“Said” is by far and away the most perfect and sacred word in all of Journalism.
According to the Associated Press, every print editor in the world, and all serious journalists, this is the only way one should indicate that a source has spoken. A true journalist would rather lose his recording device of choice than to ever write that a source has stated, proclaimed, inquired about, exclaimed, or questioned anything. They simply “said” it.
If rule number one in journalism is not to bury the lede, rule number two is to use the word “said” whenever humanly possible. The only true exception to this iron-clad rule is when a source says something so outrageous that the veracity of the statement is called into question. Under that circumstance, and that circumstance alone, a reporter may choose to use the word “claimed.”
This rule is particularly disturbing to English teachers who cannot wrap their minds around the simple, cut an dry prose of news journalism. It is also particularly difficult for English majors who somehow stumbled out of the coffee shop and found a job as a reporter. The only thing more annoying to these two types of people than the alleged over-use of the word “said” is the Associated Press’ stance on their beloved Oxford Comma. But that, is another entry, for another time.