A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists


Quill Blog


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.


September 30th, 2018 • Quill Blog, Ethics Toolbox
10 lessons in journalism ethics

My tenure as the Society of Professional Journalists’ ethics committee chairperson began in September 2014. A Minneapolis news station would broadcast a story now known as #Pointergate in early November. Rolling Stone would publish its now-infamous story on sexual assault a couple of weeks later. 


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.


September 14th, 2018 • Quill Blog, Freedom of the Prez
Honor those who sacrificed their lives practicing ethical journalism

In the fall issue of Quill, we examine the state of local news from a writer who visited dozens of newsrooms across the country. Those of us who work in local newsrooms, or have friends and colleagues working there, know all too well about the challenges they face under relentless financial pressures.


September 12th, 2018 • Quill Blog, Ten With...
Ten with New York Times Bureau Chief Manny Fernandez

Manny Fernandez, Houston bureau chief for The New York Times, was the editor of his Fresno, California, school newspaper, The Viking Times, in eighth grade. Since then, journalism has been not just a career but a calling. His first full-time job was with the San Francisco Chronicle, where in 1998 he spent months with a group of young homeless people for a series called “Nobody’s Child.” He later joined The Washington Post as a general-assignment reporter.


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.


August 16th, 2018 • Featured, Freedom of Information
News organizations unite in nationwide push to counter anti-press rhetoric

Hundreds of newspapers across the country united in solidarity today and published editorials on the importance on the First Amendment. The coordinated editorials are in response to a campaign by The Boston Globe that called on publications to condemn President Trump’s oft-repeated assertions that journalists are “the enemy of the people.”


July 2nd, 2018 • Quill Blog, Words & Language Toolbox
Take this quiz to help refresh your writing

Nothing annoys readers like having to plow through a litter of errors on their way to a period. And because even professional writers can get rusty regarding the basics, it’s a good idea to check on one’s recall from time to time.


June 29th, 2018 • Quill Blog
Press Club of Long Island honors its legacy with historical marker

On Long Island, we preach about advocating for journalism all the time. Every Press Club event and outing is about making sure our members and the community at-large believe in the journalists doing great work all around us. With that comes the need to shed light on the history of journalism in our area as well.


June 18th, 2018 • Quill Blog, Narrative Writing Toolbox
Turn your ideas into stories

During my 40 years in the business, I’ve learned to listen to anyone who tells me they have a story. Great stories come unannounced, like a soft tap on the door. You need to be alert to that sound. The series that turned out to be the story that won me the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 2001 came from a telephone call to me from a reader.


June 15th, 2018 • Quill Blog, Ten With...
Ten Questions with Christine MacDonald

Christine MacDonald was raised in Michigan, went to college in Michigan and has spent her 20-year career as a journalist at four Michigan newspapers, the past 15 at the Detroit News. That dedication to local journalism gave MacDonald the foundation to publish a series of articles about housing problems and evictions in Detroit, which earned her a Sigma Delta Chi Award in Public Service Journalism (Daily Circulation of 50,001-100,000).


June 13th, 2018 • Quill Blog, Freedom of the Prez
Let’s work together to protect student journalism

One of the best parts of my SPJ presidency has been meeting young people who are interested in journalism. This spring, I was delighted to meet dozens of talented student journalists at our regional conferences in Chicago, Philadelphia and Little Rock, Arkansas.