A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists


Quill Archives


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

Of the myriad ways coronavirus has exposed rifts in American life, for journalists one of the most important came in the form of a freedom of information request issued on March 19. The request came from Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute, and seeks policies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the White House restricting CDC employees’ communications with the press and the public, including those related to the coronavirus pandemic.


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.”


November 19th, 2019 • Featured, Quill Archives
A note from the next generation

As we look to the future of journalism, we at SPJ thought it would be insightful to hear from the future of journalism. The Future of Journalism essay contest asked student journalists to submit essays on the subject with a prize of $500, registration at SPJ’s Excellence in Journalism conference in San Antonio, and publication here.


October 1st, 2019 • Featured, Quill Archives, Ethics Toolbox
The SPJ Code of Ethics at 110

As the Society of Professional Journalists celebrates its 110th anniversary in 2019, it may come as a surprise that SPJ did not have its signature Code of Ethics for the group’s first 17 years. In 1909 when the young men at DePauw University founded SPJ as a college fraternity, Sigma Delta Chi, one of their goals was “to advance the standards of the press by fostering a higher ethical code.”


September 18th, 2019 • Featured, Quill Archives
Looking backward: 1909

In an effort to understand where we came from, Quill asked Sandy Davidson, Curators’ Teaching Professor at the Missouri School of Journalism, to paint a picture of what the world looked like for the media around the time of SPJ’s founding.


September 12th, 2019 • Featured, Quill Archives
Teaching truth

A Stanford University study found most middle school students surveyed couldn’t tell native advertisements from news articles. As concerning: Many high school students couldn’t distinguish between a real news source and a fake one on Facebook. “When I started in 2011, there was not any concept that media literacy was needed in the 21st century,” according to Erin McNeill, founder of the national Media Literacy Now organization.


September 4th, 2019 • Featured, Quill Archives, From the President
From the President: Carpe diem

One hundred ten years ago, 10 young men dressed in black and white ceremoniously entered the chapel at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind. and pledged their faith to the power of journalism. Their youthful idealism gave rise to the Society of Professional Journalists.