A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists


Quill Archives


October 29th, 2018 • Quill Blog, Quill Archives, Diversity
I tried to find a young conservative on the internet. It was really hard.

While researching a recent story for Mic on first-time voters, I wanted to talk to 18- and 19-year-olds across the political spectrum about their experience with the political system, and the issues and candidates they care about ahead of the midterm elections.


October 8th, 2018 • Quill Archives
When approaching a story, you must play your cards right

About a year ago I began playing a card game that offers lessons for reporters and writers. How we approach and structure a story reminds me of how I decide what to bid while playing Pitch. The simple game is similar to poker.


September 22nd, 2018 • Quill Archives
A media historian reflects on using Quill as a source

For more than a century the Society of Professional Journalists’ Quill has evolved from the ambitious, collegiate musings of a few earnest young men in a journalistic fraternity, Sigma Delta Chi, to the national resource that it remains for all its members.


September 18th, 2018 • Toolbox, Quill Archives, Freelance Toolbox, Freelancing
2017 law means changes for freelancers’ taxes

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) included several provisions that affect how independent journalists are taxed on their business income. We asked Matthew Apodaca, a certified public accountant and executive vice president at NCH Tax & Wealth Advisors in Fullerton, California, to help us understand the current tax situation for freelancers.


August 29th, 2018 • Featured, Quill Archives, Freedom of Information, Journalist on Call
Annapolis community: Slain journalists ‘were part of us’

ANNAPOLIS, Md.  — When Jessie Haynes first heard about a shooting at the Capital Gazette, across the street from the mall where she works, she assumed it was carried out by someone featured unfavorably in a news story. It didn’t cross her mind, as it did many journalists across the country, that the shooter might have been inspired to attack a newsroom by rhetoric coming from the U.S.


May 31st, 2018 • Featured, Quill Archives
Do journalists deserve some blame for America’s mass shootings?

The reporter who won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for feature writing initially thought she was in Charleston, South Carolina, to chronicle the lives of nine church-goers who died in 2015 when a stranger with a Glock murdered them while they were praying.


November 2nd, 2017 • Quill Archives
Bruce Sanford honored with Wells Memorial Key

Recognizing this year’s Wells Memorial Key winner, Bruce W. Sanford, was an honor far overdue – as illustrated by the unprecedented 34 current and past leaders who signed his nomination letter. While most members might not know Sanford, the BakerHostetler partner has been a central figure in the Society of Professional Journalists’ advocacy efforts since November 1980, when he began as the Society’s attorney.


November 2nd, 2017 • Quill Archives
Ten: with David Fahrenthold

Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold has covered a wide variety of topics in his 17 years at the newspaper. Like many journalists, he started as an intern before becoming a night cops reporter. He has since reported on the Washington, D.C., police, the environment New England region.


November 2nd, 2017 • Quill Archives
Newsroom ethics discussions don’t have to be uncomfortable

No person likes to confront co-workers or managers about issues in the workplace. The conversations can be uncomfortable and lead to hurt feelings. However, those discussions are often necessary to create a good work environment. In addition to topics such as salary issues and disputes with co-workers, journalists may sometimes need to confront managers and co-workers about another touchy subject: ethics.


November 2nd, 2017 • Quill Archives
Freelancers: Learn to overcome record request hurdles

“And who are you reporting for?” This the most dreaded question I hear as a freelancer, especially when I’m calling a public office to request records. I don’t fault anyone for asking it — it’s a natural question, and I’m sure I would ask it too, if the tables were turned.


November 2nd, 2017 • Quill Archives
Students and live news: Tips to avoiding kryptonite

Social media has changed not only the face of journalism. It has changed the entire standard for what is news and, in particular, what is considered “breaking news.” With a 24-hour news hole to fill, 365 days a year, even professional reporters have been tripped up while trying to beat the next 24-hour news cycler to the punch.


November 2nd, 2017 • Quill Archives, Narrative Writing Toolbox
Energize yourself with a new writing approach

I wrote in the last issue about a young reporter who discovered the critical importance of picking the right character upon which to build a story. Now I want to introduce you to Jen Kocher, a reporter for a weekly newspaper in Wyoming.