As promised, we're doing an all-question week here at Ask Allison. I do have a backlog, but if you guys have lingering questions that I never answer or that you never sent in, now's your chance - send 'em in, and I'll add them to the queue.
I read your travel insurance piece in COOKING LIGHT's FOB. 1.Could you post the query you sent for it? 2.When you have experts such as Jeff Greenberg and Pauline Frommer of the Frommer travel books family, do you ever quote from their books or do you always call or email them for a fresh quote?
Unfortunately, I don't have the query for this because I didn't query it: the editor came to me and asked if I'd be interested. If I were to have queried it, it probably would have read something much along the lines of the actual piece:
A la: During the holiday season, travel increases by X percentage (I'd put the real percentage in, but am too busy to look it up for this blog post), so how does someone know if trip insurance is worth it? For a cheapo fare or only for lavish expenses? For airfare or for the whole she-bang? And if someone does opt for it, how does he go about finding reputable insurance? This FOB would provide the answers to the above questions, explained by top experts in the field, such as Jeff Greenberg and Peggy Frommer.
To answer the second part of your question, in my opinion, it's always better to get fresh quotes from an expert. Some experts are so busy that yes, they'll send you a book and suggest that you paraphrase from it, which, you know, in a jam, will do, but it's not, in my mind, the best journalism or reporting. When possible, try to get the expert on the phone, and if that fails, via email. I think culling quotes from a book should be your last resort. That said, I've had to do it in the past, and I suppose as long as the information is properly interpreted and your editor/audience/expert are happy, no one is really harmed too much in doing so.
But what do you guys think? Feel free to disagree. This is a nebulous area, and I'm all ears!