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!

quoting bad speakers

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by jakewriter82, Mar 23, 2007.

  1. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Member

    Agreed, Buck.

    If we aren't allowed to clean up quotes, then I'd say 50% of the athletes I cover would never be quoted in my stories. They don't make for good quotes, because of saying "you know," every other word. By the logic suggested by Mr. Ethics, would every quote simply read:

    "I thought we ... came out with a lot of ... well ... intensity tonight ... it would have been easy for us to ... just let them keep dominating us like they were. But I just felt that ... we responded rather ... nicely."
  2. I don't clean up quotes. If they're bad, I just don't use them or I'll use one clear sentence. 99 percent of the time I can say it better anyway. Reporters often forget that quotes are there to enhance the story, not tell it.

    Too often in sports stories, you'll see these large blocks of quotes where you can tell the reporter just transcribed his notes from the recorder. That's not what you would typically consider good writing.

    I like to get a good quote in the first five graphs or so, but if you can't get it from the head coach find someone else.
  3. If you're going to "clean up" a quote think about what you're going to do when one of the sources complains and your editors find that the quote doesn't match your tape.

    A former coworker cleaned up a speaker's quote at a county council meeting a couple of years back to make it clearer. Well, wouldn't you know it, the speaker didn't appreciate it and brought a copy of the council tape with her the next day to the managing editor's office. He got off light with a correction and a meeting behind the woodshed.
  4. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Member

    You're kidding, right?

    Are you really comparing a HS or college athlete -- or any athlete for that matter -- to a public official? Two completely different animals. Athletes, particularly those who aren't professionals, aren't trained speakers. If a quote is good -- really, really good -- but has a few "you knows" in it, you're telling me I can't use it? Or that I should quote it as is? It'd make said athlete look like an idiot.

    A public official on the other hand? Well, I don't really care if they sound like an idiot.
  5. Man, there's a big difference between taking one or even a few "you know"s out of a sentence and taking 12 out, like in your example. Just paraphrase the kid or quote him correctly once and maybe he'll be articulate in the future.

    I'm not out to make kids look stupid but I'm not going to enable them either. Do you do their homework for them, too?
  6. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Member

    No, I just send them to Auburn ... where they enroll in classes taught by Professor Petee in the sociology dept. Who needs homework when you can get one-on-one "instruction?"
  7. boots

    boots New Member

    You don't want to embarrass anyone. That's always been my rule of thumb from your hillside redneck to your street corner thug to your asshole politician to you cocky cop.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page