A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists



September 27th, 2007 • Quill Archives
10 Tips for Covering City/County Elections

Look for skeletons in the closet The media has a wealth of public information at its disposal, especially from police and court records, that can be used to conduct background checks on candidates running for office in municipal elections. “We do a little bit of investigative work on candidates when they announce, checking into their background as far as any legal troubles,” said Jeff Brown, news editor of The Dover Post in Delaware’s capital city.


September 27th, 2007 • Quill Archives
10 Tips for Covering School Board Elections

Experiment with new storytelling methods Incorporating more visual storytelling elements can help keep your audience interested in the election and draw them in to your campaign coverage. “Very few people will read a 30-inch story previewing a school board race,” said Paul Osmondson, editor of The Herald in Rock Hill, S.C.


September 27th, 2007 • Quill Archives
10 Tips for Covering State Elections

Get your whole newsroom informed Covering a statewide election is a big undertaking for any newsroom, and it will involve a huge portion of its staff in one way or another. Preparation needs to extend to everyone, not just state politics beat reporters.


September 27th, 2007 • Quill Archives
Study: Journalism industry recovery beginning to level off

The job market is flattening and benefits packages are declining for journalism and mass communication graduates entering the work force. The downturn ends two years of industry recovery, according to the 2006 Annual Survey of Journalism and Mass Communication Graduates conducted at the James M.


September 1st, 2007 • Quill Archives
Federal shield law one step closer to becoming reality

A federal shield law, known as the Free Flow of Information Act, gained approval by voice vote from the House Judiciary Committee on Aug. 1, bringing it one step closer to passage. The House bill (HR 2102) was authored by Rep.


September 1st, 2007 • Quill Archives
Beating Down Secrecy

In the wake of heightened government secrecy in the post-9/11 era, one media outlet has responded by making freedom of information news coverage a full-time job. The government secrecy beat at Cox News Service’s Washington Bureau was the brainchild of bureau chief Andy Alexander, who dreamed up the position in response to the heightened levels of secrecy — not just in the Bush administration but at state and local levels.


September 1st, 2007 • Quill Archives
Governments Fight Back

Journalists have been fighting what they view as government and agency abuse of Freedom of Information laws for as long as the laws have been on the books. Now, in cases where FOI laws have been deemed to be over-used or purposely abused by the public they are intended to benefit, governments are fighting back.


September 1st, 2007 • Quill Archives
State of FOIA

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill Aug. 3 that would strengthen the Freedom of Information Act and close existing loopholes. The vote ended months of deadlock on the measure and has brought FOIA one step closer to reform. The 110th Congress has seen the introduction of legislation proposing the most significant overhaul to the Freedom of Information Act in more than a decade, when the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996 helped bring federal public records law into the modern age.


September 1st, 2007 • Quill Archives
Database Denials

Computers and databases have revolutionized how public information is created and stored. But the technology has not necessarily translated into better access for the media. Many journalists across the country are discovering that getting digital records has become more of an obstacle simply because of the format, not the content.