A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists


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April 12th, 2021 • Featured, 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


April 8th, 2021 • Featured, Quill Archives
Understanding Shield Law

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 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.


March 30th, 2021 • Featured, Quill Archives, Diversity, Journalist on Call
Diversifying newsrooms requires buy-in and commitment to goals

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. 


March 29th, 2021 • Featured, Quill Archives, Freedom of the Prez, From the President
From the President: Shifting gears and moving forward

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.


March 22nd, 2021 • Featured, Quill Archives, Ten With...
10 with DuJuan McCoy

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.


March 8th, 2021 • Featured, Toolbox, Quill Archives, Digital Media Toolbox
SPJ Journalist’s Toolbox Tool of the Month: Scrape data from a web page/format it for editing

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 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.


February 22nd, 2021 • Featured, Quill Archives
Mentoring in a New World

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.


February 15th, 2021 • Featured, Quill Archives, Journalist on Call
Handling the Hate

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.


February 10th, 2021 • Featured, Quill Archives
D.C. journalism memorial takes a step forward

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.


February 8th, 2021 • Featured, Toolbox, Quill Archives, Digital Media Toolbox
SPJ Journalist’s Toolbox Tools of the Month: Transcription favorites

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:


February 5th, 2021 • Featured, Quill Archives
Righting the wrongs of copyright violation

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 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.


February 1st, 2021 • Featured, Quill Blog, Quill Archives, People and Places
2020 Fellow Interview: Marty Baron

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.


January 22nd, 2021 • Featured, Toolbox, Quill Archives, Digital Media Toolbox
SPJ Journalist’s Toolbox Tool of the Month: Google Dataset Search

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.