Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Effective use of quote marks

I read this story out loud to Wade last night. It's that funny.

And when I read it, I was sure to alert the listener to the existence of quote marks wherever the writer had them. They made it even more comical, something I hadn't thought possible.

This isn't narrative journalism by any stretch of the imagination, but this is clearly a case of a reporter realizing the hilarity of the story and playing it up.

The lede is pretty straight. The fun starts at paragraph No. 4:

DeWeese had some quirky demands, said Manzo and two other former staffers, Kevin Sidella and Scott Brubaker: His state-paid driver had to show up with the state car recently waxed; aides withdrew his money from ATM machines because he didn't know how to use them; and he'd ask for "a small coffee in a big cup," or "a sandwich cut in four" pieces, they said.

"Bill is obsessive. He has to have everybody around him doing something. He will hand you a cup and say, 'Get me 12 M&M's' — ridiculous requests," Sidella testified in June 2008.

Requests for such things as a "small salad in a big bowl" were part of what Brubaker in December 2008 called the "daily nuttiness that he put his immediate staff through."
There's more (near the end), so click on the story and read it.

A reader on twitter remarks: "This Tribune-Review story makes Bill DeWeese seem like Michael Scott."