A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

April 13th, 2017 • Quill Archives
Tips For Digging Out of the ’Fake News’ Sinkhole

The “fake news” avalanche began a few months ago, and I continue to dig myself out. I am ignoring the adage that “If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” Within a few days, along with reading a bevy of news reports on fake news, I served on a panel, which in part focused on fake news; a student organization asked me to serve on a panel on how to identify fake news; I did several newspaper and TV interviews on fake news; and a student working on a class project interviewed me about fake news.

February 12th, 2014 • Quill Archives, Education Toolbox
Education Toolbox

During the last week of classes in the fall 2013 term, I told my students about five myths perpetuated within the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University and outside it. One of the myths was “multitasking,” more specifically that the current generation of students is a “multitasking generation” capable of deftly juggling multiple skills and tasks.

September 5th, 2013 • Education Toolbox, Narrative Writing Toolbox
Education Toolbox

Just when curriculums started getting their arms around multimedia storytelling — a slow and sometimes painful journey — a new bully showed up in the schoolyard: data. Not that the idea of telling compelling stories using data is new. It’s not.

February 7th, 2013 • Quill Archives, Education Toolbox
Education Toolbox

Truth remains the journalistic trump card, and accuracy is the foundation for truth. So my teaching involves trying to get students to value truth and accuracy. During the past few weeks, several truth and accuracy threads have cropped up for me.

October 3rd, 2012 • Quill Archives, Education Toolbox
Education Toolbox

I’ve learned through the years that thoroughbreds for the most part run to form. If you study a horse’s past performances in the horse gambler’s bible, the Daily Racing Form, odds are the horse will produce similar results. But horse players often face the dreaded maiden race — an affair for non-winners in which starters have a minimal number of starts or none at all.

February 7th, 2012 • Quill Archives
For Love of Community

On a cool, windy day in June 2011, Becky Dickerson stood in the back of the office of The Community Current newspaper in St. John, Wash., and beamed with satisfaction. Completion of the 1,000 paid-circulation, mail-delivered “almost monthly” newspaper’s July issue remained weeks away.

February 7th, 2012 • Quill Archives
Reflections from Wheat Country

I arrived in St. John, Wash., on May 31 to start a six-week stretch as a reporter for The Community Current newspaper with a back injury that made walking nearly impossible and no idea as to what I had gotten into or what to expect.

October 4th, 2011 • Quill Archives, Education Toolbox
Education Toolbox

Holly Hall pulled together a great panel at the August Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication confab in St. Louis that addressed an increasingly important element of teaching journalism: how and when to use social media for newsgathering. The panel took on chunks of the topic that I’ll call LEP: Legal, Ethical and Professional considerations.

April 4th, 2011 • Quill Archives, Education Toolbox
Education Toolbox

The news about a Feb. 22 call to the governor of Wisconsin from the Buffalo Beast website in which an editor posed as a politically conservative billionaire supporter provided an opportunity for some discussion in my Press Law & Ethics class.

May 13th, 2004 • Quill Archives
Only the methods of stealing are new.

The day after I discussed with students at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa the issue of media credibility, plagiarism and falsifying news reports, I got calls from two reporters seeking comments on the demise of USA Today’s Jack Kelley. One call came from a reporter at The Daily Orange, the student-produced newspaper at Syracuse University.

April 7th, 2004 • Quill Archives
Freedoms of the academy are at risk

I just finished reading a book by David Maraniss titled, “The Marched into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967”. Maraniss meticulously follows three threads that eventually intertwine on a day in mid-October 1967: a group of soldiers as it makes its way to Vietnam – and for many to their death; President Lyndon B.

March 17th, 2004 • Quill Archives
What training do you need?

The buzz in the Tampa Bay area this time of year comes from spring training. It signals the start of the quest for the Major League Baseball championship, and it means a golden opportunity for rookies looking for a first chance and vets looking for a second lease on their baseball life to show their stuff while honing skills.

December 9th, 2003 • Quill Archives
Fishing expeditions hurt public

I routinely take to the flats in the Tampa Bay to wade fish. When I go fishing, I usually know what I can catch. But fishing the flats in the Tampa Bay offers a lot of surprises. Anything can turn up on your line – from a ladyfish to a big, fat trout to a bottom-feeding catfish to a hard-fighting snook.

November 11th, 2003 • Quill Archives, From the President
From the President: Solutions for journalism, Society require action

A few weeks back, I took in an awards luncheon that recognized minority entrepreneurs in the Tampa Bay area. Part of the program involved a 30-minute session delivered by a “motivational speaker.” I admire people that get paid a decent buck to come up with zippy one-liners and plays on words that drive some people to reassess their state in life.

July 24th, 2003 • Quill Archives
Rising from the ashes

When the first major story broke on problems with sexual misconduct within the Roman Catholic Church, I told a friend that for the church, things would get a lot worse before they got better. A reader wrote a letter to the editor in which he stated that the uncovering of sexual abusive behavior among priests would equate to fire for the church – a cleansing agent from which the church would emerge cleaner, stronger and healthier.