Attribution

Always attribute opinion, comment or claims. Only facts should be presented without attribution:

Opposition leader Jo Jogger said the state government was to blame for an outbreak of shin splints. (Claim)

Twenty people have been admitted to hospital today with shin splint injuries. (Fact)

Mr Jogger said it was the state government’s fault for not providing free Reeboks to athletes. (Claim)

When attributing a quote to a source, journalists are sometimes tempted to use verbs other than “said” or “says” to add variety to their stories, such as “alleged”, “claimed”, “declared”, “exclaimed”, “hinted”, “pointed out”, “slammed” and “stated” etc..

But “said” and “says” are neutral, objective verbs suitable for every news story. Other verbs of utterance carry nuances of meaning that may make them inappropriate for news stories.

Learn to love “said” and “says”.

Attributions are punctuated in two ways, depending on their form. When a position is used as a prefix, do not use a comma before and after the name:

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said …

When the position is preceded by an article, such as “the”, use commas around the name:

The Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Turnbull, said …

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