Still, there can be benefits for a journalist, including the ability to see journalists in an unmonitored environment. Do they know what they are talking about? Do they seem arrogant? The chat is confidential, but the impressions remain. Therefore, it was strange that two journalists – two very prominent journalists – disagreed on whether something was not recorded or not. The incident even made other journalists think about politics. It would be a reputation killer for the journalist and perhaps for the news organization for which the journalist works. The journalist would not receive any legal sanction, but of course he could lose a lot of professional contacts and access to important information. While these very circumstances — a sitting president recording a private meeting on a whim — are unusual, bickering over the terms of a particular conversation is a constant concern for many journalists. New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted: “For the uninitiated — and insiders who claim they don`t know because it`s a fun way to beat a reporter — off the-record is a deal. Don`t email with OTR – especially if you`re supposed to be in journalism! – and don`t wait for the journalist to agree. That is how it should work. A source should first ask a reporter if something can`t be recorded.

Then the journalist may agree or disagree. The source can then decide whether or not to share this information. Whenever you interview someone, whether on the phone or in person, your first step is to identify yourself as a journalist and give a general explanation of the story you`re trying to write. From this point on, it is assumed that everything the source says is in the recordings, unless otherwise stated. But the beginning of the conversation is the time for the journalist to negotiate the terms. Make it clear so that you both agree on how the information will be used and who will receive the credit. And whenever you feel that the agreement is dissolving, reconfirm to avoid any misunderstandings. After all, journalists are citizens and employees. “Press freedom” has been subject to extreme pressure and compromise in recent years, for example when it comes to accurately or critically reporting concerns about unprecedented and potentially alarming aspects of governments` response to the pandemic; or the interference of the security police in so-called democratic elections, the suppression of certain news, the falsification of fake news when it has finally turned out to be true. What “off-the-record” refuge can a journalist offer in this context? All that matters is the reputation of journalists or certain media outlets, many of which are already compromised. An “unofficial” conversation with a journalist may seem mysterious or complex, but in public relations, it is a very effective tool. Whether you`re providing open context on a frustrating trend in your industry or trying to mitigate the impact of an upcoming story on your business, informal interactions with journalists can benefit your brand, even if the impact can be indirect.

Informal discussions are not limited to politics or crisis management, although we often hear about them in this context. The New York Times published an introduction to the term after President Trump spoke of a secret meeting with publisher A.G. Sulzburger, breaking the deal. Beyond politics, however, such deals can be useful for commercial and technology PR and storytelling. But, as the Trump incident shows, the term is sometimes misunderstood or confused with other journalistic artistic terms such as “background” or “deep background.” Even if the rules are clear, it can backfire if done by the wrong people. Bottom line: Thompson`s reputation might take a hit with some for publishing something Rubin asked for, but he didn`t break any of the golden rules of journalism and Rubin should have known better than just believing that Thompson wouldn`t do what she sent him. If the police tell you “off the record” and even turn off the recorder – just don`t do it. They don`t have “off the record”.

Off-the-record: Nothing the source says during a discussion can be used in any way. “You can`t include that in your article,” Cunningham says. But that doesn`t mean you`ve wasted your time. “You can give it to other sources and see if you can pick it up elsewhere.” If you choose this route, you will never reveal your original source. “You can also go back to your unofficial source later in your reporting process and try to renegotiate things.” If no rules are established in advance, it is assumed that everything will be recorded: comments, eye rolls, life in all its majesty. Sometimes, after a particularly powerful flourish, a hammy politician says something like, “And you can quote me about it!” There`s no doubt about it, but it`s always fun to listen to. Together, the PR teams have negotiated hundreds of such conversations. Remember that an informal dialog box is not a simple transaction. It`s a delicate negotiation that requires experience to understand the nuances that lead to success. Your PR team has shared experiences that are absolutely crucial to getting the best results for your brand. (Assuming you have the appropriate PR team.) INTERVIEWER Off the record is an invaluable strategy. However, its execution can be complicated and involves navigating through several individual (journalist-specific) and cultural (industry) norms.

What do you think of the practice? What tips worked for you? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @chrisharihar. In the United States, there is no law protecting the privilege of journalistic sources. Most are professional standards and the punishment for violating is gaining a reputation for not trusting information or even being a burden to your publisher, and finding it difficult to advance in your career. Some publishers would also never print information obtained outside the file, but could use it to find information “on file”. The politicians who made a comment were not. (This was not the case.) Off-the-record: Ideally, terms are defined at the beginning. And since nothing of the conversation can be used for publication, journalists are ideally aware of the consequences of this agreement, if they agree with it: sources will have their own agendas and will try to shape future coverage to their liking. In journalism, interviewing someone “unofficially” means that the journalist cannot print quotes, even without mentioning the name of the source. President Trump has ignored fundamental diplomatic alliances.

He looked straight into a solar eclipse. His contempt for the “off” part of an unofficial meeting doesn`t seem to surprise anyone. This would mean that your unofficial source tells you to go to the warehouse at Pier 27 next Wednesday night and have a camera ready. You don`t need to print as you were asked to do if you post your story with photos of the mayor and godfather shaking hands while looking at bricks of cocaine and a suitcase full of piles of money. Sure, it would be nice to know that the mayor`s advisor may have suddenly become aware, but you have his safety that you need to keep an eye on. The head of a mafia family who has nothing left to lose is quite dangerous for people who upset him. Supplementary question: If the testimony is given in camera and no third party is present, does that make it inadmissible in court, like statements made to lawyers, spouses, doctors and clergy? Recorded: This is the simple – and strong preference of a journalist at all times. Speakers may be appointed to pronounce the words they have spoken. Enjoy it responsibly. Consider the nuance here. Journalism professor Roy Greenslade said: “A single `unofficial` quote is also qualitatively different from an `unassignable background briefing,` which usually involves a long and thoughtful statement from a source to a trusted reporter.” Length is important, and when sources provide too much information, things become fuzzy. “The difference between the record and non-registration is not as obvious as most people think,” warns Cunningham.

“Two people can have completely different ideas about the ground rules.” The rules of journalism are on his side. He`s right. He disagreed with Rubin`s unofficial request, so Rubin cannot claim that Thompson broke a promise to keep his comments private. Can`t the journalist just lie and say he never said it wasn`t recorded? In the recording: Everything in the conversation can be used and associated with your source by name and job title. “If there is reason to believe that this person is not aware of the media, you may want to explain that what they say may very well be quoted in a news story,” Cunningham says. “I often hear journalists who don`t clarify this and their sources end up feeling cheated.” The generally accepted rule is that enforcement should be done unexpectedly and in the background. So, for example, if George W. Bush says to you, “Let`s get out of the record here – I really made up all these things about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,” you can`t quote him.

But if he says, “I really made up all these things about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – wait, it was unofficial,” you have the right to use it.