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How to effectively use quotations in news stories.

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  1. 1. 6/7/2014 1 Quotations
  2. 2. 6/7/2014 2 Introduction In his book, “The Craft of Interviewing,” Tom Brady extols quotes as “those brief, brilliant bursts of life.” Ideally, that’s what they are. Unfortunately, though, many quotes are neither brief, nor brilliant but lifeless and verbose -- From AP Guide to News Writing, Rene J. Cappon
  3. 3. 6/7/2014 3 Campbell’s 10 quote tips  1. Ordinarily, put attribution after a direct quote or paraphrase.  2. If the speaker is changing, put attribution first. Paraphrase the second quote.  3. Do not stack direct quotes.  4. Ordinarily, place the noun or pronoun before the verb in attribution.  “Everything is under control,” the sheriff said.  “I enjoy the challenge,” said Jack Berry, associate dean for graduate studies.  5. Place long titles after the name. Capitalize short titles if used before name.
  4. 4. 6/7/2014 4 Campbell’s 10 quote tips  6. Set off quotes in separate paragraphs.  7. Avoid quotes of more than 3-4 sentences.  8. Break up longer quotes with a name. Only break between sentences.  Example: “The story is told through a lot of flashbacks and from a lot of different angles,” Lisa Kudrow said. “And except for the police and me all of the characters are capable of lying.”  9. Place commas, question marks(if part of quote) and periods inside quotation marks  10. Avoid double attribution  The commissioner said he would move promptly against what he called an “outrageous situation.”
  5. 5. 6/7/2014 5 Tribune attribution  Select a story. Read it and answer the following questions on a sheet of paper.  How many different verbs of attribution did you find (beside said)?  How were quotes punctuated.  Try to identify examples of correct applications of Campbell’s 10 quote rules.
  6. 6. 6/7/2014 6 When to quote?  Too many writers seem to assume that quotation marks, by themselves, can transform a grunt into a great fugue.  Example: Smith said he accepted the job because it represented a “challenge.”
  7. 7. 6/7/2014 7 When to quote?  The senator said that “during the period of time, which covered six years, the committee held a total of only six days of hearings.”  The senator said the subcommittee held only six days of hearings in as many years.
  8. 8. 6/7/2014 8 When to quote? Use quotes for specific, vivid and descriptive statements and to capture inner feelings and personality. “We can’t make ends meet,” said the 36- year-old waitress and mother of three who lives in the capital. “Everything’s going up. We used to buy meat most days, but that’s out of the question. We have to line up for hours for sugar and rice. And then we’re told we can’t have wage increases.” -- N.Y. Times
  9. 9. 6/7/2014 9 When to quote? “By the time they get in here, there’s no more belligerence, no more fight,” an attendant said. “They’re really quite cooperative and polite at this final stage. They just sit there and die quietly.” -- N.Y. Times
  10. 10. 6/7/2014 10 Help wanted [sometimes]  A parenthetical insert may be used to explain a technical word or to clarify a pronoun reference.  Right: “He said he had no idea why he [Smith] didn’t show up for work with the others.”  Wrong: “I guess he [the driver] just hates hitchhikers. They [highway motorists] do it all the time. They swerve at you like they are trying to hit you. This is the first time one of us [referring to highway tramps in general] every really got hit.”
  11. 11. 6/7/2014 11 Said of trap  “It’s rare. We don’t usually get that many large petitions,” Richard Markse, a railroad spokesman, said of the 300 signatures Field collected.  Fields collected 300 signatures. “It’s rare,” said Richard Markse, a railroad spokesman. “We don’t usually get that many large petitions.”
  12. 12. 6/7/2014 12 Haphazard attribution  Make sure the reader knows who’s speaking  Don’t overattribute in running quotations  Don’t disrupt the flow of the sentence  “The charge is not,” the lawyer said, “warranted in the slightest degree.”  “This is the second time,” the angry senator said, “the agency has violated its own regulations.”
  13. 13. 6/7/2014 13 Watch the context “There may be occasions, crimes, when the death penalty appears justified. At least many people think so. I have sometimes leaned that way myself, but to my mind, large problems remain. A longtime opponent of capital punishment said today that on occasions “the death penalty appears justified.” “I have sometimes leaned that way myself,” he added, though “large problems always remain.”
  14. 14. 6/7/2014 14 Watch the context Reporter: Do you feel the verdict was wrong, that it was a gross miscarriage of justice? Source: Well, yes. Copy: He said he “felt that the verdict wrong and a gross miscarriage of justice.” Correction: He said “yes” to a reporter’s question whether he felt . . .
  15. 15. 6/7/2014 15 Overextended attribution  Do not attribute wording and coloring obviously different from the source’s own.  WASHINGTON – The nation’s unemployment rate shot up from 6.2 percent to 7 percent in April, the highest level in 2 years. It is a powerful sign that the inflation-wracked economy is now being squeezed by the rise of recession, the government reported today.
  16. 16. 6/7/2014 16 A Band-Aid may help  You can fix up small grammatical problems, dialect and non- standard English.
  17. 17. 6/7/2014 17 Expletive deleted  Avoid casual profanity and vulgarisms.  Use obscenities, profanities, vulgarities entry in AP Stylebook as a guide.  Also see nationalities and races to handle ethnic slurs on page 169.
  18. 18. 6/7/2014 18 Paraphrase to the rescue  Don’t unnecessarily embarrass a source.  “What is lacking is not indifference and apathy” suggests Joseph Guinn, vice president of the association. “The general public just doesn’t understand the education value.”  Guinn said that apathy and indifference were not the problem.
  19. 19. 6/7/2014 19 Overview  Give it the overused test  “It’s a great challenge.”  “It sounded like a freight train (or an atom bomb).”  “I like people.”