Soldier surprises daughter with reunion at school

Students who are learning news writing for the first time sometimes overuse phrases like “so-and-so told reporters” or “when asked about X, so-and-so said…”

Readers only encounter those phrases in journalism, so when students are new to news writing, they tend to reach for these phrases (and similar ones such as using “this reporter” as a synonym for “I”) in order to signal their intent to write like a journalist.

But these phrases are only necessary in certain situations when leaving them out would either create the wrong impression, or make he quotes impossible to relate to the subject matter. Here, a little girl gives very brief answers to interview questions, so the reporter has to add more than the usual amount of context. Note that these are the only conditions when this article uses these signal phrases. A more talkative interview subject would probably have repeated part of the reporter’s question, or otherwise given the reporter a full sentence or two, a quote that would make sense on its own.

While her dad was away, Ruby told reporters, ″I was sad.″

Asked how she felt yesterday, she said, ″Happy!″ —Soldier surprises daughter with reunion at school.

Q: When is the right time for a journalist to use the phrase “this reporter”?
A: When you are a character in a movie made in the 1940s. (You might instead write, “Jones welcomes a visitor, offering home-made cookies,” or “Jones agreed to an interview with The Daily Record” or just “Nobody answered the door at the Jones residence on Friday afternoon.”)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *