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Handling quotes from a person who recently died

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mr. X, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. Mr. X

    Mr. X Member

    I interviewed a woman last week for an advance of an event on Friday. She died Tuesday. How do you suggest I handle her quotes in the story? Is the best bet just writing, "Smith said in an interview last week before her death Tuesday?"
  2. If this is actually a serious question, don't use quotes from somebody who just died.

  3. Mr. X

    Mr. X Member

    No quotes mean no story. I think she would have wanted me to write the story if she died. Her death was sudden and unexpected.
  4. CYowSMR

    CYowSMR Member

    If there is NO WAY you can talk to someone else. Just simply say, "Person said in an interview Monday."
  5. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I would scrap the old quotes and use, "said during a seance last night."
  6. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member


    Big letters:


    Well, that is if you work for a TV station.
  7. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    Second. Find someone else, anyone else, to talk about this, or just run a press release or something.
  8. Well, I think it depends on the topic of the story.

    If this person was the director of the local March for Dimes event and you were running a preview for it, bad idea.

    If this was some feature on something like how she had raised some record amount of money for a charity or some human interest story about her five adopted children, it changes your angle but the quotes can still be used with some tact.

    I'm guessing since you said she would have wanted you to write the story, it probably falls into the latter category.

    You may want to err on the side of tact in this one, though.
  9. inthesuburbs

    inthesuburbs Member

    There's nothing wrong with quoting someone who has died, as long as you're clear. "blah, blah," Firstname Lastname said in an interview last Thursday, before her death on Tuesday at age X of Y.

    If you need the quotes, if the quotes make the story, that is, if the quotes are news, then certainly use them, and explain that she died. This will not surprise anyone. People go to real estate closings, buying a house after the Realtor who helped them pick it out has died. People get a final grade of A in a class after the teacher who taught them has died.

    The key is to explain. Not just a silly three-word phrase, "who died Tuesday." But say that it was before she died, and when, and of what, and at what age -- you know, the news. It's never insensitive to tell the news.

    Whatever you do, don't follow this advice: "Just simply say, 'Person said in an interview Monday.'" That would make you look like a clueless fool.

    Just don't say she died suddenly. Everyone does.
  10. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    Personally, I wouldn't use them.

  11. You've lost your mind.

    Was I clear there?
  12. clintrichardson

    clintrichardson Active Member

    Is it possible to give a little more context? Without any idea at all what sort of piece you are talking about, my first thought is to avoid using her quotes, even if it means no story.
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