One of the most important jobs of any newsroom in any city is to tell the stories of the people who shape and construct the narratives of the community. But for many years, newsrooms, reporters and leaders did not reflect those communities as well as they should.
(image credit: www.epictop10.com) Many a great story has come out of Freedom of Information Act findings. At the same time, many a story doesn’t get written because the requested documents don’t arrive by deadline – if at all. And the two-year-old pandemic is worsening response times.
Jeff Zucker’s departure from the network he led has been big news. But media executives and newsroom managers who strive to produce journalism with high ethical standards should take note of a passing detail in the events at CNN that preceded his leaving.
For almost four decades, Maria Hinojosa has shared the stories of marginalized communities through work that celebrates the diversity of the American experience. In 1992, she helped launch the Peabody Award–winning “Latino USA” — one of the earliest public-radio shows devoted to Latino issues — and is its host and executive producer.
Launching a journalism startup in the midst of a pandemic, protests and a presidential election year with an unstable economy looming overhead, most would probably agree, is a terrible idea. But, for The 19th co-founders Amanda Zamora and Emily Ramshaw, it was the perfect opportunity to put women front and center.
August 23rd, 2021 • Featured, Quill Archives, Diversity, People and Places
Ms. Mayhem: A self-funded news website takes pride in reporting on the intersection of race, class, gender, ability and sexual orientation
Late one night in December 2017, Madison Lauterbach was having trouble falling asleep in the Sydney, Australia, hostel where she was staying over Christmas break. In between journalism school semesters at Metropolitan State University of Denver and getting ready to start her first journalism internship, she had an epiphany.
BridgeDetroit launched in the middle of 2020 with one purpose: to focus on “lifting up the issues that Detroiters themselves identify as important to their lives.” That meant staffing with a diverse team that reflected the city’s demographics, and hiring an engagement director whose job would be to meet with the community in an effort to create something that truly represented Detroit.
Every Tuesday and Wednesday, Portia Li makes the 45-minute trek north from her Millbrae home to San Francisco’s iconic Chinatown neighborhood. On a particularly gorgeous day, with a warmth that is the antithesis of the cool weather the City by the Bay is known for, she purposely parks on hilly Sacramento Street.
Remember your first nerve-racking interview as a student journalist? Remember the thrill of finishing your first story and having it actually be in the world? Remember reaching out to pros for advice while in college, not knowing if they’d talk to you, then hearing they gladly would?
I’d like to begin this, the final Quill News Biz Quiz, by saying thanks. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed these quizzes over the last few months and perhaps even gotten some new insight into how media itself can shape the news. As for me, I’m signing off to start work on my PhD in mass communications at: a) Syracuse University’s Newhouse School b) Faber College c) Grand Lakes University d) Wossamatta U e) UC Sunnydale The correct answer is a, obviously, but bonus points for you if you can name the source of the fictional higher education locations on this list.
This feature celebrates one of SPJ’s four guiding principals: We are producers of journalism’s future. These days, Robert Walz approaches his teaching in much the same way he did as a TV news anchor: with short bursts of information delivered in an engaging way.
Ken Ellingwood readily admits that the subject of his new book is not exactly a household name. But for anyone who believes mightily in the First Amendment, Elijah Lovejoy was a titan of its promise and protections. “First to Fall: Elijah Lovejoy and the Fight for a Free Press in the Age of Slavery” is Ellingwood’s deeply researched story of a man in the 1830s who used the power of the pen to speak out firmly against the horrors of slavery, fighting back harder with every death threat and unruly mob who came after him.
This feature celebrates one of SPJ’s four guiding principals: We are stewards of ethical journalism. Truth took a beating during the past four years, with the previous U.S. president frequently spewing provably false or misleading statements as disinformation overall coursed through social media with ferocious speed.
Sid Holt, executive director of the American Society of Magazine Editors, knows a thing or two about long-form journalism. He started his career in 1984 at Rolling Stone, where he rose to managing editor within six years. His crowded resume also includes a stint as editorial director of Us Magazine; editor-in-chief and executive vice president of Adweek Magazines from 1998 to 2004; chief editor of Editor & Publisher; and editorial director of VNU Business Media, whose digital and print portfolio includes Billboard and the Hollywood Reporter.
This feature celebrates one of SPJ’s four guiding principals: We are champions for journalists. For nearly 90 years, the Society of Professional Journalists awards have honored journalists and outlets for their crucial contributions to the profession. The awards are designed to recognize the very best in professional journalism across print, radio, television, newsletters, art/graphics and online.
April 16th, 2021 • Featured, Quill Blog
Hicks: DeSantis square off with “60 Minutes” feeds media distrust
It sounded familiar: A politician brazenly admonishing the press for a story that portrayed him unfavorably, accusing the reporter of bias and the “big corporate media” of smearing his name for profit. But Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ excoriation of a “60 Minutes” report on the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout landed differently because a significant aspect of his criticism — a questionable allegation of wrongdoing — was echoed by respected mainstream journalists and news organizations, elevating the credibility of his complaint.
April 12th, 2021 • Featured, Quill Blog, Toolbox, Quill Archives
SPJ Journalist’s Toolbox Tool of the Month: Scraping a .PDF
I loathe .PDFs of public records with the power of a thousand suns. They’re a tease. They’re full of data tables but useless to most data journalists in the .PDF format. And government officials love to share them with us because they know a .PDF
This feature celebrates one of SPJ’s four guiding principals: We are fighters for the First Amendment. You’ve written a story that embarrassed someone who now wants the name of your protected source. Or perhaps a trial judge demands you testify and spill all.
April 1st, 2021 • Featured, Quill Blog, Quill Archives, News Biz Quiz
News Biz Quiz: Oprah, Jeopardy, media leaders, more
No foolin’ — it’s time for another News Biz Quiz! Yes, this one does have a story that fooled some news outlets. It also has Oprah making fools out of some British royals and late newsman Roger Mudd fooling a politician with a seemingly easy question.
A goal of American newspaper editors to achieve newsroom diversity that matched the racial and ethnic diversity of the country was considered so ambitious they set the deadline more than two decades out. Twenty years after the deadline, the goal still hasn’t been met, but the urgent need to do so remains, highlighted by the recent Atlanta-area killings of eight people, six of them women of Asian descent.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I had to cancel a half-dozen eagerly anticipated trips I’d planned as incoming Society of Professional Journalists president. I had booked flights to Hawaii, Minnesota, Utah, Illinois, Indiana and Washington, D.C. — three for regional SPJ conferences and three others for leadership training, a board meeting and our Sigma Delta Chi Awards.
DuJuan McCoy began his career in Indianapolis selling TV advertising spots door-to-door. More than three decades later, the media mogul has managed, owned and operated various networks, at one point becoming the only Black person to own and operate a Fox affiliate in the United States.
Government websites love to bury data in tables on web pages. Why? It satisfies legal requirements for making document public under sunshine laws, but it renders the data useless. You can’t sort or filter the data to look for trends, do math calculations to find rates and averages, and other things journalists need to find stories.
March 1st, 2021 • Featured, Quill Blog, Quill Archives, News Biz Quiz
News Biz Quiz: Podcasts, McClatchy, Tiger Woods, more
Welcome to March’s News Biz Quiz which, like the month itself, comes in like a lion and goes out like…well…name another thing with big, sharp teeth and you’ve pretty much got the idea. But in between we’ll ask about coverage of Tiger Woods, the U.S.
Today’s young and upcoming journalists have uniquely advantageous qualities and experiences. They interact widely and frequently through social media. They are resourceful and accustomed to getting immediate answers. They prolifically produce their own media through YouTube, TikTok, VSCO and other media sharing apps.
Rachael Eyler was confident she was prepared to start her career as a multimedia reporter at a small Wisconsin TV station back in the spring. She had a new journalism degree, experience from internships and campus media, and was coming off a multimedia fellowship at The Wall Street Journal in London.
Presidents, soldiers who died in the line of duty, even those who gave their lives saving others on the Titanic all have been memorialized with monuments in the nation’s capital. Now, journalists killed in the line of duty may get their due too.
Reporters hate transcribing notes and they often ask me during newsroom training what tools work best. They want speed and accuracy with the transcriptions, and they want it free (or very cheap). I’ve listed many tools on the Toolbox’s Transcription Tools page, but here are my three favorites for speed, use and cost: Otter.ai:
There they are. Your words. Published by someone without your permission. Long the bane of writers, publishers and photographers; the practice has become especially common on the Internet. But if you want to collect damages, traditionally you would have to sue in federal court, a time-consuming and expensive route that can wind up not being worth the effort.
February 1st, 2021 • Featured, Quill Blog, Quill Archives, News Biz Quiz
New/improved News Biz Quiz: Press secs, Larry King, more
Welcome to the newly reformatted and expanded News Biz Quiz. Starting with this month, it will appear monthly. To play, simply answer the following questions dealing with the last few weeks of news about the news. Total your score and compare that to either your journalistic colleagues or the scoring key right there in the blue box.
Note: This story was published in Quill in 2020, prior to Marty Baron’s retirement announcement. It’s been a bumpy year so far, but Marty Baron makes sure to wear a helmet for the ride. Baron, a regular cyclist, is executive editor of The Washington Post and plans to edit the publication at least through the 2020 election.
Editor’s note: This is the first of what will be monthly posts about how to use digital and data tools on Journalist’s Toolbox. Check back each month for new tools, tips and tricks. Google launched its Dataset Search tool in November 2018 to help researchers locate data that is freely available for use.