Reporting speech accurately and clearly is an essential journalistic skill. You must be able to handle both direct quotes and indirectly reported speech.
1 When you quote a person for the first time, introduce them before the quote:
John Smith, the leader of the council, said: ‘Of course, I refuse to resign.’
Because the quote is a complete sentence, it is introduced by a colon and starts with a capital letter; the full stop comes before the second quote mark.
2 Subject to house style you can use ‘says’ instead of ‘said’:
John Smith, the leader of the council, says: ‘I refuse to resign.’
3 Subject to house style you can use the short form ‘council leader’:
Council leader ...