The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
Arcana Corner: the pull-quote and online v dead-tree again
It's trite learning than form affects substance . But unlike, say, the arts, the technique of journalism is rarely the subject of discussions intended for a lay audience.
The false dogma of objectivity implies that the news media are plain glass through which the unvarnished truth is revealed to a grateful nation. This model would tend to suggest that technique was neutral, to the extent it existed at all.
(Objectivists would, I suspect, be happier to admit the existence of biased journalists - the few rotten apples - than that technique could affect meaning.)
From Campaign Desk, a couple of counter-examples:
First, a reminder of the fact  that, with the likes of the New York Times, the online and dead-tree versions of the news may differ. The NYT URL for an online, to-be-polished-later story includes the magic words CND, it seems (for Continuous News Desk.)
Second, a particularly bad example of the pull-quote
(also known variously as the billboard, or teaser, or blurb). Boxed off and printed in a larger font, the pull-quote is a typographical device that calls attention to a particularly biting passage in a piece, or highlights the underlying theme. It's standard practice to "pull" the passage verbatim from the article, and to put quote marks around it if it is in fact a direct quotation.
The pull-quote quoted - from a Wall Street Journal piece by John O'Neill 
I was on Mr. Kerry's boat in Vietnam. He doesn't deserve to be commander in chief..is nowhere to be found in the piece !
Pulled from somewhere rather different...
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