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Quotes and writing

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SportsDude, Feb 11, 2007.

  1. slipshod

    slipshod Member

    Unless it's some massive project, I write the lead and insert the best quotes where I think they advance the story as I'm transcribing them. I try to always use quotes that advance the story and not use them just for the sake of using them. I usually know the quotes I want before I transcribe. I just have to find them so I get them right.
  2. Boobie Miles

    Boobie Miles Active Member

    I'm totally with you on both accounts. Often times I'll leave a press conference and think the coach didn't say much but then as I'm writing/transcribing the quotes I find that he said something that fits in perfect. And other times I think I have a lot of good stuff and it just doesn't turn out that way at all.
  3. linotype

    linotype Well-Known Member

    Probably a good idea to use a recorder with a clock/counter on it. Then as you're doing your post-game interviews, scribble down the times and topics -- at 2:30 on the timer Joe Studplayer talks about his winning jumper, at 5:45 he discusses the team's winning streak, etc.

    (And if you're leaving the digital recorder at the podium for a newser, bring along a stopwatch and start the recorder and stopwatch at the same time -- that way you can make note of the times of key quotes, then fast-forward to them for easy transcription.)

    If you know where you're taking the story, that makes it a ton easier to zip between key quotes and build the story from there -- especially if you work for a paper with several editions and you have to file a bulldog just-the-facts lede, then write it thru with quotes for later editions.
  4. I've seen many versions of this debate on here. Three observations:

    1. Quotes are way overused in sports stories. I have a general rule: No more than one for every four grafs of writing.

    2. If you can write it better, and 95 percent of the time you can, say it yourself. Quotes slow the reader down, and the fewer quotes you use, the more the quotes you use will stand out.

    3. I almost never base my lead off a quote (you're my hero, Shockey, but we disagree here). If a quote can hammer home a lead, great, but I'm not circling the wagons around a quote. Those kind of leads seem fake, to me.
  5. One pet peeve of mine is a quote that looks something like this:

    "(The player) told his teammates (Saturday after the game) that hitting the (game-winning free throws) was a very rewarding (feeling)."

    If you have a quote that needs parentheses to clarify, it's 1) such a poor quote you shouldn't be using it in the first place or 2) an indication you need to write a better transition into the quote.
  6. Montezuma's Revenge

    Montezuma's Revenge Active Member

    Wow. I disagree with every rule you cite. I say quotes move along the story, if you know how to set 'em up. I've made a decent career out of knowing how to set up a quote -- and how to use the quotes as a vehicle to advance the story. My gift in this world -- and God, I wish I had a more lucrative one -- is that I can make 50 inches read like 30, 40 read like 20, etc. And knowing how to use quotes is a big part of it.

    Yes, quotes slow down the story if you're using five-sentence meanderings about people stepping up, blah, blah, blah. But I think the eyes glaze if you've got graf after graf of a writer masturbating on his keyboard.
  7. SoSueMe

    SoSueMe Active Member

    Transcribe my quotes in order. Then arrange them from most powerful to least. And then I delete the shitty ones, so I'm not attempted to use just to use them or fill space.

    Quotes need to ADD something to the story (i.e. emotion from the athlete or coach), something I, the fan or the reader couldn't feel, say, etc.

    I always have a list of potential directions the game/feature/story can go. I'm not saying my story is written beforehand. But I note things I should watch for (i.e. injuries, returns, adversity, playoff standings, etc.)

    If something crazy or out of the ordinary happens, there's my lead. I try to look for something personal, quirky etc. in the gamers.
  8. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    Agreed. If I'm doing prep reporting, I'll write the box, then the quotes before I tackle the story. That way, there shouldn't be any road-blocks in my way, especially that big, black dude from G.I. Joe.
  9. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    "Quotes are overrated."
  10. Breakyoself

    Breakyoself Member

    i write the story in my head after interview on drive back to work or when sitting down and seeting up shop. then add in quotes that i liked from coaches or players. usually lead is based off something that happened in the game or meaning of a win, and quotes reflect that shit.
  11. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    Anyone else use this formula? I've never seen it done this way.
  12. Breakyoself

    Breakyoself Member

    what is weird? i eventually type it out, but i go through how i want the story to sound in my head as I get ready to do so. i would think we should all be thinking of the story during a game or right after an interview.
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