A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

Author Archives: Lou Harry

May 17th, 2024
Bookshelf: Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Arthur Kane writes on colleague’s murder Arthur Kane, investigations editor at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, wasn’t exactly buddies with fellow RJ investigative reporter Jeff German, but for six years the two were colleagues, teaming up occasionally to break stories about civic corruption and other Sin City scandals.

April 9th, 2024
“Scoop,” “Origin” and more added to Quill’s ranked journalism movies list The hits — and flops — just keep on coming. With the help of the team from Midwest Film Journal, we’ve added 10 more films to our growing Journalism Movies Ranked list, including 2023’s outstanding “Origin” and the just-released “Scoop.” To find out where these rank on our list — which now numbers 190 flicks — visit here.

February 23rd, 2024
Was content a factor in Gannett axing “Doonesbury”?   Fans of “Doonesbury” who’ve been getting the edgy comic strip in a Gannett-owned newspaper searched in vain for it Sunday, Feb. 18. That day’s strip mocked the notion that something other than slavery was the primary cause of the Civil War and featured a teacher telling students that many Southerners assisted the Union Army.

November 28th, 2023
Bookshelf: “Last Paper Standing” recounts Colorado newspaper rivalry As anyone who’s read about 19th century U.S. journalism already knows, old-timey newspaper circulation wars between rival papers could get pretty ugly. Yet even in those two-fisted times, when battles over readership sometimes turned into literal battles, the century-long struggle between the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News was something else.

November 3rd, 2023
Appeals court decision reinstates controversial drone photography law In a decision that is likely to restrict the rights of Texas photojournalists to use drones in their reporting, a federal appeals court panel has reversed a lower court ruling that had found major portions of the state’s restrictive drone law unconstitutional.

October 31st, 2023
“Freelance,” “The Good Mother,” “Perfect,” more added to Quill’s ranked list of journalism films Two brand-new releases, a nearly-a-century old Joan Crawford flick, and seven others get added to Quill’s epic, ongoing ranked list of journalism movies. Alas, none here rank very high. To see where our critics panel placed them, you can find the entire list here. 

June 6th, 2023
Navigating the legalities of defamation  As a journalism professor, I instill in my young charges the importance of understanding and avoiding defamation. And the recent Fox News settlement drives that point home, serving as an example of how First Amendment protections often clash with libel and slander laws.  

April 25th, 2023
Freedom of the (student) press tested The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of the press, or it’s supposed to. But for high school journalists, a lot depends on what state they live in. Two episodes from last year illustrate the point.  Last summer, in Grand Island, Nebraska, the public school district shut down the Viking Saga, after this venerable high school paper published an issue dedicated to Pride Month and LGBTQ+ issues.

April 4th, 2023
Covering the COVID-19 origin debate For about 24 hours in March, it looked as though the fierce, long-running debate over the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic might be close to resolution. First with the story was reporter Katherine J. Wu of The Atlantic, in a March 16 piece entitled “The Strongest Evidence Yet That An Animal Started the Pandemic.”

March 16th, 2023
New “Boston Strangler” and nine more films added to Quill’s Journalism Movies list Some recent releases (including the March 17 newcomer “Boston Strangler”) some older films and one western classic have been added to our growing Journalism Movies Ranked list. The unprecedented compendium now names and reviews 170 flicks. To find out where these rank on our list, visit here. 

November 22nd, 2022
“She Said,” “Vengeance” and more added to Quill’s ranked journalism movie list We’ve added ten more films to our growing Journalism Movies Ranked list, including the just-released “She Said” and such old-school eyebrow-raisers as “Francis Covers the Big Town.” The list now names and reviews 160 flicks. To find out where these rank on our list, visit here.

October 21st, 2022
Bookshelf: Authors find Espionage Act long used to attempt to control journalists A little more than a century ago, the U.S. government passed a law designed, on its face, to protect national secrets. In their book, Ralph Engelman and Carey Shenkman outline how the Espionage Act of 1917 actually was created to control the flow of information and inhibit the practice of journalism.

October 11th, 2022
LA judge rules against media over arbitrary records fees  A Louisiana state judge has upheld the authority of the chief executive of the city and parish of Lafayette to begin charging $1 per page for digital copies of public records, even though the fees apply only to three media outlets. 

October 3rd, 2022
Bookshelf: Veteran journalist celebrates community newspapers as “Beacons in the Darkness”  Newspapers face existential threats these days, but none have it tougher than small town papers. Like their big-city brethren, they’re fighting everything from plummeting advertising revenue to readership declines to the onslaught of fake news — all on shoestring budgets and with minuscule staffs.

September 22nd, 2022
Former media relations head: Restrictions tightened on CDC reporting long before the pandemic The last three to four decades have seen a surge in restrictions in public agencies, businesses and others banning employees from contact with reporters without the authorities’ oversight. To better understand where we are and how we got to this point, Kathryn Foxhall, vice chair of the SPJ Freedom of Information Committee, spoke with Glen Nowak, a former media relations head at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and now associate dean for research and graduate studies, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia.

September 21st, 2022
From the President: I’ve seen the future While we can’t look ahead five, ten or twenty years to see what the future looks like for the Society of Professional Journalists, I’m confident it will be bigger and stronger than ever. Why? Because I’ve seen the next generation of professionals coming out of dozens of SPJ student chapters around the country.

September 20th, 2022
UPDATED: 190 journalism movies, ranked Note: The popularity of this story prompted us to treat it as a dynamic document, adding more reviews as appropriate movies are released or discovered. So what started as “110 Journalism Movies, Ranked” has morphed into “190 Journalism Movies Ranked.” And soon we’ll hit the 200 mark.

September 12th, 2022
Staying Safe Amid Journalism’s Rising Risks The stunning recent murder of Las Vegas Review Journal investigative reporter Jeff German was as unexpected as it was frightening and is shining a renewed spotlight on the risks of reporting — even in the United States. German was well-known for reporting on government corruption, organized crime and wrongdoing for decades working first for the Las Vegas Sun and then the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

June 22nd, 2022
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.

May 31st, 2022
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
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. 

April 21st, 2022
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.