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Home > Publications > Quill > Welcome to the new and improved Quill


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Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Welcome to the new and improved Quill

By Joe Skeel, Quill editor

Before you begin reading this, take a few seconds to flip through this issue of Quill – if you haven’t already done so.

Notice anything different?

The drab black and white pages, and the static layout that often accompanied them, are gone. A thing of the past. From here on out, most of Quill will be brought to you in color.

Along with that, we have made changes to the magazine’s general design.

The headers that once accompanied our columnists are gone. They have been replaced with simple red tags, just like the one above my mug shot. These new “toolbox tags” no longer will carry vague terms about the content on each page. No more “Weighing the Impacts,” or “Collecting Information.” They have been replaced with the much more defined “Ethics” and “FOI.”

We want to make it simple to find what you are looking for, get the information you need and move on to another helpful column. The new Toolbox section, which has space dedicated for promoting SPJ’s training programs and services, is just one more way that we are trying to help you become a better journalist.

After all, that’s what Quill is for.

To help improve the content, some of our Toolbox columnists are taking a more pragmatic approach to their pieces. For instance, Joel Campbell and Charles Davis (co-chairmen of SPJ’s Freedom of Information Committee) will write instructional columns aimed at helping you use the Freedom of Information Act in your daily routine.

They will show you what public documents to request, how to request them and what types of stories can come from such documents. In this issue, Davis explains how some of your peers succeeded in getting laws changed about carnival rides after requesting inspection records (Page 33).

Reporters often use the Freedom of Information Act as a last resort to get public records, but Davis and Campbell, who are modeling their Quill columns after the SPJ/Bloomberg training module, will show you how to use FOIA to generate story ideas while keeping a watchful eye on your government.

Fred Brown, Quill’s ethics columnist and co-chairman of SPJ’s Ethics Committee, presents actual case studies to help you make a sound decision the next time you are in a quandary.

In addition to the new Toolbox section, Quill launched “Ten” this issue. The new feature poses 10 questions to some of the most interesting people in journalism. Our first installment, on Page 22, features Nina Totenberg, legal affairs correspondent for National Public Radio.

For 30 years, Totenberg has covered the U.S. Supreme Court and the philosophies and personalities of those seeking lifetime appointments. Her witty style has helped Americans care about what happens in the country’s highest court.

So, there you have it: Improved content, more color and better design.

The reason for the upgrade is simple. We consider the Society of Professional Journalists to be the premier journalism organization in the world. Our magazine should reflect that, both in content and design.


Joe Skeel is editor of Quill magazine. He can be reached by calling (317) 927-8000, ext. 214 or by e-mail at jskeel@spj.org

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