Have you ever noticed that there are certain names in the newspaper day after day, industry "experts" whom reporters seem to constantly hit up for quotes? That journalists go back to the same well again and again is no surprise. Journalists are lazy. Why bother trying to squeeze a soundbite out of someone new when you have ten minutes to finish an article and there's already an eager pro who's given you his cell phone number and told you to call him day or night? Below, some of the most prolific quote-givers—who they are, the topics they're inevitably called to comment on, and how many times they got their "expert opinions" into newspapers for the first half of 2008.
A reporter wants to know how much an apartment in so-and-so building in such-and-such neighborhood will fetch on the current market? Real estate appraiser Jonathan Miller can guesstimate the price of any residential or commercial Manhattan property based on public property info, as long as you squeeze his name and firm (Miller Samuel) in the paper. His all-time most dubious quote: In 2005, he suggested that if Central Park were razed and turned into condos it would be worth at $528,783,552,000.
Has the MTA just hiked fares, announced service cuts, or done something else to screw over subway riders? You can bet your 30-day Metrocard a reporter will seek out—and get—an indignant reaction from Gene Russianoff, who heads up the Straphangers Campaign, which is part of the New York Public Interest Research Group.
When the state or city budget is spiraling out of control, political reporters know it's time to get a quote from E.J. McMahon, director of the Empire Center at conservative research group the Manhattan Institute. No matter what, you can count on McMahon to publicly chide the governor, the mayor, or some other state or city official for his fiscal mismanagement.
Are Starlet X and Heartthrob Y calling it quits? And is their divorce turning into an ugly trainwreck? Some journalist is bound to seek out a quote from Raoul Felder, the press-hungry divorce attorney who's always thrilled to see his name in the paper, regardless of whether it's the Post or the Queens Chronicle. The man knows what he's talking about, at least. He's orchestrated such awesomely acrimonious splits as Rudy Giuliani's divorce from Donna Hanover and Bryant Gumbel's divorce from June Gumbel.
Is Conde Nast gearing up for a high-profile launch? Did one of the 24 magazines devoted to knitting suddenly close its doors? Husni, the chair of the journalism department at the University of Mississippi can be counted on to weigh in. He's even trademarked his oft-mentioned moniker: "Mr. Magazine."