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"So-and-so said, exclaimed, etc."

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Bucknutty, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. Bucknutty

    Bucknutty Member

    The first rule I was taught in j-school was that you NEVER write things like exclaimed, laughed, shouted, etc. It's always "said," plain and simple, and that's a rule I've always followed.

    I was surprised, then, to see this lede in an AP story on LeCharles Bentley:

    Browns center LeCharles Bentley was cleared by his surgeon to return to the playing field Monday, another major step in his unexpected comeback from a career-threatening knee injury.

    ``I passed it,'' Bentley said excitedly on the phone from New York. ``I'm good to go.''

    I know the AP isn't the gospel or anything, but was I taught wrong? I would never consider writing "said excitedly" and assumed that was the case for all other writers.
  2. imjustagirl2

    imjustagirl2 New Member

    Um, they did say said. They added an adverb.

    They didn't say he exclaimed, or shouted, or hinted. They said said.
  3. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Perhaps they should have went with "yelped."
  4. MertWindu

    MertWindu Active Member

    I'm with ijag. Use an adverb if you really need to convey tone, but not a different verb. Said, said, said.
  5. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    Bingo ... and it's not something I'd do often, but particularly in a case where someone says something that could be taken one way or another depending on how they said it, I'll throw in adverb.

    For instance I was doing a story about five local baseball managers who had all played with or against one another when they were younger. There was some trash talking during the interview, but all in good fun. When I included one particular quote, I wrote, "manager X said jokingly." If not, readers would have thought he was being a dick, when he was in fact just kidding around.
  6. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I would like to see a story where someone used guffawed, peeped, exclaimed, snorted, chortled, etc. instead of said.
  7. Bucknutty

    Bucknutty Member

    Then I have learned something today. I didn't think I was ever supposed to say things like "said excitedly," but I see that's not the case. I always felt that was injecting my opinion into the story, which is why I've avoided it.
  8. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    That's description. Especially as a sports writer you should be able to use a bit of your opinion/observations when writing a story.

    For example, if you were covering a high school football game, I think it would be fine to write something like:

    The overmatched Cougars failed to get a first down in the second half.
  9. MilanWall

    MilanWall Member

    At least the writer didn't use "ejaculated."
  10. imjustagirl2

    imjustagirl2 New Member

    What Ace said. You're conveying the tone of the person who said it, not adding opinion. Now if you said "Bentley said in his usual sniveling way" then maybe that's much. But "excitedly" is expressing to the reader that he's raring to go and helps express the emotion behind a very "blah" quote.

    Read it again without the excitedly. Boring quote, right? He could have been yawning while saying it. That one word helps show he's not.
  11. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    I found that there are only a few journalism rules so ironclad that you should never violate them. This isn't one of them.

    (uh-oh...I smell a potential thread in that)
  12. Wouldn't the reader be able to figure out that the Cougars were overmatched if they failed to get a first down in the second half?
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