Five years ago tomorrow, this blog was born. First post:

You can quote me

A brief review on how to write out quotes, which seem to be a little troublesome.

“The time has come,” he said.

That’s a sentence. Starts with a big letter and ends with a dot. It takes a comma to separate the quote from the quoted. The quotation marks enclose the exact words that were spoken. Punctuation goes inside the quotation mark.

“This is the end of the world as we know it,” he said. “The signs are all there and there is no doubt in my mind.”

Two sentences here: the first one has the attribution. Because it’s a complete sentence, it ends with a period, even though the quote continues. If the two parts of the quote were a single sentence, “he said” would be followed by a comma.

“This is the end of the world as we know it,” he said. “The signs are all there and there is no doubt in my mind.

“We need to change the way we do things.”

When a quote carries on into a new graf, you don’t close the quotes in the first graf, but you do use opening quotation marks at the start of the second so the reader is cued that the quote continues. And there’s no need to attribute the second graf with “he added” or anything of the sort.

What it was about then, in those first fumbling days, was extending the classroom a little. Expanding on some stuff that seemed to be giving students problems. (Unchanged times: quotes still a problem.)

What it’s been since then: hodgepodge. Some student advice while the conceit that my students read it lived. Expanding into links to interesting stuff. Some longer posts of the thinking-outloud sort. Rants. Raves. Ramblings. A messy mind at work, plumbing the growing blogopshere and attempting to come to some understanding of what was a suddenly evolving-out-of-control world of media.

(Random fact: In five years I have indirectly earned $200 in speaking fees from this blog.)

Squibs were born, because I was linking to a lot in short, separate posts, which didn’t make sense. Squibs because of my belief in three powerful forces: the link, aggregation and sharing. That trio disrupts everything.

The focus has wandered and strayed, reactive to the larger conversations, proactive to what I’m teaching and, therefore, learning. The constant: a firm belief in and excitement about journalism and its future. (Some of the my students: You’re the only instructor ragingly optimistic about the future of journalism. Me: Separate media and journalism in your heads when they talk like that.)

Along the way, some liked some of what I did. Others, not so much, but the snipers were rare. Most thankful for: those who found some value here and, more importantly, those who corrected, argued and taught me.

Five years later. Time’s always and still a factor. When I have no time for longer pieces, squibs carry the weight. When I have no time for squibs, the blog goes silent. But I still play a small role in a continuing conversation about journalism. I dig that.

I’m celebrating my small role in a small way, and pondering: where next? what next?

We’ll see. Meanwhile, thanks for five years of reading.

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