Nothing annoys readers like having to plow through a litter of errors on their way to a period. And because even professional writers can get rusty regarding the basics, it’s a good idea to check on one’s recall from time to time.
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.
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).
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.
March 28th, 2018 • Words & Language Toolbox
This checklist will help you edit faster and better
A reader had a question: “You say in The Book on Writing that we should write fast and edit slowly. As a reporter, I found that advice helpful, and I’ve tried to follow it. Problem is, I’m now a copy editor — and I edit too slowly.
March 19th, 2018 • From the President
To regain trust, journalists should tell our own story
How can the media rebuild public trust? That’s a question journalists have grappled with for decades. But now it’s more important than ever to examine the causes of and possible solutions to this vexing problem. The good news is that most people value accurate, well-told news stories.
It was fewer than 10 days before Donald Trump’s inauguration when he berated CNN and its reporter, Jim Acosta, during a news conference at Trump Tower. “Quiet,” Trump told Acosta as the reporter tried to answer a question. “Don’t be rude, don’t be rude.”
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.
“Seek truth and report it.” What a challenge those five words have proved to be. Figures in government at all levels are making it harder to find, let alone report, the truth. And elected officials have found it easy to scream “Fake news!” at coverage that clashes with their social and political beliefs.
Angelo Lopez came to California in 1974 and hasn’t left. It wasn’t a gold rush that brought him, but he did live the somewhat nomadic lifestyle of a prospector moving from place to place as a self-described “Navy brat.” Born in Norfolk, Virginia, to Filipino parents, he spent his youth on military bases on the U.S.
April 13th, 2017 • Quill Archives, Ten With...
Ten with Washington Post Columnist Margaret Sullivan
It’s a cliché in journalism to find people who say they always knew what they wanted to be. Margaret Sullivan doesn’t exactly say that, but she admits that she only remembers having one serious idea of what she wanted to be.
Nothing in Tara Gatewood’s career went according to plan. If it had, she says, she would be a photographer somewhere doing “amazing shoots.” Her interest in journalism — and course of study — started with photography at Montgomery College in Maryland, having moved from her home in the Isleta Pueblo tribal community in New Mexico.