Good quotes can bring a story alive. They substantiate information your presenting, add emotion, drama, and interest to your story. Boring quotes, on the other hand, repeat what was already said -adding nothing -and bog down your story. To decide whether or not to use a direct quote ask yourself the following questions:
Is it stated in an interesting way or provide information that should be heard directly from the source?
Does it reveal the source’s opinions or feelings?
Does it back up the lead or a supporting point in your story?
Is the quote very descriptive or dramatic?
Does it express a strong reaction from a source?
If the answer to all of these questions is no, then it would be better to paraphrase or summarize the information presented in the quote (or not use it at all). Avoid Quotes That:
are not clearly worded.
are factual and indisputable.
repeat what’s already been said.
don’t relate to the focus of your story.
With that said, your story is built on quotes and observation (good reporting).
Your opinion should not be apparent in the story. Your sources tell what they think, not you. ALL of the statements in your story should be attributed.
Exceptions to this are:
Firsthand information: facts that you observed or gathered on your own
Common Knowledge: facts that are well known and non-controversial
Information already available from a large number of sources
Examples and more guidelines from The Radical Write by Bobby Hawthorne: “Good Journalism thrives on good quotations. The right quotes, carefully selected and presented, enliven and humanize a story and help make it clear, credible, immediate and dramatic.” – Paula LaRocque