Words They Never Say
Now, I'm not an aspiring journalist, so this may be a rather dumb, naïve question, but how did Stockton get such great quotes? Clearly she wouldn't print the boring ones, but, as someone who's written features before, sometimes there only are boring ones. "She's like an angel," "I'm just constantly amazed at what is accomplished," "She believes the kernel of good in each person will ultimately prevail." OK, the only way I would get one of those quotes would be to stand next to my interviewee, eagerly clutching my notebook and pen, and ask, "So, would you say she's like an angel?" or "Are you just constantly amazed at what is accomplished?" And, getting a slightly scared nod, I would scribble gleefully away.
Though, I suspect that's frowned upon.
Stockton showed one great quality of a journalist; the ability to find the right quotes to support your story. I think we can all agree that this profile wouldn't have been nearly as convincing if there were not snippets of verbal agreement sprinkled through it. Quotes make a profile believable. Let's face it, if we hear about a supposedly great person, our first reaction is usually doubt. Hearing that, no, really, other people think this person is amazing, too, helps strengthen the reporter's authority.