A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists


Author Archives: Zoë Berg


October 14th, 2021
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 4th, 2021
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 20th, 2021
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
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
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
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 24th, 2021
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
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 9th, 2021
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
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
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
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 21st, 2021
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
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
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 28th, 2021
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
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.


May 27th, 2021
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 19th, 2021
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
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
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
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.


April 26th, 2021
Celebrating the Stories Behind the Stories This feature celebrates one of SPJ’s four guiding principals: We are champions for journalists.  For nearly 90 years, the Society of Professional Journalists awards have honored journalists and outlets for their crucial contributions to the profession. The awards are designed to recognize the very best in professional journalism across print, radio, television, newsletters, art/graphics and online.


April 12th, 2021
SPJ Journalist’s Toolbox Tool of the Month: Scraping a .PDF I loathe .PDFs of public records with the power of a thousand suns. They’re a tease. They’re full of data tables but useless to most data journalists in the .PDF format. And government officials love to share them with us because they know a .PDF


April 8th, 2021
Understanding Shield Law This feature celebrates one of SPJ’s four guiding principals: We are fighters for the First Amendment.    You’ve written a story that embarrassed someone who now wants the name of your protected source. Or perhaps a trial judge demands you testify and spill all.


April 1st, 2021
News Biz Quiz: Oprah, Jeopardy, media leaders, more No foolin’ — it’s time for another News Biz Quiz! Yes, this one does have a story that fooled some news outlets. It also has Oprah making fools out of some British royals and late newsman Roger Mudd fooling a politician with a seemingly easy question.


March 29th, 2021
From the President: Shifting gears and moving forward At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I had to cancel a half-dozen eagerly anticipated trips I’d planned as incoming Society of Professional Journalists president. I had booked flights to Hawaii, Minnesota, Utah, Illinois, Indiana and Washington, D.C. — three for regional SPJ conferences and three others for leadership training, a board meeting and our Sigma Delta Chi Awards.


March 22nd, 2021
10 with DuJuan McCoy DuJuan McCoy began his career in Indianapolis selling TV advertising spots door-to-door. More than three decades later, the media mogul has managed, owned and operated various networks, at one point becoming the only Black person to own and operate a Fox affiliate in the United States.


March 8th, 2021
SPJ Journalist’s Toolbox Tool of the Month: Scrape data from a web page/format it for editing Government websites love to bury data in tables on web pages. Why? It satisfies legal requirements for making document public under sunshine laws, but it renders the data useless. You can’t sort or filter the data to look for trends, do math calculations to find rates and averages, and other things journalists need to find stories.


March 1st, 2021
News Biz Quiz: Podcasts, McClatchy, Tiger Woods, more Welcome to March’s News Biz Quiz which, like the month itself, comes in like a lion and goes out like…well…name another thing with big, sharp teeth and you’ve pretty much got the idea. But in between we’ll ask about coverage of Tiger Woods, the U.S.


February 22nd, 2021
Mentoring in a New World Today’s young and upcoming journalists have uniquely advantageous qualities and experiences. They interact widely and frequently through social media. They are resourceful and accustomed to getting immediate answers. They prolifically produce their own media through YouTube, TikTok, VSCO and other media sharing apps.


February 15th, 2021
Handling the Hate Rachael Eyler was confident she was prepared to start her career as a multimedia reporter at a small Wisconsin TV station back in the spring. She had a new journalism degree, experience from internships and campus media, and was coming off a multimedia fellowship at The Wall Street Journal in London.