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Using quotes

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Pulitzer Wannabe, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. I was always told - probably a lot of us were - that you start a new paragraph with every new quote.

    But I've noticed a lot of times in long-form writing the quotes embedded right there in the middle of a paragraph if it has something to do with the topic at hand. And I like how it reads a lot of the time.

    Is this just something that you have to go by feel on? I'm not talking about dialogue - I get why that has to get its own paragraph. But something like:

    Soon enough the players were running 100 40-yard sprints per practice and going two hours at a time without water. Once, the new coach ran onto the field and tackled a player. "We all realized right away that Coach Jones was a lunatic," safety John Doe says. "You learned to stay as far away from him as possible."

    But for whatever reason, the methods worked ...
  2. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    I always thought the only time you didn't start a new paragraph is if it was a partial quote or something descriptive. Like this:

    The 6-foot-6, 340-pounder was unlike anything the other freshmen on the team had ever seen. "A beast," one teammate called him. "He's a freak," another said.
  3. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    A guy on my staff does this and it drives me crazy.

    In features, I guess it is OK, but in game stories or short profiles, it just seems lazy to me.

    The way I read it is either the reporter didn't ask good enough questions and so they got partial quotes or the reporter needs to work on their transitions, so they aren't always having to qualify quotes.
  4. Lollygaggers

    Lollygaggers Member

    Yeah, that example I would turn into a separate paragraph without thought if I were editing it. I can't think of any times I've seen something like that used where I didn't think it was wrong.
  5. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Member

    I like it both ways.

    (That's what she said)
  6. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    I hate quotes buried in the middle of paragraphs unless they are the little descriptive ones like the "beast" example.

    Even worse is a quote that leads a story. To me that indicates a lazy writer.
  7. Editude

    Editude Active Member

    None is as bad as what we called the wall of quotes at a previous shop, when one writer would run several grafs in a row of barely nteresting quotes that served as narrative as well. Breaking them up meant writing transitions, but because most of the comments were so ordinary, that seemed forced.
  8. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Not calling you to task whatsoever, Angola, but if a reporter is so lazy they can't hit that paragraph or enter key one more time to make the quote a separate graph, then geez, he or she has a lot bigger problems than quote style.

    I'm pretty much separate graphs for quotes except for special circumstances, and like pornography, I know 'em when I see 'em.
  9. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    I completely understand what you are saying, but I was thinking something more along these lines:

    The Podunk High has a good pitching staff, but "they need to get more seasoning," Irwin said, and the Bobcats return three pitchers with starting experience.

    That's what I think is lazy. It's not a matter of editing it and just hitting a return, it requires a complete rewrite and drives me nuts.

    Does that make sense?
  10. Bruce Leroy

    Bruce Leroy Active Member

    One of my biggest pet peeves. I say always make a quote its own paragraph. It just looks awkward to me to see a quote in the middle of another graf. As for Angola's last example, yeah, I think that's fine because it's not a full quote.

    And, while we're at it, for the love of Tebow don't do the four-minute, continuous quote broken into four or five grafs.
  11. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Yes, it does.
  12. DirtyDeeds

    DirtyDeeds Guest

    Had a writer at a previous stop who did the day-after NFL game news conference story every week, and it was basically just a bunch of quotes strung together without any real transitions. HATED reading that crap.
    And I agree with most here that in the example provided, the quote should be a separate graf. Just makes it tougher to read as one. Partial quotes are fine embedded, but I see no reason to not create a new graf for a quote.
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