A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists


Quill Archives


May 31st, 2018 • Featured, Quill Archives
Do journalists deserve some blame for America’s mass shootings?

The reporter who won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for feature writing initially thought she was in Charleston, South Carolina, to chronicle the lives of nine church-goers who died in 2015 when a stranger with a Glock murdered them while they were praying.


November 2nd, 2017 • Quill Archives
Bruce Sanford honored with Wells Memorial Key

Recognizing this year’s Wells Memorial Key winner, Bruce W. Sanford, was an honor far overdue – as illustrated by the unprecedented 34 current and past leaders who signed his nomination letter. While most members might not know Sanford, the BakerHostetler partner has been a central figure in the Society of Professional Journalists’ advocacy efforts since November 1980, when he began as the Society’s attorney.


November 2nd, 2017 • Quill Archives
Ten: with David Fahrenthold

Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold has covered a wide variety of topics in his 17 years at the newspaper. Like many journalists, he started as an intern before becoming a night cops reporter. He has since reported on the Washington, D.C., police, the environment New England region.


November 2nd, 2017 • Quill Archives
Newsroom ethics discussions don’t have to be uncomfortable

No person likes to confront co-workers or managers about issues in the workplace. The conversations can be uncomfortable and lead to hurt feelings. However, those discussions are often necessary to create a good work environment. In addition to topics such as salary issues and disputes with co-workers, journalists may sometimes need to confront managers and co-workers about another touchy subject: ethics.


November 2nd, 2017 • Quill Archives
Freelancers: Learn to overcome record request hurdles

“And who are you reporting for?” This the most dreaded question I hear as a freelancer, especially when I’m calling a public office to request records. I don’t fault anyone for asking it — it’s a natural question, and I’m sure I would ask it too, if the tables were turned.


November 2nd, 2017 • Quill Archives
Students and live news: Tips to avoiding kryptonite

Social media has changed not only the face of journalism. It has changed the entire standard for what is news and, in particular, what is considered “breaking news.” With a 24-hour news hole to fill, 365 days a year, even professional reporters have been tripped up while trying to beat the next 24-hour news cycler to the punch.


November 2nd, 2017 • Quill Archives, Narrative Writing Toolbox
Energize yourself with a new writing approach

I wrote in the last issue about a young reporter who discovered the critical importance of picking the right character upon which to build a story. Now I want to introduce you to Jen Kocher, a reporter for a weekly newspaper in Wyoming.


November 2nd, 2017 • Quill Archives
Embrace the paraphrase

My July/August column focused on the notion that good journalism thrives on good quotations. We said it was up to the writers to ensure that those quotations were indeed good. And by good, we meant that they displayed the same characteristics as good writing itself: clear, brief, accurate and conversational.


August 28th, 2017 • Quill Archives
Lynn Walsh: Lessons from the ‘Enemy of the People’

Joy and excitement, anger and frustration, inspiration and hope. These are all emotions that have flooded through me during my term as SPJ president. And I wouldn’t take back any of those moments for anything. It has been an honor to represent all of you and speak out on behalf of journalists in support of a free press, government transparency and ethical journalism.


August 28th, 2017 • Quill Archives
Journalist, mentor, educator, country girl at heart

At a young age, Nerissa Young filled a few pages with scribbles to proudly show her mother she was a writer. The urge to do journalism, not just writing, came while she worked for WMTD-FM, a mom-and-pop radio station in Hinton, West Virginia, thanks to the excitement of covering her community and the strange but true things that happen.


August 28th, 2017 • Quill Archives
Storytelling: Good in theory and in practice

When I studied martial arts, I spent hours practicing technique. In a controlled environment, it was magic. But each student wondered if it would work on the street. And so it is with narrative storytelling. At writing conferences, we study handouts and discuss stories that have been reported, written and published — what happens back in the newsroom.


August 28th, 2017 • Quill Archives
Ethics: Clarifying terrifying terms

Ricky John Best, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche and Micah David-Cole Fletcher were stabbed May 26 when they attempted to stop a man from harassing two teens with racist and anti-Muslim rants on a train in Portland, Oregon. Best and Namkai-Meche died. A lot of the attention on social media following the attack centered on the news media’s use or avoidance of the word “terrorism” in discussing the events.