Selective quoting

Charlotte Goddard
Friday, January 8, 2010

 It's long been a practice in film marketing to extract the positive sounding bits from otherwise dire reviews of films to slap onto the marketing material, so "a breathtaking piece of stupidity" will become "Breathtaking"!"

The DCSF seems to be doing similar things with its own marketing blurb, aka press releases. YoungMinds has issued a comment from chief exec Sarah Brennan about the government's response to the (2008) review of child and adolescent mental health services, issued yesterday. It says (read it in full at the YoungMinds site) that while the charity welcomes the response, it "is disappointing that we have had to wait over a year for this response, whereas others similar government reports such as the Bradley review were responded too immediately." It also says its pleased about the positivity and confidence about practice already happening but "these projects are short term, with funding ending in March 2011 and without a commitment from government to ensure their continuation, services are at risk of going backwards and the Cinderella services of CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health services) returning.  We often hear from children and young people using mental health services and that they aren't getting the support they need. "

The DCSF press release also features a quote from Young Minds. This says:  "We welcome the government's response and its recognition that investing in children and young people's mental health is an investment in the future, saving millions to social services, the criminal justice system, and the NHS. It also provides the children's workforce with a much needed document bringing together all the complex policies and initiatives into a single place."

I suppose its unlikely the DCSF would include the negative bits of the quote in its press release. And obviously any writer, including journalists, can't use a full quote in a story without turnign off readers because of the length. But its a masterclass in why journalists need to get their own comments from organisations and not rely on government releases, which in these days of  "get the story out first" is very easy to do.