And the year begins: The dreaded ‘Freshman Quote’

Back in the stone-age times that were my undergraduate career we feared nothing more than being tagged for employing a freshman quote.

That is what the editorial staff and adviser called it when a writer repeated verbiage from a transitional paragraph to a quote.

Anderson enjoys fishing in his spare time.

“I enjoy fishing in my spare time,” Anderson said.

Here is one from an article in one of Missouri’s  best college papers (I am not calling them out publicly) that drew a face slap from me because the online version had the duplicated phrase almost physically one on top of the other. Here it is:

As of the first day of the fall term, Director of Housing and Residential Life John Buck said Webster University had maximized every bed on-campus to house the incoming freshmen class.

“We’re housing more people on this campus than we ever have. We’ve maximized every bed space,” Buck said. “We had a number of late-applying new freshman and late-applying new transfers that were from out of state… so we had to scramble.”

How do you fix this? You either paraphrase or change the quote’s set-up. Try something like this:

As of the first day of the fall term, Director of Housing and Residential Life John Buck said Webster University faced a challenge in fitting in everyone.

“We’re housing more people on this campus than we ever have. We’ve maximized every bed space,” Buck said. “We had a number of late-applying new freshman and late-applying new transfers that were from out of state… so we had to scramble.”

Don’t be a hater. That’s just off the top of my head, but you see the point, I hope. Redundancy does nothing for your reader, is lazy writing and invites trash talking from your newsroom buddies.
Quote freshmen. Don’t Freshman Quote.

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