Content Standards: Sourcing for rumors, direct quotes and paraphrases
Second of a 10-part series explaining Bleacher Report’s Content Standards in depth.
Even if you’re not reporting the news hot off the presses, it is required journalistic practice to give credit to anything obtained from fellow writers.
After all, if someone were using your article for information, wouldn’t you want to see your hard work credited?
Let’s focus on three items writers almost always use in articles: rumors, direct quotes and paraphrases.
All rumors need to be cited and linked to the original source whenever possible. Furthermore, the rumor needs to be from a credible source. If you’re not sure what constitutes a credible source, read this B/R blog post.
According to Alan Nixon of The Daily Mirror, Manchester City covets Gareth Bale and is willing to offer the Tottenham midfielder over £100,000 per week.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that Josh Smith will not play in Game 3 of the Hawks’ first-round series against Boston.
Rumors vs. Speculation
Rumors are reports from credible sources that have yet to be officially confirmed. Speculations are personal opinions. Check this B/R blog post for more details on the differences between the two.
It is imperative to clearly distinguish rumor from speculation in your headline (and article text) to avoid misleading your readers. If it’s a rumor, call it a rumor. If it’s not a rumor and you call it one, you lose credibility.
If you are referencing a direct quote you did not gather personally, you need to source your material with a link and a citation. They can come in numerous structural formats.
According to David Waldstein of The New York Times, Mariano Rivera says he will return in 2013. “I’m coming back,” Rivera said. “I’m not going down like this.”
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is already drawing rave reviews from his coaches and teammates. Via The Indianapolis Star:
“He’s unflappable,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “He’s a natural leader.”
First-Hand Direct Quotes
If you get direct quotes first-hand, no link is necessary. However, it must be abundantly clear in your submission that the quotes were first-hand. You can either clearly mark this access within the article text or put this line at the end of your submission:
[Name] is a [Writer ranking] for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand via [method].
Specific paraphrases (in other words, paraphrasing someone in particular as opposed to just citing general sentiment) still need to be hyperlinked to their original sources. While you may think something is common knowledge, it’s still professional courtesy to give credit where it’s due.
If you’re reporting paraphrases that reference breaking news, rumors or exclusive content (a writer’s personal opinion, a one-on-one interview, specific statistical analysis, etc.), you need a hyperlink and citation, like below. In all other cases, a hyperlink is just fine.
According to Reeves Wiedeman of The New Yorker, Mike Tyson mentioned how important pigeon-breeding is to his mental well-being.
According to Alex Raskin of nj.com, New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson will start Mike Bibby tomorrow night. Woodson did not sound optimistic about Jeremy Lin’s chances of returning in time for the do-or-die Game 5.
You may decide to use information you see on TV, read in print or hear on the radio. If that information cannot be found online, you obviously won’t be able to provide a link. However, a specific citation remains a must to properly source your content.
In an interview that aired on YES Network prior to Friday’s Yankees-Royals game, Joe Girardi was coy about who would replace Mariano Rivera in the closer’s role, refusing to give a definite name just yet.
If you weren’t there, and you want to quote or paraphrase something that was said, it’s OK to do so as long as you cite and link a media outlet that attended the press conference.
Before the trade deadline, Kobe Bryant seemed angry with the Lakers front office. According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles, Kobe said the Lakers needed to either trade Pau Gasol or put an end to the trade rumors quickly.
World-famous quotes that nearly every sports fan can cite off the top of his or her head (“I’m taking my talents to South Beach”), citing general sentiment (“Yankees fans weren’t sad to see A.J. Burnett leave town for Pittsburgh”) or discussing rumors in non-detailed, general terms (“Pau Gasol has been involved in trade rumors this season”) do not need sourcing.
Before you publish, always make sure the outside work you include in your submission is properly credited and linked.