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2011/12/14

Verbose 11 year old? Quotable kid

On page 2 of Monday Dec. 12 edition of The Gallup Independent there is a story about an 11 year old student who decided to help with the Gallup Police Department's "comfort bear" program.  Nice story and a positive thing for the community.

BUT. . .

I have to wonder about the writing and editing process.  The last paragraph of the first column reads as follows:
"We conducted the drive for three weeks in late November," she said. "Students, teachers and members of the community participated."

Really?  That is a direct quote?  An 11-year-old actually said "we conducted  the drive..."  And then continued with "members of the community participated".   What 11-year-old talks like that?  I believe the quote was either "cleaned up" by an editor - or more likely, fabricated to get the information into the story.  And how can you have three weeks at the end of November? 

In the high school journalism class I teach we do a whole unit on the differences between a direct and an indirect quote (also called paraphrasing).  You never alter the contents of a direct quote.  It is one of the rules of journalism - accuracy matters. 


One other writing question from page one.  The story is about another election in Zuni.  In the lede the author writes "...the Pueblo of Zuni will go back to the polls Tuesday...."  What's wrong with that?  How does a Pueblo do anything?  Wouldn't it be correct to say that the PEOPLE of the Pueblo of Zuni?

Words have meaning.
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