1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

How to handle names when writing an article with a kid and his parents?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SP7988, Apr 3, 2015.

  1. SP7988

    SP7988 Member

    So I have a story I'm working on about a prep athlete. His parents are quoted quite a bit in the story and featured in it a bit.

    How would I go about the names?

    Obviously, you'd list their full names at first mention. But after that, then what? Do I just go with first names or keep using full names?
  2. DeskMonkey1

    DeskMonkey1 Active Member

    If both are repeatedly mentioned, I just go with first name ,or I've mixed in "the younger Doe" or "the elder Doe" but some don't like that. If it's mainly about one and the other is only mentioned once or twice, I'll use full name where confusion could come in but other wise stick with last name for the main topic.
  3. SP7988

    SP7988 Member

    ^good points.

    But yeah, story is about the kid, but both his parents had a lot of good quotes and really painted a better picture of this kid's recovery, so I found I was using their quotes and including them repeatedly as well. It sounds fine for the kids, but using first name for parents seems odd, but I think it sounds better to me personally then using their full name repeatedly.

    Just curious how others handled the situation.
  4. awriter

    awriter Active Member

    What deskmonkey said.
  5. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Seconded. Either that or, if they have different names, "Joe Schmoe said" or "Jane Schome said."
    slappy4428 likes this.
  6. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Agree with Deskmonkey. It can get a little clunky, but it's the best way to do it.
  7. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    Doesn't need to get too clunky. A good editor can help decide where the reference is clear and where you need to clarify. I also like to mix it up with the use of "the younger Blow" or "the elder Blow" as well. I think that makes it less clunky as well.
  8. MNgremlin

    MNgremlin Active Member

    Doesn't help if he's using both parents though. But you could say "Blow's mother or father said"
  9. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

    If it's a feature about Johnny and his parents, Bob and Sue, you also can just use their first names throughout after the first references. It's a feature, and it's a family, and it works in a conversational manner while also avoiding the awkward practice of using non-names (Blow's father, the elder Blow, etc). Much easier for your readers, too.
    slappy4428 likes this.
  10. SnarkShark

    SnarkShark Well-Known Member

    I had an editor once who made me go straght full name on every reference for a feature like this because he said it was our "style." I told him features should be exceptions and doing that would ruin my story. He held firm.

    The story was completely bogged down by it and ended up reading terribly.

  11. SP7988

    SP7988 Member

    Thanks for the input guys.

    My story is about this HS kid who suffered a serious back injury before his senior year as captain of the defending D1 lax champs over here. I kind of started it off throwing reader into scene of the accident, and then I kinda have gone through the experience at the hospital, how his home life was (his attitude, how he handled it, etc) and taking it back to present day and what he's doing to fight the odds to get back on the field.

    As far as his parents, his dad was one who first found him, then I dove into their experience at the hospital and then also kind of needed them to relay from someone other than the kid, how his attitude was at home when he was out of public eye.

    So parents get mentioned several times, and would kind of be supporting characters if the kid was the lead, if that makes any sense.

    So what would you guys do in that case? First names? Mix it up and use full names sometimes or X's father/mother said?
  12. TopSpin

    TopSpin Member

    What deskmonkey advised still applies, and I don't see anything wrong with a mix of "Doe''s father said" or "Doe's mother said" if the voice is clearly identified in the transition prior to the quote.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page