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Media release quotation marks part ii

Last week I wrote about a media release not using quotation marks correctly. Unfortunately, I have just read another release from the same PR company (written for one of their clients) and they have actually misused quotation marks again – breaking different rules!

Samples of the release (identifying features adjusted for the sake of their client):

“We’re fine tuning the offer for them.” XYZ managing director Fred Nerk said.

“There’s lots of ducks that need to be lined up in terms of how the groups support the plans”.

“Now they’ve thought ‘hang on, we need to provide for this”.

The rules they don’t know are therefore…

  1. while what the person is saying may be at an end, a full stop is not used at the end of speech if it is followed by details for the speaker. Apart from anything else, they have created XYZ managing director Fred Nerk said.as a stand alone sentence which is incomplete. A correct example is ‘I am working on it now,’said Mary.
  2. punctuation goes inside the quotation marks, except if the punctuation is part of the surrounding sentence rather than part of the quoted material
  3. if a speech includes a quote, two full sets of quotation marks are required, and generally the second set will be different to the first (i.e. if one quotation mark is used, the inner set will have double quotation marks). So a correct example is “I spoke to the officer in charge who said ‘this is a major catastrophe,'” said the reporter

If we add in the incorrect spelling of the client name (yes, really!), typos and words like ‘throught’, this media release is a very poor return for the client’s money. To me it shows an absolute lack of respect to their client and is unprofessional.

Media outlets will often use a media release as the basis of any reports and they obviously don’t expect to have to spend time correcting silly errors like this. If they have two equally promising stories to run, the better presented media release is likely to win so I would be very cross if a PR company sent out a release about me in that state.

Would you expect a PR company to get the writing elements right, or would you be comfortable checking it for errors yourself?

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