HOW DO YOU REPORT WHAT SOURCES SAY?
Test questions & PDF
Chapter 10 offers guidelines for quoting and paraphrasing what sources say. It also includes a primer on defamation.
Chapter 10 exercises in the textbook ask students to practice paraphrasing and quoting. They also ask students to apply the reading’s instruction on defamation.
The additional exercises in the Interactive Workbook continue this emphasis on quoting and paraphrasing, asking students to apply lessons about both form and content. There’s also an exercise asking students to articulate, in a short writing assignment, what libel is.
1. Assessing material to quote (Exercises W10-1 and W10-2 are related, but this activity asks student to also apply lessons in law and ethics as they select which parts of the quote they’d use, and then properly punctuate and format the resulting quote.)
Ask students to trim the following quotes to no more than three sentences and to make sure they conform to AP style. They should edit out material that is likely to be a legal or ethical issue. The attribution should be correct for the first reference to the source.
If you read the quotes to students, they can practice taking notes, but your inflections might signal where punctuation goes. If you project the quotes or print and copy them for students, they’ll have to correct the errors in style and punctuation that we’ve added.
a. Soccer player Amanda Carrasco says: “Oh my gosh, I am so, so happy that we won. This is my last year here, and so this means, so, so much to me. We were struggling there at the end, you know. But we never, and never would, say the game is over until the fat lady sings. The girls on the team pulled it out from deep down, integrated our training, our knowledge, and our passion to win. And we did! We’ll just see if the men’s team can keep up!”
b. Josh Patten, a campus professor of Music, says: “You’re asking my professional opinion about this latest release by a winner of a TV talent show but that’s so hard because what makes good television doesn’t necessarily make for good music although the judges on this particular show have given some pretty good advice but still they are well versed in what makes music sell. Not necessarily what makes music good. What I can say about this particular artist is that she has a very healthy range. Her delivery is admirable but the content of her latest download is disappointing, it’s beyond trashy and really could damage the minds of the teen girls who look up to her.”
c. In a story about the new concentration in the history major, a professor of history, Suzanne Richards-Samuel, said: “We offered our students the Global History Concentration because we’d heard for years from prior students how much they valued the global perspective that we offered in other courses; we are committed to broadening their horizons; also introducing students to the course of history beyond what they know of the here and now. Some other majors are just too focused, their students need to graduate with more breadth of knowledge than they do now.”
d. In a story about the possible investigation of a local restaurant by a state regulatory agency, a former member of the wait staff, Jimmy Wells, said: “It’s good that the owner is under investigation. When I worked there, he would alter my time sheets so that he didn’t have to pay me overtime, and on more than one occasion! Also, he hires undocumented workers and doesn’t even pay them the same amount he paid everyone else, like he knew they couldn’t complain. So, it’s good that the state keeps an eye on restaurants. It protects the workers.”
2. Selecting quotes
Link to a speech or news story with an interview, and have students take careful notes as they watch it. After the video,
a. Ask students to identify and write down one or two quotes that would be good for a news story.
b. Ask students to identify which quotes they selected and to articulate why they chose those quotes.
c. How strong are the quotes that students chose to include—are they particularly well-put, for example?
d. How accurately do the quotes reflect the gist of what was said in the video? Do they reflect the context accurately, or could they be misconstrued?
Then, look at the how the students actually wrote the quotes in order to see how many students got the quotes exactly right. If students misquoted, what did they miss or change?
Some ideas for videos to watch:
For this video of editor David Remnick talking about blogging, and this one by blogger Jeff Jarvis on journalism ethics, you could prompt students to select quotes for a story on whether blogging is really journalism, and what the cross-pollination is between them, if any.
In this video, media executive E.S. Isaac talks about the importance of listening. You could prompt students to select quotes for a story offering students tips for success.
Journalist Rebecca Hamilton talks here about the conditions in Sudan when she covered the 2011 elections. You could prompt students to select the quotes they’d include in a story about this talk.
Talk students through the scenarios below, asking them to apply the following five-prong test. Considering their answers to these questions, ask them to decide, as an editorial board, what their collective analysis leads them to recommend.
Is a person or a business identified or identifiable, by name or otherwise?
Has the potentially defamatory material been published—that is, available to a third party other than the reporter and the person(s) or business identified in the first prong of the test?
Is there anything that’s defamatory—or that raises a warning flag?
Is it clear that the reporter (and news organization) could prove that they followed standard operating procedures of the journalism profession? (Some states have different standards for how to determine fault with regard to private and public figures. Some states require all defamation plaintiffs to prove actual malice—as of this post, those states are Alaska, Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana and New Jersey, according to rcfp.org.
Is there any indication that the plaintiff could prove injury?
a. There’s a community transit system that anyone can ride for 50 cents. It shuttles people to and from campus, and its routes include nearby shopping and entertainment areas, as well as neighborhoods within three miles of campus. It runs from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, it runs from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. This is to encourage people to take the transit instead of driving after drinking.
As the city reviews its budget, the funding for the transit is on the chopping block. Your news organization decides to cover that story, and the reporter assigned to the story decides to ride the transit a few times to interview drivers and passengers. One of the patterns the reporter notices is that passengers report that a certain driver—the one who works the weekend late shift—is known for letting people ride for free if they say they don’t any money, but appear to be drunk.
The reporter writes the story including this information, attributed to one passenger.
b. The new student recreation center on campus has had its opening delayed because the subcontractors in charge of the indoor track, ACME, Inc., have not finished the job as described in its contract, according to the facilities manager in charge of the project, Liz Atencio. She says the track is unsafe for users because it is uneven, and therefore poses a tripping hazard to runners on the track. Atencio says that ACME has agreed to come back to make the needed corrections at no further cost to the school.
The recreation center should be open within six weeks, after a five-month delay, said Atencio’s assistant, Phil Stone.
The reporter writes the story including all of this information, attributed to the source that said it.