A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists


Quill Archives


October 26th, 2020 • Quill Blog, Quill Archives, News Biz Quiz
News Biz Quiz for 10/28: New meaning to ‘media exposure’

In this week’s News Biz Quiz, we learn what the term “media exposure” is NOT supposed to mean, and there’s no joy in Mudville as sports networks lose carriers.   1. Okay, let’s dispense with this straightaway: What legal analyst was suspended from his job at The New Yorker and placed on leave by CNN after (accidentally, he says) exposing himself on a Zoom call with colleagues?


October 23rd, 2020 • Featured, Quill Blog, Quill Archives, People and Places
2020 Fellow interview: Jorge Ramos

A breaking news event that occurred in the United States 39 years ago started longtime Univision anchor Jorge Ramos on his journalism career path. To help pay for college, the Mexico City native was working at a Mexico radio station. When then-U.S.


October 22nd, 2020 • Featured, Quill Blog, Quill Archives
Before you write about that “haunted” house …

Editor’s Note: ‘Tis the season…for otherwise credible publications to publish unsubstantiated reports of haunted houses and other paranormal activity. To discuss why this is a problem, Quill reached out to Dr. Rob Pyatt, who led the “Weird Science: What Journalists Get Wrong About Scientific Studies…and How to Get It Right” program at the SPJ2020.


October 19th, 2020 • Quill Archives
News Biz Quiz for 10/19: a buyout, a merger and a gossip columnist documentary

Hello, Mr. and Mrs. America, from border to border and coast to coast and all the ships at sea, let’s go to press…with this week’s News Biz Quiz!   A University of Mississippi study shows that what group of people is appearing on three times more magazine covers than in past years?


October 12th, 2020 • Quill Archives
News Biz Quiz for 10/12: Twitter rules, an auctioned desk and more

No, The Big Red Machine is not the name for Alexander Lukashenko’s cabinet. But they both figure into this week’s News Biz Quiz.   Over the weekend, the Radio-Television Digital News Association held its national awards ceremony digitally, due to COVID-19. For what legendary newsman are those awards named?


October 8th, 2020 • Featured, Quill Blog, Quill Archives, Bookshelf
Bookshelf: A career journalist travels the U.S. to define “Genus Americanus”

Mark Twain once said that “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” It is those who never wander past their front door, who have the hardest time making sense of a world in constant evolution, where the status quo is a symbol of stagnation, rather than progress. 


September 15th, 2020 • Featured, Quill Blog, Quill Archives, Bookshelf
Bookshelf: Brian Stelter’s “Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth”

In order to understand Donald Trump, Brian Stelter argues in his new book, you have to understand Fox News.  Stelter, CNN chief media correspondent and anchor of “Reliable Sources,” put that view between covers in “Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth,” for which he interviewed 140 current Fox staffers and 180 former employees.


September 10th, 2020 • Featured, Quill Blog, Quill Archives
SPJ2020: Virtual D.C. tours for a virtual conference 

SPJ’s Washington, D.C. Pro chapter was really looking forward to showing off the city during this year’s national conference.  But since you all can’t join us in person, we can at least offer  a few virtual highlights to give you a taste of D.C. 


September 9th, 2020 • Featured, Quill Blog, Quill Archives, Freelancing
California freelancers battle AB5 and the PROAct

Assembly Bill 5, or AB5, ripped through the careers of California freelance journalists much like wildfires churn through the Golden State, turning trees and bushes into plumes of ash. I am one of the lucky ones, whose freelance career has been damaged, but not completely destroyed – yet.


September 4th, 2020 • Featured, Quill Blog, Quill Archives, From the President
From the President: Putting SPJ Fellows at the forefront

Throughout its 111 years of history, SPJ has created innumerable cherished traditions. Among them is the Fellows of the Society program, launched in 1948. In those 72 years the Society has named 214 fellows. Last year, at our annual fall convention, we honored Maria Ressa of Rappler, and retired Associated Press staffers Terry Anderson and Nick Ut, plus Jamal Khashoggi of The Washington Post posthumously.


August 28th, 2020 • Featured, Quill Blog, Quill Archives
Pulling up anchors: Hiring broadcast talent in COVID-19 times

The pandemic forced lots of changes to the collection and presentation of TV news. Sources, instead of pontificating to a visiting reporter, now chime in from their home offices via Zoom. And anchors, instead of literally rubbing elbows with their peers on the studio set, are just as likely to broadcast from home as well.


August 13th, 2020 • Featured, Quill Blog, Quill Archives
Future of in-flight magazines remains up in the air

For decades, well-thumbed copies of inflight magazines were as much a fixture on commercial airliners as peanuts and absurdly tiny pillows. They typically nestled in seat-back pockets next to the barf bags, offering a few minutes of distraction to one of the most captive of captive audiences—fliers sealed inside a pressurized tube cruising at 40,000 feet.


August 11th, 2020 • Featured, Quill Blog, Quill Archives, Bookshelf
Bookshelf: Investigative journalist Jean Guerrero’s “Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, and the White Nationalist Agenda”

Investigative journalist Jean Guerrero has spent years covering immigration in the United States. When the Trump administration implemented a family separation policy in 2018, she found parents who had committed no crimes or threats were still being separated.  She wanted to know why.


July 23rd, 2020 • Featured, Quill Blog, Quill Archives
Awards: Getting your best work recognized shouldn’t be an afterthought

Come 2021, it’s a safe bet some of the stories, web graphics, podcasts and editorial cartoons about COVID-19 will be honored with awards. The virus has spawned a crush of good journalism, and while such awards aren’t the highest priority, they can be important to a team’s morale.


July 13th, 2020 • Featured, Quill Archives
Building a better chapter

In recruiting members and leaders, staging programs and recognizing outstanding work, most SPJ chapters may look a good deal alike. But some stand out. What’s the key? “Programming,” said Patricia Gallagher Newberry, SPJ National President and the journalism program area director at Miami University in Ohio.


June 22nd, 2020 • Quill Archives, From the President
From the President: Journalism, now more than ever

Of late, my T-shirt drawer bulges with pro-press slogans: Democracy Dies in Darkness, #Not the Enemy, I Back the First Amendment, America Needs Journalists and Journalism Matters Now More Than Ever. I’m thinking I’ll need a post-COVID-19 addition that reads: Yes, You Should Major in Journalism.


June 11th, 2020 • Featured, Quill Blog, Quill Archives, Diversity, Ten With...
10 with Nikole Hannah-Jones

When The New York Times Magazine writer Nikole Hannah-Jones pitched the 1619 Project to her editors last year, she didn’t know that people would drive 60 miles to get their hands on the issue the day it dropped or that a few thousand more would line the streets outside the paper’s office nearly two weeks later to snag a copy.


June 8th, 2020 • Featured, Quill Blog, Quill Archives
Hicks: Safety and self-care vital for front-line journalists

When police in Ferguson, Missouri, launched tear gas into a crowd of protesters in 2014, reporter Errin Haines was swept up in the ensuing stampede, prompting a man to usher her and another journalist to safety in his nearby home.  The man wasn’t a total stranger.


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 • 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.


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.