz approaches his teaching in much the same way he did as a TV news anchor: with short bursts of information delivered in an engaging way.


    May 26th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Bookshelf | #Diversity
    Bookshelf: Ken Ellingwood looks at journalism pioneer Elijah Lovejoy

    Ken Ellingwood readily admits that the subject of his new book is not exactly a household name. But for anyone who believes mightily in the First Amendment, Elijah Lovejoy was a titan of its promise and protections. “First to Fall: Elijah Lovejoy and the Fight for a Free Press in the Age of Slavery” is Ellingwood’s deeply researched story of a man in the 1830s who used the power of the pen to speak out firmly against the horrors of slavery, fighting back harder with every death threat and unruly mob who came after him.


    May 19th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Blog | #Quill Archives | #Ethics Toolbox
    Connecting to the Code

    This feature celebrates one of SPJ’s four guiding principals: We are stewards of ethical journalism.  Truth took a beating during the past four years, with the previous U.S. president frequently spewing provably false or misleading statements as disinformation overall coursed through social media with ferocious speed.


    May 10th, 2021 • Featured | #Toolbox | #Quill Archives | #Digital Media Toolbox
    SPJ Journalist’s Toolbox Tool of the Month: Tools for Visualizing the Census, Part I

    There are many ways to visualize data from the U.S. Census. Next month, we’ll explore chart-making software to visualize demographic data. But this month we’ll explore how to visualize physical change with Google Earth Engine Timelapse. Earth Engine is a project organized by Google, Carnegie Mellon, the US Geological Survey and NASA.


    April 30th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #News Biz Quiz
    News Biz Quiz: A renamed Times section, new AP style points, more

    Ah, spring, the time of year when our minds turn to blooming flowers, escaping a year of COVID captivity and, of course, the May News Biz Quiz! It’s been a good month for comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, so let’s get started!


    April 27th, 2021 • Quill Blog | #Quill Archives | #Bookshelf
    Bookshelf: Editing the annual ‘Best American Magazine Writing’ anthology

    Sid Holt, executive director of the American Society of Magazine Editors, knows a thing or two about long-form journalism. He started his career in 1984 at Rolling Stone, where he rose to managing editor within six years. His crowded resume also includes a stint as editorial director of Us Magazine; editor-in-chief and executive vice president of Adweek Magazines from 1998 to 2004; chief editor of Editor & Publisher; and editorial director of VNU Business Media, whose digital and print portfolio includes Billboard and the Hollywood Reporter.