A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists


Quill Archives


May 14th, 2020 • Featured, Quill Blog, Quill Archives
Covering COVID-19: SciLine’s director on avoiding the overreach

Whether we went to journalism school or worked our way up through a series of hard-nosed editors, we all were taught that the job is to tell people the news so they can react to those facts as they will — not to tell them how to feel about it.


May 7th, 2020 • Featured, Quill Archives, Membership
Pins, Pathways and Purpose: The challenges for membership organizations

SPJ has a new Executive Director. But rather than write a standard profile of him, Quill asked John Shertzer to write about his informed thoughts on the challenges facing membership organizations. I love membership associations. From the time I wore my blue corduroy FFA jacket in high school, and then my fraternity badge in college, and, soon after, my Kiwanis pin as a working professional, I have been attracted to organizations with missions devoted to making men and women better.


May 1st, 2020 • Featured, Quill Blog, Quill Archives, Journalist on Call, Odds and Ends
Beyond the hard news: 23 tips for when feature ideas run out

While COVID19 has necessitated hard news writing (under very challenging circumstances), consumers also need and want more to engage them, help them and even make them smile during these challenging times. Need some ideas to supplement the leading news stories? At Quill, we brainstormed and came up with a list of story areas that might fill your editorial gaps. Dating life.


April 21st, 2020 • Featured, Quill Archives, Journalism Education
(News)Letter Perfect

Let me start with a quick introduction: My team leads strategy for email newsletters at The Wall Street Journal. We’re big believers in email as a tool to deliver news and engage audiences. Across the media landscape, email newsletters are on fire, and for all the right reasons.


April 15th, 2020 • Featured, Quill Blog, Quill Archives, Bookshelf, Diversity, Odds and Ends
Bookshelf: “Ebony Magazine and Lerone Bennett Jr.: Popular Black History in Postwar America”

For decades, Ebony magazine provided something unique: a high-gloss, high-profile magazine focused solely on black America. While other magazines offered occasional glimpses into their lives, their heroes and their challenges, Ebony put African Americans and their stories on the cover and on every page that followed.


April 3rd, 2020 • Featured, Departments, Quill Archives
CDC sued over release of policies restricting free speech

CORRECTION: The headline for this story originally stated that the White House was being sued. The original FOIA request was for the CDC and the White House, but the subsequent lawsuit only names the CDC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human services.


April 1st, 2020 • Featured, Quill Blog, Toolbox, Quill Archives, Freelance Toolbox
Freelancers, Unemployment and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act

Can you show a decrease in your journalism income because of the current pandemic? Freelance journalists nationwide including sole proprietors, independent contractors and the self-employed (for example, S Corporation owners) might now be entitled unemployment benefits in their state. Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, the provisions of the unemployment program have been expanded to help provide temporary monetary relief for freelance journalists and other workers who illustrate a decrease in income resulting from the effects of the current pandemic virus on business operations.


March 18th, 2020 • Featured, Quill Blog, Toolbox, Quill Archives
Hicks: Groups urge care, precision in coronavirus reporting

Journalists covering the coronavirus have produced compelling, informative stories, but along the way, there have been mischaracterizations, inaccuracies and absent nuances. An ABC News story posted to its website incorrectly implied the terms coronavirus and COVID-19 can be used interchangeably, a common mistake.


March 12th, 2020 • Quill Blog, Quill Archives, Bookshelf
Bookshelf: “Conversations on Conflict Photography”

As Lauren Walsh was preparing to teach her New York University class on ethics and photojournalism one day a few years ago, she projected onto a screen an image that would open that day’s discussion. Shot at a food line in the Sudan, the photo depicted in stark black-and-white a man so weakened by starvation that he could not stand.


March 3rd, 2020 • Featured, Quill Blog, Quill Archives, Journalist on Call
Hicks: During crises, public needs trust in government and the press

As the infectious coronavirus travels the globe, claiming more than 3,000 lives so far, public health professionals have urged people to learn the facts. Meanwhile, a White House official had a different message for Americans: Stay uninformed. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Feb.


February 25th, 2020 • Quill Blog, Quill Archives, Bookshelf
Bookshelf: New book explores trade publication’s role in exposure of the Keating Five

In late 1989, front pages and evening newscasts were dominated for weeks by stories about the national savings and loan crisis that saw more than 1,000 thrift institutions fail. Drawing particular interest from the media was a high-powered businessman named Charles Keating Jr.,


February 17th, 2020 • Quill Blog, Quill Archives
Hicks: Snoop Dogg’s threat to Gayle King echoes national media attacks

Snoop Dogg’s sexist, threatening response to Gayle King for bringing up an old rape allegation against Kobe Bryant looked very familiar. It reminded me of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo launching into a profanity-laced tantrum following an interview with National Public Radio anchor Mary Louise Kelly.


January 16th, 2020 • Quill Blog, Quill Archives
Update: “Bombshell,” “Richard Jewell” and more

“110 Journalism Movies, Ranked”  — Quill’s cinematic way of celebrating the 110th anniversary of SPJ — proved overwhelmingly popular. And it continues to get visited by a steady stream of readers. Since publication of the original piece, though, there has been a run of new movies with journalistic themes, which put our seemingly exhaustive story at risk of being outdated.


January 2nd, 2020 • Featured, Quill Archives
POV: Asperger’s in the newsroom

What’s the fallout from the radical downturn in the influence of newspapers? To be sure, a less informed populace. More stories generated from press releases. Fewer in-depth articles. Less enterprise coverage of local and regional news. I think there’s something else.


December 11th, 2019 • Featured, Quill Archives
POV: “Richard Jewell” and the real Kathy Scruggs

I love movies about the news industry. The best ones provide the public true insight into the hard work, long hours and dedication to truth that define real journalists like the ones I’ve been privileged to call workmates in various newsrooms across America.


November 27th, 2019 • Featured, Quill Blog, Quill Archives
POV: Journalism PTSD

Marcella Raymond joined the WGN News team in October 1998 and serves as a general assignment reporter. In June of 2019, she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. “Sharing my story is scary,” she said, “but I’m hoping we can address the stigma of PTSD, show the warning signs, and get real.”