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Writing with Quotations

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  1. Writing with Quotations

  2. Learning Objectives • Recognize and use different types of quotations • Choose and place meaningful quotations • Correctly punctuate quotations • Use quotations in graphics • Define and use appropriate attribution • Use attributive verbs

  3. Using Quotations • Quotations are the exact words spoken by a source. The words are placed in quotation marks, and the name of the source is given with the quotation. • Can be used to provide the reader with descriptive accounts or explanations of what happened. • Quotations are also used to pull the reader deeper into a story, to capture the reader’s feelings and emotions.

  4. Using Quotations cont. • By using quotations, reporters are able to remain neutral while they let readers and viewers know what the sources are thinking. • For example, as the writer of a story on nutrition in school cafeterias, you can’t say that the food served in your school doesn’t taste like home cooking. However, a quote from a student with her thoughts on yesterday’s main course would be acceptable: • “I thought yesterday’s lunch was the worst thing I’ve tasted in years,” sophomore Susan Smith said. “Our school really needs to evaluate its lunch program.”

  5. Using Quotations cont. • You, the reporter, can’t say that in the news story, but you can say that Susan said it. Be careful to quote Susan’s exact words and to tell her that she will be quoted in the paper. • Reporters always need to ask permission from sources to use their words and their names in the newspaper or on the air. • When you use direct quotes to introduce or explain a point of view, use quotations that present all sides of the issues.

  6. Using Quotations cont. • For example, if you used the above quotation in an article on improving your school’s lunch program, you should also have tried to get quotations showing a different opinion on the subject: • “The lunches at this school have improved dramatically since I’ve been here,” senior Tyler Jones said. “The cafeteria personnel should be commended for what they’ve done in the past four years.”

  7. Using Quotations cont. • Quotations from the primary sources for a story are the most important. The cafeteria story would not be complete without input from the food service personnel: • “We try to provide food that students like that also has the nutrients they need. That’s not easy when most of them prefer junk food or burgers and fries for every meal,” food service worker Alberta Bruning said.

  8. Using Quotations cont. • This is an example of how quotations can be used to balance a story—to represent all sides of an issue fairly. • Journalists also use quotations to do these things: -enhance the content of the stories -give stories the human element that makes them interesting to the audience -provide thoughts and opinions from sources -break up the monotony of long stories

  9. Information or Quotation? • Reporters use quotations to put people’s interpretations and opinions into their stories. Statements of fact or general, common knowledge can be made without using quotations. • Any fact that the average person would know or any data that could be easily verified, like the data in the following quote, do not need to be enclosed in quotations: • “Our school is open seven days a week and until 11 at night,” the superintendent said.

  10. Information or Quotation? cont. • The information contained in this quotation could be verified by school authorities, so it is unnecessary to attribute it to one source. The reporter may simply state the information: The school building is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. • There’s a simple guideline to help determine whether a quotation is necessary. If a source expresses opinion, use a quotation. If the source recites facts, simply state the facts.

  11. Types of Quotations • Just as there are several reasons why reporters use quotations, there are also different kinds of quotations and different ways to use them. • Among the types of quotations used are direct quotations, paraphrases, partial quotations, and fragmentary quotations.

  12. Direct Quotations • A direct quotation is an exact, word-for-word account of what a person said, enclosed in quotation marks and credited to the source. For example the following is a direct quotation: “It’s not going to change our strategy,” coach Jim Smith said. “It’s one of those things where you just try to put together your best plan of attack. Then you cross your fingers.”

  13. Direct Quotations cont. • Crediting a source is called attribution. Whether it is a direct quote that is attributed to the source, Smith said, or information cited from a physical source, according to the San Francisco Examiner, all specific information must be attributed to the source. • This quotation displays the speaker’s feelings by relating them in his own words. But be careful. As a reporter, you are responsible for making sure that the speaker’s words are not changed or twisted around.

  14. Direct Quotations cont. • If you change something, you are misquoting the speaker, even if you forget only a single word. Although a single word—or a single letter—may seem harmless, you could be changing the entire meaning of what the speaker said. • Misquoting sources upsets them. If it’s done often enough, or to the point of embarrassing them too much, they may refuse to talk to you again. Your credibility as a reporter depends upon your ability to get and use accurate quotations.

  15. Direct Quotations cont. • Occasionally the person you’re interviewing will use incorrect grammar or profanity. It is acceptable to edit out profanity and words or expressions such as uh and you know that the speaker uses habitually but that do not add information to the quote. • It is also acceptable to correct minor errors in grammar or fact if not doing so makes the speaker sound foolish or uneducated. • Sometimes you will want to leave in colorful expressions or grammatically incorrect sentences to show personality.

  16. Paraphrases • A paraphrase summarizes what the speaker said without using the source’s exact words and without using quotation marks. • In a paraphrase, a reporter rewords the thoughts and ideas of the source without changing the meaning of what the source said. The reporter lets the reader know the source of the information in the paraphrase.

  17. Paraphrases cont. • Paraphrasing is done to condense a speaker’s comments from several sentences to several words or to convey information that is fact rather than opinion. For instance the school counselor tells reporters: “It’s been a tough year. We’ve had so many problems we never used to have. Gambling, for instance. Never used to be a problem. Now the number-crunchers tell me we’ve had more cases of student athletes throwing big money away on games, horses, dogs, you name it, in the last year than we had in the whole five years before that.”

  18. Paraphrases cont. • The reporter condenses the information and leaves out the extra words. When the story appears in the paper, the counselor’s rambling statement looks like this: More students were involved in gambling in the past year than in the previous five years, school counselor Elaine Hoover said. • The reporter could have printed some or all of the comments as a direct quote, but doing so wouldn’t have added anything to the reader’s understanding. If the counselor had offered an opinion about the impact of gambling on attendance or on student performance, that opinion might have been added as a direct quote.

  19. Partial Quotations • The combination of a direct quotation with a paraphrase, attributed to the source, is called a partial quotation. Partial quotations are used when the source has expressed an opinion or used words the reporter feels must come directly from the source, but those words are part of a quotation or speech that is too long to be printed in its entirety. • The reporter paraphrases the source’s point and includes the key words in quotations: Jones said he was displeased with the proposed plan because it was “excruciatingly long, drawn out and expensive.”

  20. Partial Quotations cont. • Be careful of pronouns in partial quotations. It’s easy to forget to use the first person pronoun in a partial quotation when the quote follows a third person paraphrase: • Incorrect: Johnson said he was feeling much better but that he was “the sorest that he had ever felt after a game.” • Correct: Johnson said he was feeling much better but that “this is the sorest I have ever felt after a game.”

  21. Fragmentary Quotations • Individual words or phrases a person says can be singled out and placed in quotation marks within a sentence. These are known as fragmentary quotations. They are always attributed to a source. • Fragmentary quotations are permissible when a reporter needs to quote a word the source said in a sentence that has been paraphrased: John said the movie was “awesome,” that the sound effects were “cool” and that anyone who missed the show is “stupid” and would “regret it for the rest of his life.”

  22. Using Quotations in Broadcast • Sound bites are taped quotations used by radio and television stations for the same reasons newspapers use quotations. They are portions of the source’s message that the listener or viewer can hear or see. Actually hearing or seeing the source brings a broadcast to life. • Many of the same guidelines that apply to quotations in print apply to sound bites in broadcast. Reporters need to ask permission from sources to audiotape or videotape interviews. All reporters need to clarify with interviewees that they may be quoted and get permission to use their names.

  23. Using Quotations in Broadcast cont. • Paraphrasing in broadcasting is used much the same way it is in print. When partial quotes are used on the air, the newscaster reads the lead to the story, pauses briefly or says “quote,” and then reads the exact words of the source. When the quote has ended, it is not necessary to say “end of quote.” Another pause between the end of the quotation and the beginning of the next sentence will signal the listener or viewer the quote has ended. • Listening to partial quotations in a news broadcast can confuse listeners. It is better for the newscaster to use a sound bite of the speaker’s voice than to repeat what the speaker said for word to word.

  24. Choosing Appropriate Quotations • Choosing quotations that are significant is very important. • If reporters just insert quotations here and there without putting any thought into what the quotations add to the story, they may diminish the impact of good stories. • Quotations are an integral par of a story. They should be chosen carefully and placed with caution.

  25. When to use Direct Quotations • Use direct quotations to display thoughts and opinions. Example: • “This letter is monstrous,” Manhattan City Councilwoman Kathryn Freed told Newsday. “It really is like, ‘Merry Christmas, and kill your dogs.’” (Story from AP on a letter from a New York housing authority official who ordered tenants to get rid of their dogs.) • This quotation can’t be paraphrased by the reporter. It contains specific words the speaker used to express a feeling on a particular subject. The quotation shows emotion and gets the speaker’s point across.

  26. Placing Quotations • To catch a readers’ attention, use quotations early in a story. • Many stories begin with the lead, add a paragraph expanding on information presented in the lead, and follow up with a quotation from a primary source. • Other stories may go directly to a quotation in the paragraph following the lead.

  27. Placing Quotations cont. • Beginning a story with a quotation is usually not recommend, because it is difficult to sum up a story with the content of one quotation. • In some cases, however, a direct quotation that teases readers into the story may work as a lead.

  28. Placing Quotations cont. • The key to placing direct quotations effectively is to spread them throughout a story. • Place a quote early in the story. Then place another one every few paragraphs to hold the reader’s attention. • Paragraphs that begin with quotations attract more readers than paragraphs with quotes buried in the text.

  29. Placing Quotations cont. • Connect a series of quotations by different speakers or quotations on different topics with transitions paragraphs. • Transition paragraphs link quotations by providing additional information or indicating a change of topic. They avoid readers feeling bombarded by too many quotes. • Stories that are nothing, but quotations strung together are just as boring and tiresome to read as stories with no quotations.

  30. Placing Quotations cont. • Sometimes it is necessary to divide a direct quotation into more than one paragraph. A transition paragraph is not necessary as long as the speaker is talking about the same subject: • “I’ll need the help of fellow officers and students,” President Sueann Ramella said. “The main thing we want to do is raise funds so that our Senior Ball tickets will be inexpensive. “It will take teamwork to accomplish our goals. I hope we can also become even better friends along the way,” she added. (Viking Vanguard, Puyallup High School, Puyallup, Wash.)

  31. Choosing the Right Sound Bite • Like direct quotations in print, sound bites also need to get the attention of the listener or viewer. • Sound bites that quote general information are worthless. Choose sound bites that give the audience insights into the sources’ thoughts or opinions. • Keep sound bites short—no more than 10 to 15 seconds.

  32. Punctuating Quotations • Correctly punctuating quotations can prevent confusion for readers. • This section will give you guidelines to follow when in doubt about how to punctuate a quotation with attribution.

  33. Punctuating Quotations cont. 1. Place a comma between the end of a direct quotation and its attribution: Incorrect: “The idea is extremely ludicrous” he said. Incorrect: “The idea is extremely ludicrous.” he said. Correct: “The idea is extremely ludicrous,” he said. 2. When the attribution comes first, place a comma between the verb and the direct quotation: Incorrect: He said “The idea is extremely ludicrous.” Correct: He said, “The idea is extremely ludicrous.”

  34. Punctuating Quotations cont. 3. When ending an indirect quotation with the attribution, place a comma directly before the attribution: Incorrect: The crowd was the biggest one in years Smith said. Correct: The crowd was the biggest one in years, Smith said. 4. When beginning an indirect quotation with the attribution, no comma is needed: Incorrect: Smith said, the crowd was the biggest one in years. Correct: Smith said the crowd was the biggest one in years.

  35. Punctuating Quotations cont. 5. Always place punctuation marks inside the closing quotation marks: Incorrect: “The situation is getting out of hand”, she said. Correct: “The situation is getting out of hand,” she said. Incorrect: “What was I supposed to do”? he asked. Correct: “What was I supposed to do?” he asked. 6. Use only one punctuation mark at the end of a direct quotation: Incorrect: “What was I supposed to do,?” he asked. Correct: “What was I supposed to do?” he asked.

  36. Punctuating Quotations cont. 7. When using a punctuation mark that relates to a direct quotation (as in a question mark or exclamation point), place it at the end of the quotation, not at the end of the sentence: Incorrect: “What was I supposed to do,” he asked? Correct: “What was I supposed to do?” he asked.

  37. Punctuating Quotations cont. 8. When using a quotation mark that relates to the sentence and not the quotation, place it at the end of a sentence: Incorrect: Wasn’t it Shakespeare who wrote the line “To be or note to be, that is the question?” Correct: Wasn’t it Shakespeare who wrote the line “To be or not to be, that is the question”? Again, only one terminal punctuation mark is necessary at the end of the sentence: Incorrect: Wasn’t it Shakespeare who wrote “to be or not to be, that is the question.”? Correct: Wasn’t it Shakespeare who wrote “to be or not to be, that is the question”?

  38. Punctuating Quotations cont. 9. Use single quotation marks to offset a quotation within a quotation: Incorrect: “It really is like, “Merry Christmas, and kill your dogs,” ” she said. Incorrect: “It really is like, ‘Merry Christmas, and kill your dogs,” she said. Correct: “It really is like, ‘Merry Christmas, and kill your dogs,’ ” she said.

  39. Punctuating Quotations cont. 10. Closing quotation marks are not used at the end of a paragraph if the same speaker is continuing in the next paragraph: Incorrect: “I’ll need the help of fellow officers and students,” President Sueann Ramella said. “The main thing we want to do is raise funds so that our Senior Ball tickets will be inexpensive.” “It will take teamwork to accomplish our goals. I hope we can also become even better friends along the way,” she added. Correct: “I’ll need the help of fellow officers and students,” President Sueann Ramella said. “The main thing we want to do is raise funds so that our Senior Ball tickets will be inexpensive. “It will take teamwork to accomplish our goals. I hope we can also become even better friends along the way,” she added.

  40. Other Uses for Quotations • Direct Quotations aren’t reserved only for use within text. The size of their type may be enlarged so they can be used as a focal point to a story. They may also be used in graphics form, as in an opinion poll on the editorial page. • One example is a pulled quotation, a direct quotation taken from the story, enlarged and placed in a way that draws attention to the story.

  41. Other Uses for Quotations cont. • Pulled quotations should be placed in a box or separated from the text in some visual way. Styles for pulled quotes vary from publication to publication, but most are boldfaced, italicized or both, with the name and title of the speaker printed in a different typeface. • Pulled quotes are used as art in place of pictures or graphics to break up text on a page and should say something meaningful. Choose quotes that summarize the story or say something so persuasive or intriguing that the reader will want to learn more.

  42. Other Uses for Quotations cont. • Direct quotations may also be used in opinion features. Many high school publications use them on their opinion or editorial pages to show students’ views on selected subjects for each issue. • The reporter may conduct person-on-the-street interviews and use the information for a sidebar or an information graphic. • The graphic should include the question asked and the speakers’ responses and each speaker should be identified.

  43. Attribution • Attribution is giving credit to the source of the information. It is important to let the reader or viewer know the human or physical source from which information came. This helps the consumer judge the credibility of the information. • Not only do reporters need to identify their sources; they also need to credit each source, or give the source a title, so the reader knows why the source is being used for the story.

  44. What to Attribute • Attribution involves more than just identifying sources of quotations. • Information that would not be commonly known by the consumer, whether it is used in quotation form or not, should be attributed.

  45. What to Attribute cont. • The following sentences need attribution, because they contain information that the reader didn’t know before reading them and couldn’t find in a common source: • The fire caused an estimated $5,000 in damage. • Jones has been asked to resign as school board president. • Both students were charged with felonies.

  46. What to Attribute cont. • By not attributing the information, reporters would be failing to let consumers know where the information came from, and they would be setting themselves up for possible lawsuits. The sentences should be attributed as follows: • The fire caused an estimated $5,000 in damage, according to Captain Dale Murphy. • According to John Woods, school principal, Jones has been asked to resign as school board president. • Police Chief Joe Robinson said that both students were charged with felonies.

  47. What to Attribute cont. • In contrast, information that is general knowledge doesn’t need attribution. In some cases, attribution would even be awkward: • The first snow of the season fell last night, according to reports from the weather service.

  48. Placing Attribution in Print • The following are some guidelines for using attribution most effectively in newspaper, magazine and yearbook stories. • 1. Attribution is placed after the quotation or the information given if the information is more interesting or prominent than the source. Most readers are interested in the potential of an asteroid’s hitting Earth, but few would recognize the name of the astronomer who observed the asteroid if it were used in this Washington Post quotation: • An asteroid about the size of a small school bus narrowly missed striking Earth Friday, a University of Arizona astronomer said.

  49. Placing Attribution in Print cont. • Teens all over the United States were quoted in a Parade article headlined “How Teens See Things.” Because most of Parade’s readers didn’t know the teens personally, what the teens had to say was more interesting than their names: • “My goal is definitely happiness,” says Eric Arsenault, 18, of Chesterfield, Mich. “What would give me that? I don’t know yet. But a lot of people in the 1980s made money and weren’t very happy. I want more. My main reason for seeking further education is self-enrichment.”

  50. Placing Attribution in Print cont. • 2. If the source or speaker is more important or will get the attention of more readers than will the information, the attribution is placed first. For example, everyone has a birthday every year, but the New York Times recognizes only a few: • Bill Clinton, the nation’s highest profile baby-boomer, is not going quietly into that sixth decade that he says signifies he “has more yesterdays than tomorrows.”