Reporting speech–2 versions of a NY Times article

This is Margaret Soltan‘s turf, but what the hell: This morning’s NY Times has a brief article by Thayer Evans about a Richard Southall’s decision to move his sports-related institute from Memphis to UNC, because of the “nonacademic image” of Memphis basketball.

In both the print and online versions of the story, Evans ends with a quotation from a current Memphis player, defending his team’s honor.  Here’s the bit online:

The sophomore guard Willie Kemp said he disagreed with Southall’s comments about the perception of the university’s basketball team.

“I don’t think it’s fair because we’ve got a great group of athletes on that team,” Kemp said.

Not bad.  Not a direct refutation, but not bad.

Here’s how the final paragraphs appear in the paper delivered to my house this morning:

The sophomore guard Willie Kemp said he disagreed with Southall’s comments about the perception of the university’s basketball team.

“That’s how he feel,” Kemp said.  “He a man.  When you think of Memphis, you think of the basketball team because we’re doing so well.  We have a great program.  Like 12 of the last 13 seniors done graduated.  I don’t think there’s really a big problem right there.”

What’s interesting about this version is that it’s simultaneously a more direct response to Richard Southall’s criticism *and* slightly self-damning in its presentation.  You can see why Evans ended with it–though I had always thought reporters tended to clean up off-the-cuff speech.

It’d be interesting to hear the rationale for the change, and what drove it–a complaint?  second thoughts about exposing the quick-hit thoughts of a college sophomore?

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