A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists


April 26th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Blog | #Quill Archives | #Member Profile | #People and Places
Celebrating the Stories Behind the Stories

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


April 8th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Blog | #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 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.


March 30th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Blog | #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 Blog | #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 Blog | #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 | #Quill Blog | #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 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.


February 22nd, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Blog | #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 Blog | #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 Blog | #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 | #Quill Blog | #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 Blog | #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 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.


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 | #Quill Blog | #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.


January 15th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Blog | #Quill Archives | #Journalist on Call
Groups say frontline journalists at-risk, seek vaccination priority

UPDATE: The CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan lists the media as essential workers to be given the vaccine in Phase 1c. This places them after people aged 65 years or older and other essential workers including healthcare workers, first responders, grocery store workers, public transit workers and teachers.


January 13th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Ten With...
10 with “In the Dark” podcaster Madeleine Baran

For the past three years, Madeleine Baran and the team behind the “In the Dark” podcast have worked to uncover the truth behind the case against Curtis Flowers. Flowers was convicted for the 1996 murders of four people inside the Tardy Furniture store in Winona, Mississippi.


January 11th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #News Biz Quiz
News Biz Quiz: The journalistic fallout from Jan. 6

It was another tough week for journalism. You know that. So, obviously, most of this week’s questions have to do with what happened on Jan. 6 and the editorial fallout. 1. What somewhat-controversial three-letter collective noun appeared in the headlines of (among others) The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe and Houston Chronicle on Jan.


January 6th, 2021 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #Bookshelf
Bookshelf: Conversation with Koa Beck and “White Feminism”

In her new book “White Feminism: From the Suffragettes to Influencers and Who They Leave Behind” (Atria Books), Koa Beck draws from her experiences in personal, academic and professional life to highlight the subtle way in which white feminists can claim oppression by the patriarchy while also oppressing women of color and non-binary people.


January 4th, 2021 • Quill Archives | #News Biz Quiz
News Biz Quiz: Web traffic, a POTUS call and more

It’s a new year and that means new questions for the News Biz Quiz. 1. Rank these news sites in terms of average (organic) web traffic in 2020 (statistics through Dec. 12): Yahoo! News New York Times CNN The Guardian USA Today 2. 


December 21st, 2020 • Quill Archives | #News Biz Quiz
News Biz: McClatchy unionization, an 1897 letter to the editor, more

A mass McClatchy unionization effort and a timeless question-and-answer highlight this week’s News Biz Quiz.   1. Danish researchers took to CNN recently to debunk what Fox host’s misinterpretation of a study they did, in which they did NOT seek to repudiate the practicality of mask-wearing.


December 15th, 2020 • Featured | #Quill Blog | #Quill Archives | #Freedom of the Prez | #From the President | #Membership
From the President: Doubling down on SPJ

It was 229 years ago, on Dec. 15, 1791, that this nation adopted the 45 words of the First Amendment. And that set the foundation for everything our free press has done since. On that same date, in 1971, my parents welcomed me into the world and named me after Henry David Thoreau — and set the foundation for everything I’ve done since.


December 14th, 2020 • Quill Blog | #Quill Archives
News Biz Quiz: The Doctor is in … unless Joseph Epstein has his way

Dear Joseph Epstein — kiddo — you may want to jump to question 5. For the rest, start at the beginning and see how you do with this edition of the News Biz Quiz.   Both the House and Senate have passed a defense spending bill which refuses to delete Section 230 of what 1996 legislation (full name or Act acceptable), which protects against lawsuits stemming from user comments on internet sites?   Time Magazine named tech entrepreneur Eric Yuan its Businessperson of the Year.


December 7th, 2020 • Quill Archives | #News Biz Quiz
New Biz Quiz 12/7: Cord cutting, staffing and more

More cord-cutters may still be able to get their local newscasts, but who’s staffing those newsrooms, exactly? Those topics and more in this week’s News Biz Quiz.   1. Which streaming service says it’ll offer newscasts from as many as 100 local TV markets by the end of 2021?


December 5th, 2020 • Featured | #Quill Archives
Journalists’ Gift Guide 2020

How to use this guide Step 1: Consider a journalist you love. Step 2: Survey our selection of recommended gifts. Step 3: Find them at your friendly local retailer or order online. Step 4: When you acquire the item, wrap it festively (or in one of the newspapers to which you happily still subscribe).


December 1st, 2020 • Featured | #Quill Archives | #People and Places
2020 Fellow Feature: Nikole Hannah-Jones

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones has been reporting on race, education and segregation for decades, picking up the MacArthur Fellowship, Polk and Peabody awards along the way. Now at The New York Times Magazine, where she created The 1619 Project, she said she’s “doing exactly what I’ve worked my entire career to do … The only reason I ever wanted to become a journalist was to write about racial inequalities.”


November 30th, 2020 • Quill Archives | #News Biz Quiz
News Biz Quiz for 11/30: Newcomers making headlines

New is in the news with a press secretary designate and a change in ownership at a major media company. Have you been keeping up? 1. The Boston Globe Company has named its co-owner, Linda Henry, as CEO. She’s part of the family that owns the Boston Red Sox, as well as what English Premier League soccer team, which plays home games at Anfield in Merseyside?


November 25th, 2020 • Featured | #Quill Blog | #Quill Archives
“Bad Education,” “The Photograph,” “Most Wanted” and more journalism movies

Need ideas for what to watch over the holiday breaks? Here are a batch of recent films we’ve added to our almost-exhaustive, ranked list of 110+ Journalism Movies. To see where these are ranked and to view the entire list, click here. 


November 23rd, 2020 • Quill Archives | #News Biz Quiz
News Biz Quiz for 11/23/2020: Person of the Year reveal, Pinedale Mall memories, more

This year, as you’re hopefully socially distanced while eating turkey and watching the Detroit Lions or Dallas Cowboys, be sure to include in your Thanksgiving list those people doing the hard work of daily journalism — some of whom are mentioned in this week’s News Biz Quiz.