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.” But they could not agree on just what that code would be.
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.
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.
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.
August 23rd, 2019 • Quill Archives
Video: Celebrating SPJ’s 110th at the place where it began
In 1909, a group of students founded the Society of Professional Journalists (as Sigma Delta Chi) at DePauw University. On Aug. 23, SPJ staffers, its board president, university official and more gathered on the spot where it happened for a brief ceremony celebrating its 110th anniversary.
Connecting two sources directly to President Nixon was proving challenging, in spite of the efforts of reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Just when a connection looked solid, a potential source clammed up. Evidence couldn’t be secured. And Nixon was building momentum heading toward the end of his term.
An SPJ member asked: “A local entertainment publication provides a weekly print edition with information on weekly entertainment happenings in the area. They also feature various articles on people and events. Sometimes the cover is sold for the featured event. Does this require a disclosure?
Ben Montgomery estimates that he’s written more than 150,000 words about Florida’s Arthur Dozier School for Boys, where for more than 100 years children were abused—or worse—at the hands of the state. Estimates are that nearly 100 boys died and were buried there before the facility was shut down in June 2011, and as recently as mid-July, University of South Florida forensic anthropologist Erin Kimmerle began an investigation of 27 possible graves at the site.
Susan Yerkes doesn’t like to call what she used to write a gossip column. “I never thought of what I wrote as that,” she said. “The word gossip, to me, has an unpleasant connotation, kind of a snarky one. I think of gossip as a kind of negative, personal besmirching.” But the column that Yerkes wrote, first for the San Antonio Light, and later for the Express-News, fits into what most people would recognize as a gossip column: short items of news, usually about people or about the culture, full of human interest and foibles, though not usually about scandal.
Hollywood helps define just about everything in America. And journalism is no exception. From “Citizen Kane” to “The Post” and from “Libeled Lady” to “All the President’s Men,” reporters have clashed with editors, danced on both sides of the ethical line, and otherwise populated hits and duds on the silver screen.
Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency could add new revenue streams for journalism. Or perhaps they are nothing more than distractions from the industry’s drastic problems. That depends who you ask. Proponents say that blockchain technology and cryptocurrency could open a new revenue stream for journalism, create more security and permanence of news archives, and give readers a new way to engage with news and journalists.
James Graham’s play “Ink” opened April 24 at Broadway’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Quill asked New York-based arts journalist Martha Wade Steketee to take a look and report back. Here are her thoughts. Playwright James Graham’s “Ink” imagines tabloid emperor Rupert Murdoch’s origin story, rooted in a 1969 London we barely see, amidst London landmarks that are named but not evoked, told by characters sometimes half described.