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Using old, preworn quotes

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by spud, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. spud

    spud Member

    I have my own thoughts on this but wanted to get a quick canvas. Currently writing a feature on an event that happened 30 years ago, so tracking down some interview subjects is proving to be rather difficult (and some are dead). Been able to get a few on the horn, but there are others who, for one reason or another, haven't responded. I'm running up against my deadline. Done my due diligence, but sometimes there's only so much you can do.

    Now, I've found some old stories where, say, one of the players I'm trying to track down has responded to a question I'd more or less be interested in asking verbatim. If you attribute the journalist who got the original interview and publication in which it ran (," so and so told so and so on such and such a date. ") is using that quote within the bounds of acceptability? Is there a statute of limitations on when a quote is reusable? If at all?
  2. albert77

    albert77 Well-Known Member

    Absolutely acceptable, as long as you make it very clear from the outset that the quote in question came from an article from that era.

    It might actually be better than what you'd get now, simply because it would have some immediacy that a recollection from the past might not have.

    You'd want to set it up this way:

    In an article written in 1974 by Poduck Post writer Joe Schmo, Slabodnik said he knew he was going to make the winning shot.

    "I just lined it up and shot it," Slabodnik said.

    But, yeah, I wouldn't have any hesitation about using a quote from the past.
  3. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    I agree, by I don't think you need to include the writer. Just bogs it down with detail.

    "It was a helluva game," Joe Shmo told the New York Times in 1991.
  4. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    This is what I'd say. Certainly nothing wrong with using it if you attribute it to the publication.
  5. gravehunter

    gravehunter Member

  6. murphyc

    murphyc Well-Known Member

    I'd go with this. But I could see naming the writer if there is a connection to your area, i.e. that writer is currently at your paper (or used to be) or is from your town/area, something along those lines. Otherwise, just the name of the publication and when.
  7. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    Here's a somewhat related question....

    Lets say you do a story for publication A. Later you're at publication B and do a related story and want to use that quote.

    Do you have to attribute. Does the quote belong to you or to the publication?
  8. nmmetsfan

    nmmetsfan Active Member

    I'd say publication. It's a good idea to provide context to the quote anyway, so you'd want to include that it was said at that time to that pub.
  9. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Don't waste more time than you have to on attributing an old quote. BB Bobcat's way is correct.

    And BBB, your publication owns the copyright to your stories unless you have in your contract otherwise.
  10. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    All of this is correct. The publication owns it once it is printed, so you have to attribute it to your old place, even if you wrote it and got the quote.
  11. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    So, if I were to reuse "take it one game at a time" from a story in 1980, I could use an old, prewornout quote. :D
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