Why use quotes?
- Add color
- credibility (to you as a writer)
- rhythm & life
- firsthand insight
- natural flavor & movement
Handwritten: happen on the go, accurate/inaccurate, helps to shorthand
Recorded: accuracy is high “They are really hard to find.”
**hard to transcribe; better if you can have a device that works all the time
easier to paraphrase, but if you want to have a direct quote you have to know what the person said
ex). how do you decide what to say if someone spoke for an hour?
if you know it’s being recorded/livestreamed; put a note with the time & watch it again to get the quote
Remembered: “Certain things have a lot of value and certain words fall on the right soil at the right time.” “What did the person say that was memorable?”
- cannot replicate recorded, but can remember which quotes stood out
*Do not place a quote in your story before you confirm with your notes (might not be right – check first)
Journalist selects the most illustrative quote, then uses quote in story, while a stenographer records every word verbatim.
- If you don’t know who said it, do not use the quote.
- Readers should never wonder who says what
- It is good to know how people feel/what they think, but it doesn’t help your story if you cannot attribute it
- Break the quote at the first logical pause
- “Sure, we can go to war right now, but should we?” John Jensen, the UNI history professor, asked rhetorically. “I bet you we would have a hard time explaining this to our kids some day.”
- Can also put it ahead of the quote, but should be used rarely in stories (more in PR) *Want quotes of source to flow seamlessly
What to Quote
- Only what you deem to be character revealing
- Do not waste the reader’s time with basic info that can easily be paraphrased
- Will be easier to find good quotes the more experience you get
- ,” he said.
- ,” said he.
- ,” he says
- ,” says he.
*Tendency to shift to present simple for the purpose of creating immediacy.
Sanctity of the quotation marks:
- Not what you thought, believed, overheard, remembered – ONLY WHAT WAS TRULY SAID
*should take quotes very seriously
- Yes, if it is merited (if someone has a longwinded thought process & you struggled)
- Use “…” to indicate that you cut stuff out
- Do not fix grammar or flow
- Use [xx] ONLY to clarify/if it’s necessary
“Just try to figure out what the person is trying to say.” If you ever interview immigrants, they probably know 3 or 4 languages. Don’t think they’re less intelligent just because they have a heavy accent.
*Always be organized with quotes – where is the story going?
The most important thing is to “be a good listener.” Don’t need to have fancy questions.
“Write how regular people would write.”
- Helps to have it recorded
- Say to the person, “okay, here’s what your quote says, is this correct?”
- “A good quote doesn’t need clarification. It is what it is.”
- Limited use (don’t overuse them)
- Useful when the issue is very complicated
- You can paraphrase a quote and still attribute it
Attributions: “According to”
- Doesn’t get you out of trouble, sometimes
- Is useful, but don’t overuse
- Only time to say, “According to –” is if the source itself is more important than what was said
- Write a story about yourself
- Won’t be “I”
- You’re interviewing yourself
- In the real world a journalist would never write a story about himself/herself in the third person, but we’re just doing it
- Write in third person
- Make sure you have a story line for Thursday (will write in class on Thursday)
- Can write about whatever you want
- Include “quotes”
- Think about what your purpose is, career goals, etc.
– Transition from high school to college
– What makes me who I am
– Relationship with family
– What my life means
“My goal for you is..that you will never tell your child, ‘I’m a boring person.'”