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Quotes, quotes and more quotes ...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Gator, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. Gator

    Gator Well-Known Member

    We all need quotes to make a story credible, but I'm not a huge fan of just emptying your recorder just because somebody said something. One of my writers today wrote a gamer in which the pitcher threw a solid game. Not a no-hitter, not a one-hitter, just a good, solid effort.

    But rather talking about HOW he was able to pitch such a good game, I got five (seriously) back-to-back quotes from five different people (including the pitcher, catcher, both managers and a batter) about his performance, with no break. Just quote, quote, quote, quote, quote.

    I think it's just lazy writing. I hate to use two in a row, but I have when the topic is rare. Otherwise, one should suffice, and should you use two, at least introduce the quote properly with some kind of transition, something as simple as, "His manager agreed."
  2. Point of Order

    Point of Order Active Member

    They can't all be prize winners.
  3. Liut

    Liut Well-Known Member

    It's either laziness or the writer doesn't know any better. Said writer must not read much, either.

    Sort of reminds me of the time I took a new gig and inherited a vet who'd been there for years. Managed to get the OK to send him 200 miles to a college conference's preseason media day.

    He came back and wrote a season preview with a quote from each coach in the descending order of their predicted finish. Even had a quote from a coach of a team coming into the league the following year. Quote, sentence, next coach quote, sentence, next coach quote, sentence, typo, next quote coach, sentence, etc. ;D

    Must have been 12 of them, again, in descending order.

    This was just a prelude to his gamers. Oh boy, play-by-play.....in sequence.

    Hang in there. ;D
  4. Gator

    Gator Well-Known Member

    Seriously, I might have taken your job. :)
  5. dirtybird

    dirtybird Well-Known Member

    Maybe this is just me, but I always hated those really abrupt transitions. Mostly because I get annoyed when someone closes a story going quote-transition that says what next quote will say-quote-preview transition-quote-etc. I think it can be an OK convention, at times works really well, but often gets used as a massive crutch.

    As a result I started stacking pairs of quotes sometimes, but usually made sure their combined length was not overwhelming. At times I really enjoyed that. Five all on top of each other... well that might require a talk with an editor.
  6. AndrewPaPreps

    AndrewPaPreps Member

    Story design and flow always depends on the subject and the effectiveness of the writer. I've seen stacked quotes work. I've seen no quotes or minimal quotes work.

    Outside of grammar and sentence structure, I hate rules for writing. Guidelines are good. But you'll always find an excellent reason for rules to be broken.

    I'd say using back-to-back-to-back-to-back quotes is generally a bad idea, just like a chronological play-by-play. But there might be an instance where both would work.
  7. Cubbiebum

    Cubbiebum Member

    My of my first stories here I used a stacked quote (just two) because it worked. Next day I see the editor deleted the line in-between and made it just one quote and thus wrong. Haven't used one since when he is the one who designs the page.
  8. shockey

    shockey Active Member

    the use of quotes, like the 'kicker' discussion on the column-writing thread, is where good editing comes in. they can be a great teaching tool for young writers (not on deadline). the best, most effective part of a quote is often lost when buried amidst a 2-graph quote. use more phrases from the quote in your copy to keep it flowing. i learned this early on (it helped competing in a multi-paper market to see how everyone used the same quotes differently. you can 'go to school' by reading the more experienced competition). short, one or two sentence quotes ca be remembered, have impact. reams of quotes don't often work. be a writer. write. be discerning, selective.

    read. read. read.
  9. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    I used to do that a lot.
    Then one day BigPern - who was using me as a part-time - emailed me and told me it needed to stop ASAP. Hasn't happened since.
  10. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Some writers feel that if they talked to someone, they need to quote them in the paper. Like the person would be mad or disappointed or something.

    Some writers feel that quotes are sacred somehow and don't like to paraphrase them.

    Some writers believe everything they are told and quote people who are obviously lying or BSing with no context or information to let the reader know the person said this but the facts might indicate otherwise.

    Some writers feel if they went to the length to talk to someone to get a quote, even if it's an empty statement or cliche, they are damn sure going to put it in the story. (Though empty statements and cliches have their place.)

    Quotes are overused and misused more than anything else in newspapers, I would wager.
  11. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Well-Known Member

    Can I quote you?
  12. YGBFKM

    YGBFKM Guest

    The trick is to know when someone else can say things better than you.
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