A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

Letters to the editor

By Quill

Sound off: Send e-mails to editor Scott Leadingham. Please include a telephone number.

Bi-monthly endorsement

I’d like to endorse the plan for bi-monthly issues of Quill. Truthfully there is far too much reading material on a monthly or even daily basis for any news person to absorb. I am much more likely to actually read the magazine now.

Also, a major round of applause for keeping Quill in printed form as well as digital. I, like most people, access info on the Web all the time from my laptop and my iPhone as well as from the regular work desktop. We iPhone types probably access more digital info than most people. But I still want a printed newspaper, magazine and book to read when I’m, say, eating and don’t want greasy fingerprints on my iPhone or laptop touchpad. Or on the subway. There is still a place for print, and if everyone weren’t so fixated on the ad-agency image of the young “reader” we would all be a lot better off in our industry.

In Europe, where I spend a fair amount of time, young people still carry (and read) newspapers on the trams and Metro. The newspapers are much smaller than ours and easier to manage in crowds. Perhaps that helps. And, they’re much cheaper!


Kinnelon, N.J.

Perspective on Parker

I appreciated receiving “100: SPJ Celebrates a Century of Improving & Protecting Journalism,” which accompanied the September/October Quill — more delicious, cover-to-cover reading to accompany my morning breakfast. I confess puzzlement at Kathleen Parker’s perspective. Few in this country would question either Doug Marlette’s right to draw a bigoted, anti-Muslim cartoon or his right to produce a bigoted defense of the cartoon. Indeed, millions listen to Rush Limbaugh’s racial bigotry each day. Similarly, while I concede the right of a Hollywood director to marry his stepdaughter, I see little virtue in it.

An unwillingness to accept reasoned criticism and feedback can be found in the bill of particulars many Americans direct at the profession of journalism, and we ignore it at our peril. Muslims were a soft target for Marlette — he would have had more difficulty with bigotry directed at African-Americans, Hispanics or Jews. As a 60-year-old man, I am aware of the irony of preaching the virtues of sensitivity in both our public and private lives to Ms. Parker; however, is that not further evidence of the possibilities for growth and learning in all of us if we are willing to listen and give a fair hearing to the opinions, feedback and, yes, feelings of others? Doug Marlette is now beyond learning, but the rest of us are not.


Burlingame, Calif.