A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists


Quill Blog


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

Rebecca Baker 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.


June 11th, 2018 • Quill Blog, SPJ Works
Colorado Pro chapter helps high school newspaper in Africa

High school girls in Senegal, one of the poorest countries in Africa, have been granted $2,000 by the SPJ Colorado Pro chapter to help them start an online newspaper. The international effort, a first for the Colorado chapter, was proposed by Bob Burdick, a chapter board member and former editor of the Denver Rocky Mountain News.


May 15th, 2018 • Quill Blog
SPJ Member Profile: Monica Victor

Monica Victor is a copywriter at Consolidated Credit, a nonprofit company that helps customers overcome and stay out of credit card debt, but she spends her free time writing, designing and promoting her own publication — each regular edition consisting of over 100 pages.


May 7th, 2018 • Quill Blog
Parkland students embrace advocacy journalism

Eight days after the Feb. 14 school shooting, Rebecca Schneid and her high school newspaper’s staff sat down to figure out a plan. Schneid is one of the editors-in-chief of the Eagle Eye, the student newspaper at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.


April 27th, 2018 • Quill Blog, Ethics Toolbox
Transparency on full display in Garrison Keillor case

As Minnesota prepared for an early April storm that would dump over a foot of snow in the Twin Cities, Minnesota Public Radio and Garrison Keillor struck a deal. Nearly five months after MPR and its parent company, American Public Media Group, severed ties with Keillor over accusations of sexual harassment, Keillor and MPR reached an agreement where the archives of the two programs for which he worked, The Writer’s Almanac and A Prairie Home Companion, would be restored.


April 25th, 2018 • Quill Blog, Journalism Education
Student journalists wave a warning flag

Journalism is an ecosystem. Journalists work their way up from internships to paid jobs, from small community publications to big-city papers, from news briefs to investigative reports. And for many professional reporters, their first journalism experience was in their newsroom of their college paper.


April 16th, 2018 • Journalism Education
Student press freedom laws gain momentum

OLYMPIA, Washington – Washington became the 14th state to protect student journalists and their free speech rights by passing a New Voices bill on March 21. Gov. Jay Inslee signed SB5064, which states that student journalists should be free from school censorship if their reporting is not libelous, illegal or invading anyone’s privacy.


April 11th, 2018 • Diversity
A primer for journalists covering sexual assault 

“It was 40 years ago.” “Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.” “There’s nothing wrong with a 30-year-old single male asking a 19-year-old, a 17-year-old, or a 16-year-old out on a date.” These are quotes from public officials defending Roy Moore, Republican Senate candidate in Alabama.


March 15th, 2018 • Quill Blog
What I wish I knew before I took my first reporting job

In September of 2014, I moved from Portland, Oregon, to a small, rural town in Washington state. Why give up the Rose City for the boondocks? With all its hipster charm, Portland was a great place to live – but a hard place to make a living.


March 9th, 2018 • Freedom of Information
Whistleblowers and journalism are essential for democracy

Journalists have a long history of working with their sources to reveal essential public information and informing the citizenry. A free press is one of the cornerstones of American democracy, after all. But when government officials attack reporters or their sources and try to control the exposure of the truth, power is taken away from the citizens and that pillar of democracy crumbles.