A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists


#Generation J


October 22nd, 2015 • Quill Archives, Generation J Toolbox
Generation J Toolbox

News gathering, working sources, getting strangers to open up on camera. Reporters, especially multimedia journalists like myself, have a tall order every day. If you’re anything like me as a one-woman band in TV, not only are you shooting and editing, you need to get information, process it and make it worthwhile to watch.


August 18th, 2015 • Quill Archives, From the President
From the President

As EIJ15 draws closer, I am reflecting on the year behind me. It sounds more like lyrics to a Billy Joel song than a year as SPJ president: FBI, Ferguson, Charlie Hebdo, ISIS, the U.S. Forest Service, Brian Williams, Rolling Stone, Hillary Clinton and Indiana’s RFRA.


April 3rd, 2015 • Quill Archives, Generation J Toolbox
Generation J Toolbox

Broadcast news, particularly in local television, is going through major changes with technological advances. That’s nothing new. Unfortunately, along with those changes, early career journalists trying or thinking of entering the field are changing too, and sometimes not for the better.


February 3rd, 2015 • Quill Archives, Generation J Toolbox
Generation J Toolbox

In many stories you do, there will be the one interview known as “the get.” For instance, when news broke about a gunman on the Florida State University campus in December, everyone wanted to hear from the gunman’s family. I got it.


October 22nd, 2014 • Quill Archives, From the President
From the President

On the heels of a busy 2013-14 led by SPJ President Dave Cuillier, I am honored and eager to serve SPJ during the next year, continuing his good work and embarking on new projects and initiatives to better serve journalists. While journalists continue to face daunting challenges, including fighting for press freedom, facing arrest and even death in extreme cases, there is much SPJ can do to support journalists and our industry.


October 22nd, 2014 • Quill Archives, Generation J Toolbox
Generation J Toolbox

Public records and the information and data that come from them can be invaluable to your stories and can take your reporting to the next level. This is true for all journalists, but particularly important for young and early-career reporters trying to make their work stand out.


September 2nd, 2014 • Generation J Toolbox, Narrative Writing Toolbox
Generation J Toolbox

Journalists are among those professionals expected to know how to write a sentence. Whether in print, online or in a broadcast script, we reporters and editors need to know how to draft sharp, precise copy at a moment’s notice for public consumption.


June 20th, 2014 • Quill Archives, Generation J Toolbox
Generation J Toolbox

When I was 24, I landed my first reporter position at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. I was one of the youngest reporters on staff, and I looked even younger. I remember thinking, “Man, I really need to stay on top of my game to prove myself!”


April 9th, 2014 • Quill Archives, Generation J Toolbox
Generation J Toolbox

Sheriff: “We have at least two shots fired in the theater.” (five minutes later) Sheriff: “Only one shot was fired and it went through the wife’s hand into her husband’s chest.” (Producer calls) Producer: “We have aerial footage from the chopper in house.


February 12th, 2014 • Generation J Toolbox
Generation J Toolbox

#DIGITALDETOX. This may be the most ironic hashtag ever used, but I found out a lot when I went on a self-imposed digital detox over the Christmas-New Year stretch. I learned about the things I wanted to share, how people interact with media and what news I missed while I stepped out of the digital space.


December 20th, 2013 • Quill Archives, Ten With...
Ten with Samantha Grant

Jayson Blair. It’s a name that evokes two immediate responses: lies and The New York Times. More than 10 years after the biggest ethics debacle in journalism’s modern day, Samantha Grant is trying to show that there’s much more to the story.


December 20th, 2013 • Quill Archives, Generation J Toolbox
Generation J Toolbox

Video on the Internet has come a long way in the last decade. What was once an hour wait for Real Player to stream five minutes of clumsily shot footage is now instant access to Emmy-winning episodic dramas. David Fincher took home the Emmy for best director for his work on Netflix’s original series “House of Cards.”


October 16th, 2013 • Quill Archives, FOI Toolbox
FOI Toolbox

Are you a journalist? Are you regularly “gathering,” “collecting” or “preparing” information about “matters of public interest”? You may think the answers to these questions are easy or should automatically be yes. But what if you had to prove that you were a “journalist” to be protected by the proposed federal shield law?


October 16th, 2013 • Quill Archives, Generation J Toolbox
Generation J Toolbox

Sometimes hearing or just seeing “FOIA” can put you in a tizzy. Yes, the Freedom of Information Act and similar state laws can be hard to work through. And yes, it is a law, which can be intimidating on its own.


September 5th, 2013 • Quill Archives, Generation J Toolbox
Generation J Toolbox

Going into work comes with the nail-biting issue of pitching stories. Even though I have been working professionally for six years, the pressure to produce is still there. I try to come in with three hard news stories each day. There are news cycles where my sources have nothing, and I walk in the door empty-handed.


June 6th, 2013 • Quill Archives, Generation J Toolbox
Generation J Toolbox

OK. I’m stumped. It’s true. I’m racking my brain to come up with a good lead to this article about writing good leads (or ledes, the official spelling in newspaper speak so it’s not confused with “lead” type). We’ve all been there — or here where I am presently — trying to craft, conjure and contrive a winning hook for a print or broadcast story that will engage the audience and make them hunger for more.


April 10th, 2013 • Quill Archives, Generation J Toolbox
Generation J Toolbox

With all of the Facebook posting and Twitter updating (not to mention getting your stories to air or publish and, oh yeah, eating and trying to have a social life), who has time to think about the future? Believe me, I get it.


December 5th, 2012 • Quill Archives, Generation J Toolbox
Generation J Toolbox

As I chatted with numerous college students and provided résumé critiques at the Excellence in Journalism 2012 conference, I was shocked by how many were majoring in print journalism. In fact, I’m pretty sure I laughed at the first “print journalism” major I met.


October 3rd, 2012 • Quill Archives, Generation J Toolbox
Generation J Toolbox

Sometimes it’s obvious why you and a co-worker don’t get along. But what do you do when you and a co-worker have a chilly relationship, and you don’t know why? It’s not always clear what started it. Here are some things to consider if you want to improve a relationship with a difficult co-worker.


April 5th, 2012 • Quill Archives, Generation J Toolbox
Gen J Toolbox

If you’re a reporter, interviewing a celebrity should be like interviewing an average Joe, right? Well, almost. Although you use the same J-school interviewing techniques, chatting with a famous person — even reality show personalities or D-listers — means dealing with a publicist, time or topic limitations, and possibly your own nerves.


February 6th, 2012 • Quill Archives, Generation J Toolbox
Generation J Toolbox

If you’re at all interested in journalism in today’s world, you need a brand. A brand can be many things — it can be your name, or a pen name, or one of your interests. It becomes your Web calling card, and that is something you want to be consistent, strong and presentable.


December 2nd, 2011 • Quill Archives, Generation J Toolbox
Generation J Toolbox

Embarking on the “broadcast television tour” can evoke excitement and panic. I have always compared it to a game of hopscotch: You can land in any state or country when you make jumps in your career. For this column I’ll assume you’ve landed that first reporting job.


October 4th, 2011 • Quill Archives, Generation J Toolbox
Generation J Toolbox

Make beat calls. Pitch three solid stories. Call and set up interviews. Wait for people to call you back to confirm interviews. Drive yourself to interviews. Pick up, carry and set up your own equipment. Take still photographs that represent your story on the Web.


August 4th, 2011 • Quill Archives, Generation J Toolbox
Generation J Toolbox

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about happiness and making major life changes. Perhaps it’s because that’s the kind of thing I’ve been doing lately, so I want to read about other people doing it. Maybe it’s crazy, maybe it’s too abstract to be constructive, but at the same time, most of the books have been written by people at least 10 years older than me.


June 1st, 2011 • Quill Archives, Generation J Toolbox
Generation J Toolbox

Lately I’ve been a walking commercial for LinkedIn — because if it weren’t for the professional social networking site, I might never have landed my current magazine job. When I moved to New York City from Rhode Island in December for my husband’s job, I applied to dozens of positions but, alas, received no bites.


April 4th, 2011 • Quill Archives, Generation J Toolbox
Generation J Toolbox

It’s no secret that when a newsroom faces an ethical dilemma, the established veteran news manager who has seen it all gets the final say. An ethical guideline never originates from the new hire, or the straight-out-of-school cub reporter. Young, amateur journalists today are increasingly part of the millennial generation —those born after 1979.


February 2nd, 2011 • Quill Archives, Digital Media Toolbox
Digital Media/Generation J Toolbox

Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Foursquare or the hundreds of other social media sites online, new technologies are changing the way we work as journalists. For a lot of us this means more work and more tasks being crammed into a short amount of time.


December 2nd, 2010 • Quill Archives, Generation J Toolbox
Generation J Toolbox

It’s the end of yet another year, and as the holiday season begins to consume our lives and singers of the past attempt to entertain (or haunt) us with holiday music downloads, “best of” and “worst of” lists are taking over the radio, television and Internet.


October 11th, 2010 • Quill Archives, Generation J Toolbox
Generation J Toolbox

Saying the journalism job market is tough is like saying the Deepwater Horizon oil spill made a little mess: It’s an awesomely gross understatement. It’s hard out there. A small daily paper here in Alabama recently posted an entry-level reporting job on JournalismJobs.com.


August 2nd, 2010 • Quill Archives, Generation J Toolbox
Generation J Toolbox

With the U.S. economy still in a vulnerable position, more and more journalists are looking for extra work to supplement their incomes. And with so many non-journalists also looking for extra work, it’s easier for those in journalism to find work on the side as a freelancer.


May 31st, 2010 • Quill Archives, Member Profile
Member Profile – Aiesha Little

It all began with a robot. Aiesha Little’s high school did not have a newspaper or a yearbook, so she tried math- and science-related extracurricular activities. But after a particularly memorable experience at a tech camp she attended outside school, she left the event knowing math and science were not for her.


May 31st, 2010 • Quill Archives
Generation J – May/June 2010

With all the changes going on in journalism right now, many industry leaders are thinking about how less traditional business models may carry publications into the future. Recent non-profit ventures like ProPublica and The Huffington Post Investigative Fund have been touted as a possible way forward for journalists.