I’ve just had my second major experience of giving an interview for a journalism student who, when the time came for an article to be written based on the interview, came up with a string of “quotations” (in quotation marks both because the student actually called them this, and because they don’t resemble anything I could imagine saying). This has happened to me twice and to other colleagues, and it has reached the point where I am considering refusing interviews with students from now on, or at least vetting their writing ability and understanding of the nature of quotations before giving the interview.
Is this a local issue at the place where I happen to teach? Or is the quality of writing, the understanding of quotations (i.e. that they are not paraphrases in quotation marks), and other such aspects of clear writing (which in journalism are essential) in decline nationwide? I’d appreciate any experiences and comments readers may wish to share.