A Real Reporter Never Quotes a News Release

The Journal’s deputy editor in chief explains:

“We sometimes fall into a bad habit of quoting extensively and unnecessarily from news releases. In certain instances, particularly the first seconds of a breaking story when sometimes a release is all you have and we need to get something on wires and online fast, it’s understandable, even necessary. But as we quickly transition to fill out a story for wires and other platforms, we should go well beyond news releases as quickly as possible to reported analysis. Releases should then be quoted sparingly, if at all. They usually make stories longer, but not clearer. Most material in a news release, in most cases, can be paraphrased more understandably, and more quickly, in plainer English, by a good writer. News-release quotes, especially, are crafted sentences that bear little relationship to actual statements by actual beings; we should strive for fresh, original and engaging quotations.”

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