WRITING:  INTERVIEWING & JOURNALISM                         September 7, 2017

An editor or a writer should maintain a consistent tense when writing a person’s quotes/comments—EITHER all present tense (Jones says) OR all past tense (Jones said).

An alternate word choice for “says” and “said” is okay occasionally, such as the following:

Jones explains that businesses . . .; In addition, Jones believes that . . . ; He adds that when . . .

Also, not all statements by an interviewee have to be within quotation marks.  Traditional journalistic writing alternates between quoting

(“Telecommunications and office furniture all have to work in harmony today,” says Jones, “or businesses are just throwing their money away.”)

and reporting (Jones explains that businesses often buy chairs and aren’t taught how to adjust them for ergonomic comfort.).

Decide which tense and quotation method will work best for you in each situation of your interviewing and writing, remember “Just the facts, ma’am” (no editorializing or dirty journalism!), and delight readers with your story.  You can do it!


Many lessons and bits of advice in this writing/grammar series have been taken from Writestyle’s online campus.


Vickie L. Weaver

Vickie L. Weaver

Owner at Writestyle
Writing has been an important talent and part of my life since I was a child.Professionally, after decades of employment for others, I founded Writestyle in 1996 to provide writing, editing, proofreading, training, and more to clients worldwide (www.writestyle.com).Clients often call my work “magic.”I have written and/or edited for “Coexistence Magazine” (national), for “Ohio Magazine,” and for various newspapers.In addition, I have edited or contributed to the writing of numerous books.Personally, I have written in various genres.I have always composed poetry; as such, I have won awards and publication for some of my poems, and I am compiling a book of my poetry.One of my children’s books is set for publication.With my second husband, family and friends in Ohio, I enjoy music and dance, aid charitable causes, and strive for beauty and harmony in life.
Vickie L. Weaver

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