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November/December 2014
Volume 102 | Number 6
View as PDF: Click to download


From the President
Last year SPJ added communities to its list of membership offerings, giving members new ways to connect with and learn from each other. To date, we have three — freelance, digital and international journalism — all of which are active and serving SPJ members in new ways. But what exactly are SPJ communities ...

Ten with Melody Joy Kramer
Note: This interview had been condensed for clarity and length. It’s fair to say Melody Joy Kramer’s path to her current job leading digital and social media at NPR was round-about. Or, as she says, “serendipitous.” After all, the ingredients came from applying for a prestigious program, ...

Intro: New Year, New You
As 2015 approaches, ask yourself: What have I been putting off? Learning a new skill? Getting that side project rolling? Or, more personally, starting a family and having kids? The list goes on and on. Maybe it’s that book you’ve been meaning to write. You’ll get to it one of these days. Just when there’s ...

New Year, New You: Master the Art of the Side Project
My name is Mark Briggs, and I’m addicted to side projects. I’m not aware of any 12-step programs to help individuals deal with such addictions. And, really, there’s no need. Anyone with a similar affliction can tell you, the benefits of side projects far outweigh the costs. I remember one particular ...

New Year, New You: Getting Into Podcasting
A few years ago, the idea that podcasts would make the news would have seemed laughable. At that point, a majority of Americans had no idea what a podcast was. Those who did know thought of them as vaguely geeky or the preserve of public radio fans, or both. Plenty of people still don’t know what ...

New Year, New You: Having Kids
I was on the SkyLine level of the Space Needle, making pleasant enough small talk with a pleasant enough woman, when I asked her something that had nothing to do with the event I was there to cover. It had everything to do with me. My husband and I are thinking of having kids soon, I said. But how ...

Words & Language Toolbox
One of my year-end tasks is going through a fat desktop folder labeled “GRIST.” It contains writing examples, some sent by Quill readers, that I saved during the year and now must sort, read, write about or toss. Within my GRIST folder is another folder, labeled “SNARK.” In that folder are passages ...

Narrative Writing Toolbox
I see them walk nervously into the room, unsure why they signed up for a series of writing classes I teach. This isn’t at a community college but an athletic club that also offers classes on bridge, dance and guitar. Not one majored in journalism in college. The most they’ve ever written is usually ...

Generation-J Toolbox
Live reporting in the field should be defined by Murphy's Law: What can go wrong will go wrong. I cannot count how many times I have been on an active scene and right before a live hit, everything I was going to reference in a walk-and-talk quickly goes away. All the firetrucks and police pull away ...

Freelance Toolbox
One of the hardest lessons to learn when freelancers start out is how to charge for services. Those coming out of professional careers may have a different perspective, but I’ve seen personally and among my artist friends that asking for money for a job you love to do sometimes feels like panhandling ...

FOI Toolbox
As more Title IX cases sprout up across the country, bringing to life a series of sexual discrimination issues on college campuses, journalists are reminded how crucial it is to have an arsenal of context waiting for when that big story drops. Only 12 percent of victims on college campuses report ...

Ethics Toolbox
My peers in middle school often sent letters asking for autographs to famous athletes. I, on the other hand, wrote letters to Walter Cronkite. My father spent many hours during my childhood explaining to me the role the “most trusted man in American” played in the latter half of the 20th Century. In ...

Education Toolbox
You must know how to do it all. It is a mantra that is sounded throughout journalism and mass communication programs across the country. Student journalists hear those words time and time again. Educators are constantly reminding their students to be skilled at working with audio, text, video and ...

Digital Media Toolbox
There is a menace in digital journalism and, unfortunately, it is not going away any time soon no matter how cleverly a medium thinks it is hiding the violation. This menace is called “lifting” online content of an entire article — verbatim — into another print or online publication without the reporter's ...

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