Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Book quotes

Nov 28: added a few more
  • The Elements of Editing
    by Arthur Plotnick
    p. 31:

    [addressing a class of writers]
    Communication...is your reason for being - not nourishment of ego, not praise of colleagues, not money, not love of generations to come. You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what's burning inside you -
    And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.
  • Stalking the Feature Story
    by William Ruehlmann
    p. 73:

    Writers who recount events sometimes need reminding that they are historians, not autobiographers.
    p. 121:

    Remember: writing an effective story is like facing a mean drunk twice your size. You'd better get in the first punch, and it had better be a damned good one...

  • The Craft of Interviewing
    by John Brady
    p. 89:

    If [the interviewer] fails to ask tough questions when he must, then he is risking the fate of many smalltown journalists who serve as news clerks rather than as newsmen.
    p. 119:

    "what do I think about beauty pageants?" Clark said. "I think they're ************. And besides, ************************."

    Startled, I said, "But you're the master of ceremonies."

    "**********," Clark explained. ... "Of course, everything I say is off the record."

    "Of course", I said.

    [on "jugular journalism"]
    But there have been slip-ups, too, in some reporters' search for wrongdoing. Rush jobs. "the point is to make your case, says Clark Mollenhoff of the Des Moines Register. "Getting evidence that's admissible in court is what it's all about...every time you neglect that, you cut into your credibility."...
    Motto: Verify before you vilify.
    p. 200:

    We speak in fits; we plague our sentences with grade-school interjections, grammatical wreckage, aborted half-thoughts. To commit a man's inconstant speech to permanent print without allowing him to tidy up his syntax is cruel punishment; it is like shoving him before the TV cameras before he can get out of his pajamas.
    p. 208:

    The following interview [by Smith, in dressing room of a beaten boxer] ensued:

    [Q:] "Did he hit you hard?"
    "Holy Jesus!"

    [Q:] "Do you want to fight him again?"
    "Holy Jesus!"

    [Q:] "Do you think you could lick him if you fought him again?"
    "Holy Jesus!"

    [Q:] "Does your head hurt?"
    "Holy Jesus!"

    [Q:] "Do you think Baer can lick Schmeling?"
    "Holy Jesus!"

    ..."I was well satisfied," reflected Smith. "It was one of the most revealing interviews I had ever had. I was quite astonished, however, to read [other reports]...One of them quoted Carnera as having said:

    "Max's blows were very hard. He hurt me several times - I'll have to admit that. But I sincerely believe that I could defeat him and I would like to have another chance. I want to regain the championship."

    p. 213:

    "[Logan Pearsall Smith?] once said that the true test of a person's love for his vocation was his capacity to tolerate the drudgery it involved."

  • The Reader over Your Shoulder (a handbook for writers of english prose)
    2nd ed., by Graves and Hodge
    p. 151:

    ...the worst is that the reader feels himself written at, not written for

  • The Writer's Guide to Conducting Interviews
    by Michael Schumacher
    p. 85:

    Archival interviews and oral histories are unique because they are intended to be lasting statements. Newspaper and magazine articles have limited shelf lives, but archival interviews and oral histories are intended to be "position statements" that could last for many years. Under these circumstances, and interviewee may rightfully expect to see the words as exact as he or she intends them to be.

    ...as [Jay] Rosen noted parenthetically, "What bloggers call their archive, newspaper journalists call the morgue." This continuity and forced memory is something traditional journalists avoid. As we always said at the newspaper, "No matter how bad we screw things up tonight, we start with a blank slate tomorrow."
    not any more.

No comments: