Quotes are a necessary element of journalistic writing. They add life and character to your piece without compromising its accuracy.
In news writing, you will paraphrase most of what your source says to leave the liveliest content for full quotes and/or partial quotes.
- Strive to have a quote within the first quarter of your article to bring people and life into your piece. Use more as needed.
- Full quotes start a new paragraph.
- After the first sentence of the quote insert a comma before the ending quotation marks.
- Follow it with person said.
- If the quote has more sentences, place remainder of quote after said.
- Wrong: Zaldivar said, “I love UHD. It’s a great place to learn.”
- Right: “I love UHD,” Zaldivar said. “It’s a great place to learn.”
- Use ellipses to indicate a deletion. Opt to delete repetition within quotes. Ellipsis
are never needed at the start or end of a quote.
- Wrong 1: “Resources are here to hold you and they’re here to guide you.
- Right 1: “Resources are here to hold you and...guide you.”
- Wrong 2: “....keep learning....,” she said.
- Right 2: “Keep learning,” she said.
- Omit filler words from start of quote such as “I think” “I feel” “I just want to say
- Wrong: “I just want to say that UHD is a great place to learn.”
- Right: “UHD is a great place to learn.”
Write quotes as full quotes or partial quotes
Full quotes always start a new paragraph. Attribute the source of the quote after the first sentence of the quote. See example below and its breakdown of the guidelines.
“Twice a year, our campus comes together to promote health and wellness to our UHD Community,” Associate Director of UHD Sports & Fitness Rhonda Scherer told UHD news. “Creating and offering such opportunities is a cornerstone of what we do as a university for our students, faculty and staff.”
Partial quotes are made up of phrases or words.
Valentine’s Day “carries a romantic connotation” that makes “a lot of people uncomfortable and self-conscious.”
Always attribute quote
Quotes should be obtained from interviews, press conferences, statements, letters, press releases, social media, other media outlets etc.
You must follow a partial quote or full quote by a statement on how this quote was obtained. If you just say said, after the person’s first quote, you are implying that you obtained the quote yourself.
For example, let’s say that President Joe Biden said at a press conference broadcasted on TV that he loves America and you quote him for The Dateline.
The full quote should be attributed by saying that the quote was said at a press conference. See example below.
“I love America,” President Joe Biden said at a press conference.
Let’s use another scenario. The Student Government Associated posted a press release on their website announcing that the cafeteria will now serve free ice cream on Thursdays. For your story for The Dateline, you want to quote the SGA president’s comment on the cafeteria’s initiative.
Attributing by saying that you got it from the SGA press release. See example below.
“This effort took a lot of time, but I am ecstatic to know that UHD students will get to enjoy a free treat for their hard work,” SGA president said in a press release.
Dos and Don’ts
- Pick good quotes
- Always attribute your quotes by identifying the source and how the quote was obtained
- Use brackets for anything you change, add, or need to clarify
- Use quotes to convey simple facts
- Cite sources
- Change the meaning of the quote, make up words, or add irrelevant words