March 29, 2012 Quotes drive stories. Without quotes the story has no voice, it has no personality, and it has no connection to the subject or to the reader. However, it's important to know when to cover your bases with quotes. When to know if a person is appropriate to give a quote. Nate Levendoski came upon this issue during his article for the theme local last week.
Levendoski had to interview children for his article for the local-themed publication. Children, as Bill Crosby's show used to say, 'Say the darnest things.' Because of this, a journalist has to be aware, be controlled and know where their boundaries are. Every journalist has dealt with children and all have different approaches to quoting them. An important realization is that in quoting a child one needs to realize they are not legally adults. They cannot be held accountable for what they say or don't say and more importantly for every child there is a concerned parent.
Parents are the ones you have to deal with if you quote wrong. They are the ones that face you when you misconstrue a quote or when you use a quote out of context. Parents are the ones that will read the quotes, will read the article and judge your conduct based on that. Levendoski realized this and took action to relieve the parents of their concern.
Levendoski went to the teacher of the class he was observing and writing the article on. He asked the teacher if the man would be kind enough to send out a notification that there will be a journalist observing and recording conversations of the children within the class. If they have concerns or do not wish their children to be apart of the article to contact Mr. Johnson (the teacher) or Levendoski and ask to have their child exempt from it.
By doing this Levendoski covered his bases and respected the concerns any parent might have about him writing an article. It also allowed him to be more comfortable using quotes that he wished to in context to the article.
Matt Busch talks about the kids that made the experience of shooting his video memorable but were not featured within the actual video. His video is now published under this week's theme: Power.