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January/February 2015
Volume 103 | Number 1
View as PDF: Click to download


From the President
I am Charlie, and I am proud to be a journalist. The Jan. 7 attack on Charlie Hebdo in France was brutal and tragic, highlighting the very real dangers of press freedom. Twelve people – journalists and police officers – lost their lives. In shock over the brutality, journalists and journalism organizations ...

When the story IS about you
In the first week of my first journalism class at community college, I was told, as so many students are, never use first person. Never say “I.” The story is not about you. Using “this reporter” is not a work-around. Stay out of the story, no matter what. And also: Spell everyone’s name right, don’t ...

Getting Women Into the Game
Editor’s Note: The genesis for this story comes from a shocking lack of women in sports journalism roles. That’s sadly well known. It became clearer to me, personally, in the fall when reading coverage of the Seattle Seahawks, particularly some online posts that aggregated coverage of the team. One ...

Ten with Mike Pesca
Growing up on Long Island, Mike Pesca was an admitted lover of radio. And by his own admission, journalism was “OK. Making up stories seemed fun,” he said. He honed those storytelling and journalism skills at Emory University in Atlanta and eventually made his way back to New York, working for public ...

Member Profile: Genevieve Belmaker
Being a mother and a crime/war freelance reporter means being teargassed by police officers in the middle of the Ferguson, Mo., protests while four months pregnant, or leaving behind your young son with his father to report on bombings in Israel. At least that is what it means for one SPJ member who ...

Digital Media Toolbox
Many journalists seem to have a love/hate relationship with infographics. On one hand, snazzy graphics replacing good old-fashioned word-smithing rubs a lot of us the wrong way. Sometimes the drive to produce clever imagery can even result in the distortion of data, perhaps going so far as to mislead ...

Diversity Toolbox
Stunned by the brutal massacre at Charlie Hebdo magazine, journalists and citizens around the world mourned. Many proclaimed, “Je Suis Charlie” in solidarity. The massive march Jan. 11 in Paris made the most powerful statement of all. Jews, Muslims, atheists and others across a spectrum of beliefs ...

Education Toolbox
When more than 6 feet of snow fell on and around Buffalo, N.Y., in November, television stations and news websites used aerial video for an immersive perspective of the storm. One particular flyover video from WKBW took viewers through a suburban winter wonderland where houses, cars and trees were buried ...

Ethics Toolbox
He is one of the people in modern history most quoted by journalists. He knows everything, but goes by many names. Some call him an official. Some call him a source close to the matter. Others just call him anonymous. After years of work, many say he should be forced into retirement. The use of ...

FOI Toolbox
Accessing information is challenging enough, but keeping the information safe, as well as ourselves, is becoming increasingly difficult. Most journalists don’t work in war zones, and most won’t be gunned down in their offices by terrorists, as we witnessed in the horrific massacre of Charlie Hebdo ...

Freelance Toolbox
Travel is more a state of mind and less about where you go. Maybe that sounds New Age-y, but you don't have to be a swingin' single backpacker hiking hostel to hostel or a wealthy globetrotter to carve out a growing travel writing career. I'm a suburban mom living a middle-class life. While I'm ...

Generation J Toolbox
In many stories you do, there will be the one interview known as "the get." For instance, when news broke about a gunman on the Florida State University campus in December, everyone wanted to hear from the gunman's family. I got it. Later, our area had a tragic story involving a 5-year-old thrown ...

Narrative Writing Toolbox
This being the first column of 2015, it’s a good time to help you get back to understanding the basic building blocks required to report, structure and write a story. The best way to do that is to tell you about the struggles I had with the last story I wrote in 2014. If you go ...

Words & Language Toolbox
Once, while chatting over lunch with a friend who also happens to be a highly skilled writer, I used a simile. I mentioned I’d had dinner with a woman whose false lashes were so profuse and so precariously attached that they looked like caterpillars clinging to her eyelids. A few days later, my friend ...

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