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Question about using old "interviews"

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by spud, Sep 16, 2007.

  1. spud

    spud Member

    So I'm reading W.C. Heinz's article The Rocky Road of Pistol Pete, which is brilliant by the way, and I come upon a quote from Branch Rickey. The quote was actually said maybe 15-20 years before the article was written, maybe longer. It's basically just an appraisal of Pete Reiser, but my question is how did he get the quote? It's actually supposedly between Rickey and Reiser, and it didn't sound like a reporter was even around. Surely he didn't get it himself when it happened?

    Here's the quote:

    "Young man," he said, "you're the greatest ball player I ever seen, but there is one thing you must remember. Now that you're a professional ball player you're in show business. You will perform on the biggest stage in the world, the baseball diamond. Like the actors on Broadway, you'll be expected to put on a great performance every day, no matter how you feel, no matter whether it's too hot or too cold. Never forget that."

    See what I mean? It's not like this was said to a reporter. You can't actually use quotations unless he actually says it though, right? I'm sure there's a reason, I just don't know what it is.

    Anyway, can anybody shed some light on this for me?
  2. In Cold Blood

    In Cold Blood Member

    I haven't read it, so I don't know specifically, but perhaps he had either Ricky or pete recreate the scene for him, and then he, in turn, recreated it for the reader.
  3. spud

    spud Member

    It was my understanding that anything in quotes is sacred, so to speak. If he didn't say it exactly, isn't that ripe for paraphrasing? I'd imagine if you were to recreate a scene with Pete's words, you'd do it with... y'know, Pete's words. I'd like to use similar tactics because it obviously works, I just wasn't sure where this stuff was coming from. I think he does it quite often, too.
  4. In Cold Blood

    In Cold Blood Member

    yeah, I see what you're saying... I'm not really sure... perhaps some other people here could chime in...

    when you interview someone and recreate a scene that they've recapped for you, is it ok to use quote marks around something that isn't necessarily a direct quote that you heard?

    For example:
    I interview Joe Blow, who tells me in the interview that Coach Smith caught him coming out of the locker room and said he was the greatest player in the history of the world.

    can i write that as:

    Joe Blow walked out of the locker room.
    "You're the greatest player in the history of the world," Coach smith said.
  5. spud

    spud Member

  6. spud

    spud Member

  7. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Having been to enough press conferences to know that a single-sentence quote will invariably appear eight different ways in seven different stories the next day ... I have never been tied to the belief that what is in quotes is sacred.

    I have no problem with using quote marks when recreating a scene like that. Obviously, some kind of explanation would be helpful. But I think some artistic license can be taken as needed, too.

    Rules are made to be bent. And sometimes broken. But you better know how to bend/break them, and why.
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