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Quote Question

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Pete Incaviglia, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    If you're doing a story about one player, should the first quote be from that player?

    Just wondering.
  2. Twoback

    Twoback Active Member

    I don't think it's necessary. Although I'm fairly big on trying not to name another name before the subject's.
    If the story is, say, a relatively lightweight feature about Michael Vick -- just kidding! -- I believe it's helpful for the reader to have Vick's be the first name mentioned.
  3. imjustagirl2

    imjustagirl2 New Member

    Name be the first one mentioned? I think that's a good aim. Kind of like the final score, only not quite as absolute.

    First quote? I think it's whatever puts you into your story the best. Maybe the subject is a shitty quote, but his coach or best friend on the team gave you gold. Then you use it to set up what you're going to say about the subject, even if his words blow.
  4. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    WFW. And you say you're dumb. ;)
  5. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    I think you should probably identify the subject early, but I've seen several great stories where the writer built an idea of that person through quotes from teammates, coaches, family before quoting the player. Just because you don't quote him first doesn't mean you can't still identify him first.
  6. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    I identified the subject in the lede.

    But the most powerful quote in the story came from a second source, who happens to be a teammate.
  7. imjustagirl2

    imjustagirl2 New Member

    Then you absolutely go with that. If it makes your story work, you go with it.
  8. rockville

    rockville New Member

    It is better if the first quote, and as many other quotes as possible, are from people other than the subject of the story. What other people say is often more interesting and relevant than what a person says about herself.
  9. Sandman

    Sandman Member

    Completely agree. Case in point: I recently penned a 400-word sider in a high-profile publication. First person mentioned was not the story subject. And the number of quotes from non-subjects (3) outnumbered those from the subject (1.5).

    Best writing advice I've ever received: Start from the outside and work in.
  10. I think you always put your best quotes as high up as possible, no matter the source.
    I've never actually done this, but in theory, I don't have a problem with a whole feature that doesn't include a single quote from the subject. Maybe the subject is a shitty quote; maybe they are off limits; maybe it's while they are in a coma.
    Whatever the circumstances, I think you write the best story you can and bind yourself with as few rules as possible.
  11. imjustagirl2

    imjustagirl2 New Member

    I would disagree as this as a blanket statement.

    Do you want something sharp high, in addition to good narrative, to hook the reader? Absolutely. But you should sprinkle your good stuff throughout. If you decline in quality of quotes, at some point, readers will stop reading.
  12. I think many of the readers are going to stop reading at some point anyway. That was the whole point of the inverted pyramid, right? (That and being able to chop off the less important stuff at the end).
    I don't mean to say you have nothing but quotes at the top, but I think your first quote should be your strongest and, generally, they should go down from there.
    There will be exceptions where you have to work it to make it flow better, but I always try to put the best stuff at the top and get people hooked as much as possible with line after line.
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