Analysis: Attribution in a News Story
The Star Tribune article about Ron Paul's appearance at the U of M contains many attributions. The first is a fragmentary quote followed by "she said," (referencing Michelle Bachmann) which is inconspicuous next to a quoted exclamation in the same sentence from an unnamed upstart in the crowd. The signs, opinions and applause of the crowd actually get quite a bit of space in the Tribune story. The story quotes or paraphrases Ron Paul's ideas, mostly out of context. The article came across biased (against Paul), but perhaps it was simply reflecting the biases of the people who attended the town hall meeting. The article talks to several credible sources- it cites an official Bachmann spokeswoman and the president of an organization at the U. At the end of the article, U of M students who supported and opposed Paul registered quoted opinions. Many of the quotations are set up by a short sentence-long paragraph that acts as a description or qualifier. The quote then immediately starts in the next paragraph with the attribution in the form of so-and-so said. The quotes are easy to follow and lively if not authoritative. Perhaps the abundance of casual quotes from the crowd play to the article's audience: people who attended the meeting, likely.