A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists


Featured


March 14th, 2018 • Featured
When journalists aren’t trusted, corruption often follows

Vladimir Putin’s media consolidation efforts in the early 2000s began on well-prepared soil. The public’s trust in journalism as a profession in Russia had become so low — driven down by a distinct mixture of economic, political and cultural factors following the fall of the Soviet Union —that Putin’s efforts weren’t the cause for alarm one might otherwise expect.


March 12th, 2018 • Featured
How news literacy programs can help journalists earn back trust

In the fall of 2006, after spending nearly 35 years as a reporter, editor and then the editor of one of America’s largest daily newspapers, I left my job to help start the newest journalism school in the country. Even then, it was an act of audacious optimism.


March 12th, 2018 • Featured
Can transparency save journalism from outside attacks?

Just over one month before a special election in Alabama for the U.S. Senate, The Washington Post published a story about Republican candidate Roy Moore that revealed inappropriate contact he made with teenage girls. The understated importance of this story was it included bits and pieces of how the story was reported to begin with; right within in the story, the reporters showed how they learned of the allegations.


November 2nd, 2017 • Featured
SPJ’s youngest member proves journalism is for anyone with the drive to do it

Hilde Lysiak made national news a few years ago when she broke a hometown homicide story in her newspaper, the Orange Street News. Named after the street she lives on, the Orange Street News is a family production, led by Lysiak. Now, she’s writing books in addition to reporting and publishing the only monthly newspaper in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania — and she’s only 10 years old.


November 2nd, 2017 • Featured
Reimagining access rights under the First Amendment

We are living through an anti-openness renaissance. In June, on the eve of the special election in the Georgia Six, as it came to be known, Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff excluded a reporter for the conservative Washington Free Beacon from a campaign event, while Republican candidate Karen Handel gave the same treatment to a reporter for the liberal site ThinkProgress.


November 2nd, 2017 • Featured
Fixing FOI: Big ideas for a new era of transparency

Bring in the cats and dogs, and batten down the hatches: The forecast for government transparency calls for increasing clouds with a chance of heavy storms. This year the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation commissioned me to study the state of freedom of information in the United States, where it’s going and what can be done to improve it.


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.