Reporter's Digital How-To GET AN INSTANT QUOTE

Editor & Publisher, July 18, 1998 | Go to article overview

Reporter's Digital How-To GET AN INSTANT QUOTE


Find famous quotes at http://www.starlingtech.com/quotes

The use of famous quotations in news stories elicits different views from reporters and editors. Writers often believe clever quotes and quips dress up an otherwise pedestrian story Editors grumble that writers sometimes carelessly misattribute famous quotations, making the paper look foolish, and causing the city desk's telephone to ring.

Fortunately, both camps can now use a well-established famous quotation resource on the Internet. The site, called The Quotations Page, operated by Utah-based computer book author Michael Moncur, has dozens of uses in a busy newsroom. For instance:

* As you edit the publisher's weekly editorial page column, your red flag goes up when you see he has attributed the phrase "salad days" to the Bible. With the site, you verify your suspicion that it actually originates with Shakespeare.

* You're writing a story on history and politics and you can't remember who once wisecracked, "A conservative is a man who sits and thinks -- but mostly sits," You use the site to determine the speaker was Woodrow Wilson at the turn of the century

* You're working on a feature about witty ins tilts and quick comebacks and you use the Web to research remarks from the masters, from Woody Allen and Robert Benchley to Dorothy Parker, Gertrude Stein and Gore Vidal.

To get started, visit the site and click on "Quote Search." For a simple query, enter a word or phrase in the search box and select a resource for the search from the dropdown menu. Start with Moncur's own growing compilation of quotes, which he began collecting in 1985. Included in his 1,500quote list are famous old standbys by Mark Twain, Will Rogers and others. Also provided are some delightful lesser-known remarks. For instance, his page can give you great multipurpose quotes, such as the one from physicist Wolfgang Pauli. who once said of a colleague's work: "This isn't right. This isn't even wrong!" And then there's filmmaker Samuel Goldwyn's remark: "Let's have some new chiches!"

If you don't find what you're looking for in Moncur's database, click on his links to other quotation facilities, of which there are many, from a database of motivational quotes to the satirical Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce to more recent barbs from humorists Steven Wright, Jack Handey and Dave Barry For more detailed searching, click on the site's "Advanced Search" button. …

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Reporter's Digital How-To GET AN INSTANT QUOTE
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