A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists



December 20th, 2013 • Quill Archives
The Life, Death and Legend of Ambrose Bierce

The college student assigned to write a term paper about Ambrose Bierce, one of the most widely read and influential journalists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, will be confronted with a peculiar notation for his lifespan: 1842-1914? A question mark?


February 1st, 2010 • Quill Archives
Quill Feature: Between the Sword and the Wall

The normally placid Central American republic of Honduras has been the focus of domestic and international political turmoil for months, and the Honduran media have found themselves caught, in the Spanish expression, entre la espada y la pared (between the sword and the wall).


March 30th, 2006 • Quill Archives
Daily Dilemma

Communication scholars call them agenda-setters, gatekeepers or filters. To their employees, they are the budget-setters. To their audiences, they are the ones to blame if something goes unreported or something is inaccurate. Within the profession, they are editors and news directors, the ones who sift through the prodigious amount of news flowing in relentlessly from wire services or staff reporters and decide which are stories reported in the finite amount of space or time available, where they run in the pecking order, and how much space or time they are alotted.


March 8th, 2005 • Quill Archives
Journalism 201: Learning about the bottom line

Fact of life: The First Amendment does not protect a college newspaper’s bottom line. The staff of Driftwood, the 45-year-old student weekly at the University of New Orleans, learned that bitter lesson the hard way in December when Chancellor Tim Ryan ordered the newspaper closed — not for offensive content, but because of an ocean of red ink.


March 17th, 2004 • Quill Archives
Chilean media face ethical growing pains

Fourteen years after being unshackled from the constraints of the Pinochet dictatorship, the Chilean media are undergoing a major self-examination into whether they are abusing their freedom through their sensational and allegedly unethical reporting of a pedophile scandal with political overtones.


November 12th, 2003 • Quill Archives
Press freedoms hinge on Guatemalan election

Democracy-conscious Guatemalans – and especially intimidation-weary journalists – will hold their breaths Nov. 9 as the country elects its fifth president under its 18-year-old democracy. The stakes are high. Among the crowded field of candidates is former military strongman Efraín Ríos Montt, 77, once the most popular political figure in Guatemala but one not known for his tolerance of media criticism.


February 6th, 2002 • Quill Archives
‘I Feel Stronger’

At 9:15 a.m. on Jan. 4, Vanessa Leggett, an aspiring Houston crime novelist, walked onto the street in front of the Federal Detention Center in downtown Houston for a tearful reunion with her husband, Doak. Leggett had occupied an 8-by-10-foot cell there since July 20, a total of 168 days.


July 31st, 2001 • Quill Archives
Bittersweet legal victories in Latin America

Two Latin American journalists who have been prosecuted and persecuted under the defamation laws of their respective democratic governments have recently celebrated muted victories. Alejandra Matus, a Chilean journalist and author who has spent more than two years in self-imposed exile in Miami, has seen Chile’s national security law repealed and the defamation charges against her dropped – but her book remains banned, and she still faces a libel suit brought by a Supreme Court justice.