Friday, February 4, 2011

Editing attribution

I often disagree with the way some newspapers handle attribution. Take this sentence:

“It’s a case with a lot of these kids, they’re people you want no matter what; they’re the best you’re waiting on,” Tom Bradley, the Penn State defensive coordinator, said in a telephone interview.

I'd change the last part of that to this: ... said Tom Bradley, Penn State's defensive coordinator.

I don't think you need the fact that they did a telephone interview.

On the other hand, I might handle this one differently.

"This is the first I'm hearing about this," Tony Wyllie, Redskins senior vice president, said in a phone interview with Redskins beat reporter Jason Reid.

I might edit it to the Redskins' senior vice president, but I might leave the rest. You need to get Jason Reid in there. On the other hand, you could change the end of that sentence to team official Tony Wyllie said in a phone...

You could put Wyllie's title in the next paragraph. I hate complicated attribution.

Contact: I can be reached at or Also, my Twitter handle is EDITORatWORK.

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