Quotations and Dialogue

Q. On a brochure for high school students a quotation praises the info on a career-search website. The source is “High school student.” My coworker says the name of the student and his school must be identified. May quotations be manufactured for marketing material? Or must quotations be attributed to real people? I say student privacy is a concern.

A. Quotations may be manufactured for marketing material, as long as they are identified as fictional. You see this on TV when the small type says “Dramatization”—which means “We’re making this up.” You have probably also seen quotations attributed to speakers whose surnames were omitted (Sarah O., Springfield Community High), or where the small type said “Names have been changed for the sake of privacy.” An attorney who specializes in privacy issues can help. Putting “Fictional high school student” after your quotes would make your brochure look pretty lame.