I am reading this 2016 article: EI benefits (The Globe and Mail)

The article is written by the reporter R. Younglai. In an academic paper, I am talking about a specific theory/concept which is mentioned in a number of sources, including the Globe and Mail article.

In the article, R. Younglai quotes a university professor

... blah blah ... "It is sort of ironic. When a big negative shock comes, the unemployment system is not generous enough. When the economy starts improving and the unemployment rate starts going down, it is too generous," said Miles Corak, an economics professor with the University of Ottawa.

In my paper, I am discussing this concept. Who should I cite - the reporter or the professor who gave the quote?

Here is my sentence with the in-text citation:

... blah blah blah concept ... (John 2013; Jack 2015; XXX 2016).

Should I cite as (Corak 2016) or (Younglai 2016)?

Note that I don't want to write "According to the report by Younglai (2016), Miles Corak said ..." because there are many other sources in the same citation parenthesis.

I am following the Chicago Author-Date style. I can't find anything related to this in the guide.

  • If that newspaper article was a genuine piece of reportage, you wouldn´t mention the journalists name, just the fact, and the issue and page number. In oldschool newspapers, there is no name under such articles, but they only carry the initials of the reporter.
    – Karl
    Apr 6, 2020 at 20:41
  • @Karl I see. It is one of the leading newspapers in the country.
    – RoundHouse
    Apr 6, 2020 at 20:45
  • 1
    The oldschool way was to only give the full name under a piece of commentary or opinion. Today, many journalists are men on a mission, who never just "report".
    – Karl
    Apr 6, 2020 at 20:52
  • @Karl: Yes. What I've seen in situations like this is something like "(Person), quoted in (newspaper name), date", possibly page number or article title. No mention of journalist's name.
    – jamesqf
    Apr 6, 2020 at 23:48
  • 1
    @jamesqf How will you then enter that reference in the bibliography? If I use "According to The Globe and Mail (2016) ..." then I have to use that very newspaper name in the bibliography reference list. But that will be a problem as the name of the author is given - that is the journalist. CMoS says when the name of the author is available, use that and not the name of the organization.
    – RoundHouse
    Apr 7, 2020 at 0:12

5 Answers 5


Since you did not interview Corak and have no firsthand information on what he actually said, you must cite Younglai.

If you had access to a reliable transcript of the interview, and verified there that Corak said what Younglai claims he said, then you can cite Corak.

  • I see. I was hoping it was the other way round. I don't know if the reporter is at all credible. I wanted to cite the professor who is well known in this field.
    – RoundHouse
    Apr 6, 2020 at 8:41
  • 7
    @AIQ you could confirm it with Corak then, e.g. by emailing him.
    – Allure
    Apr 6, 2020 at 8:42
  • That sounds like a great idea. Thanks very much.
    – RoundHouse
    Apr 6, 2020 at 8:44
  • 32
    @AIQ - Seems like if you didn't feel the reporter was credible, you ought to be much less inclined to ascribe those words to the interviewee, not more.
    – T.E.D.
    Apr 6, 2020 at 17:52
  • 6
    @T.E.D. By "credible" I meant to say that I am not sure if the reporter has extensive experience or knowledgeable in that specific subject/field (the professor on the other hand has for sure). I don't doubt their ability as a reporter. A journalist who spent 10 years reporting on say income support would know more about it than someone who spent 6 months on it. But both can be equally good journalists. I may have used the wrong word.
    – RoundHouse
    Apr 6, 2020 at 19:29

To add to Allure's suggestion, I think it would be most appropriate to make a slightly longer citation like

According to (Corak, reported in Younglai 2016)

You stated that you didn't want to include both names, but I think it is more helpful to the reader that way. Additionally, the above citation tries to be not too wordy (compared to yours), as it is just a footnote inside the parentheses rather than disrupting the flow of text.

The ideal, of course, would be that you find a paper originally published by Corak or some other academic that identifies this phenomenon (the "theory/concept" you mention), but you may not have the time to do a detailed dig through the literature.

  • 3
    Thanks for the great advice. Just to clarify that as per CMoS, it would be "According to Corak, as reported in Younglai (2016), ..." I am going to use your suggestion.
    – RoundHouse
    Apr 6, 2020 at 21:11
  • 1
    @AIQ Thanks for the correction -- I guess my answer doesn't cover the specifics of Chicago style. That sounds like a good approach. Apr 6, 2020 at 23:57

If you absolutely must reference this, @6005's solution seems like the best approach. However, I suggest that you find a better source instead.

The major purpose of citations is to direct the skeptical or curious reader to sources supporting an argument. Referencing a newspaper article where someone restates the idea doesn't serve that aim. The other major purpose is to assign credit. This quote may just reflect a idea in the field, rather than Dr. Corak's innovation. Both of these goals are better served by citing better sources from the relevant literature. However, you can (and should!) do some digging to see if Dr. Corak has written anything relevant.

On the other hand, there a few situations where you might want to cite this instead. A major one would be to demonstrate popular support for—or at least interest in—the idea being discussed. In this case, the newspaper article is more relevant, though you might want to namecheck both, using the "reported in" or "quoting" formulation in the other answers.

  • Matt, this is a great answer. Thanks for the suggestions. I have checked to see if Dr. Corak has done any work on the employment insurance program - he has. And I have cited his other works. But that statement in news article is interesting and very specific (on which not a lot has been said) and so I wanted to cite that. I have cited other sources on the idea/concept (you can see that in my question - John/Jack). And yes you are right - what I intended to do was what you say in your third paragraph. I wasn't able to state this in my question. Thanks!
    – RoundHouse
    Apr 6, 2020 at 20:25
  • 1
    I'd still feel a little weird mixing them together. Maybe something like "has been discussed extensively in the economic literature (Jack, 2014; John 2018) and more recently in the popular media (Younglai, 2016)" would work?
    – Matt
    Apr 6, 2020 at 21:55

The basic issue here is that you don't cite people, you cite sources. There is only one source involved - the Globe and Mail article - so that is what you cite.

However, whenever you attribute something to a source you should give any necessary context, which in this case is that Younglai is quoting Corak rather than giving his own opinion. 6005's suggestion seems like a reasonable way to do this.


There are already some good answers, which so far say to quote the interviewer.

I would just like to mention that in situations when you're not sure whether to cite A or B, you may also consider citing both of them.

A similar situation comes up when there's original work in "A", that has then been summarized in neat way in a "review article" which I will call "B". You might like to cite a summary table that was made in "B" (which means you have to cite "B"), but you should also give credit to the original source (in this example I called it "A"). This ensures that both "A" and "B" get credit acknowledged in citation metrics by Google Scholar and such (this may or may not matter, but it's never a bad idea to at least take it into consideration). In the case of an oral interview, a citation that is recorded in something like Google Scholar might not be so relevant right now, but maybe it will in the future (there was a time when citations to arXiv articles did not matter at all, but now with Google scholar they do matter), so it's not a bad idea to consider adding the citation.

When in doubt, I tend towards including borderline cases in my citation list, rather than making someone angry for not citing them.

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