Thursday, December 16, 2010

How not to quote

Mahesh Vijapurkar has a valid point to educate the news writers:

A report in the Times of India had the following to say in its editions of December 16, 2010:
"Leaders said that only "visible remedial measure" against the Union minister for heavy industries could check the political damage to Congress in the region infested with farmers' suicides."
It has a quote attribute to leaders, in the plural.
Did more than one person say the same thing in very much the same way, using the same set of words in the exact sequence to convey the same shade of opinion? Unlikely. They may have said it in different ways that boiled down to the quote.  But to scribe it to leaders is not advisable for it misleads. The same could have been said without the inverted commas, for inverted commas are used when the precise words of another and not the reporter are carried in a copy.
A quote is use when:
  • Someone important says something important, not the reporter;
  • Something which the reporter would not himself like to say because it reflects an opinon; and
  • Something unusual has been said in a quaint way.
The entire story could be seen using the following link: