Friday, July 24, 2009

VERITAS TD&F: TOUCHDOWN - THE KILLER QUOTE

In our Veritas Media Coaching sessions, we always talk about the often elusive “killer quote:” the art of nailing your point in a way that is so eloquent, so clever, so irresistible to reporters that they can’t possibly help themselves from featuring it in their stories. There was a great example of exactly that in a column this week by Globe & Mail’s Margaret Wente. At issue is the impending ban in Ontario on the use of hand-held cell phones while driving – something Wente says led to a far-too-close call for her once. But she says evidence shows that hands-free cell phones are just as much of a safety hazard when used behind the wheel, and quotes cognitive psychologist David Strayer as follows: “It’s not that your hands aren’t on the wheel, it’s that your mind is not on the road.” Oooooh. Read it again. Just as good the second time around, isn’t it? That my friends is, as a long-time “newspaper man” pal likes to put it, a “ready to eat” quote. Reporters just can’t help but find a way to use something that good – and copy editors sometimes make headlines out of them. Give some thought to your message. Play around with it. And, if you’re lucky, you’ll hit upon a way of conveying it that ties the whole thing up in a bow. Touchdown!

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