WTH or WTF?

My colleague Bill Cloud has found another curious example of bracketed information spliced into a direct quote. The story is about Skip Caray, the Atlanta Braves broadcaster. Here’s a Caray quote as it appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

I was in intensive care for three weeks. I don’t remember any of it. I woke up one day, and all my kids were there and my wife, and my cardiologist. I woke up and said, ‘Where the hell am I and what are y’all doing here?’ I had no idea.

Here is the same quote as published in the sports section of The News & Observer:

I was in intensive care for three weeks. I don’t remember any of it. I woke up one day, and all my kids were there and my wife, and my cardiologist. I woke up and said, ‘Where the [heck] am I and what are y’all doing here?’ I had no idea.

As Cloud says: “When the quote appeared in The News & Observer, the ‘hell’ was replaced by a bracketed ‘[heck],’ leaving readers to wonder whether he said something much worse.”

Cloud and Bill Montgomery of the Houston Chronicle will lead a session at the ACES conference on working with quotes and the problems associated with inserting brackets into them. “[Eric] Clapton Is God” should be a good one.

Related post here.