A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists


November 2nd, 2017 • Featured
Leveraging the predictive power of FOIA data

In 2010, when we started MuckRock, a non-profit website that helps newsrooms and journalists around the country file and track public records requests, one of our big bets was that if you filed a lot of FOIA requests, you’d get better at it.

November 2nd, 2017 • Featured
New Ohio records law a good start, but holes remain

“Wait, what?” That was my initial reaction when I thumbed through the supposed fulfillment of my public records request from the city of Green, Ohio. I quickly double checked the dates. It was May 3, 2016 — 10 business days after my initial request.

August 28th, 2017 • Featured
Freelancing: Putting on the boss hat

Autonomy is part of the appeal of freelancing. As independent journalists, we work with editors as our clients, not our supervisors. We choose our projects and set our own schedules. We may or may not work in our pajamas, or from a lawn chair in the backyard.

August 28th, 2017 • Featured
Become a more effective accountability reporter

You might know the American Press Institute for its deep research on a variety of issues in journalism, something we’ve done for years as a think tank based in the Washington, D.C., area. Recently, though, we decided to study something a little different: people.

August 28th, 2017 • Featured
Conduct interviews that will get even the haters to talk

I love the movie “Almost Famous.” It has a compelling story about a kid who wants to write about rock music; it has good acting (Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Francis McDormand, Zooey Deschanel, Jimmy Fallon, and a one-second appearance by Mitch Hedberg); early scenes are shot in my home town of San Diego; it’s based on an experience of a local celebrity (Cameron Crowe); it has good music and more.

June 14th, 2017 • Featured
’Payload’: An Original Short Story By Novelist Jess Walter

Note: This original short story by author and former journalist Jess Walter comes as part of Quill’s “Journalists Not Being Journalists” series, encouraging creative pursuits by journalists outside the daily deadline. Walter first read it in April at the Pie & Whiskey event during the annual Get Lit Festival in Spokane, Washington.

June 14th, 2017 • Featured
Engagement: Buzzword No More

Newsrooms have heard for years now: engage, engage, engage. Build community. Connect. Interact. And maybe in so doing, you’ll get clicks that turn into dollars. Beyond the buzzwords, beyond the advice of so-called “gurus” and self-proclaimed experts, what does engagement – truly, practically, deeply – mean with the public?

April 13th, 2017 • Featured
Biased Truth: Nothing is Neutral

Everyone has a story. When I became a journalist, I put much of my story behind me: I had come out as transgender in 2000, at age 16. I had worked as a baker, a barista, a busker and a sex-toy salesperson.

April 13th, 2017 • Featured
Time to Abandon the Aversion to Immersion Journalism?

The email came in shortly after 1 a.m. on a Tuesday during spring break. “Dr. Cox,” it read, “I have a couple questions.” It was the first semester of my new experimental class, “Participatory Journalism,” and we were facing our first real ethics test.

February 19th, 2016 • Featured
A Break From Boozin’

After a long day at any journalism conference, there’s one place you can go to find attendees: the hotel bar. It’s where journalists go to catch up, to network, to discuss, to brag and boast. Drinking and journalism go together like ink and newsprint.