Monday, March 10, 2008

Off-the-Record

Posted by Teresa at 6:23 AM


In this segment from the show Tucker a British journalist and Carlson
quarrel about journalistic ethics and when to use "off-the-record." I
agree with the British journalist. The guidelines of the interview were
set before the interview, you can't change the rules mid-stream. If you
don't want something to be reported then you don't say it in front of a
reporter.

The Scotsman explained its decision:
"When is off the record actually off the record? When the rules are
established in advance.

Journalists are always looking for knowledge and want the information
they receive to be available for publication.

But occasionally an interviewer will accept an exchange is 'off the record
' and that the conversation is not attributable. Remarks can be used as
background to inform a journalist's article.

If a conversation is to be off the record, that agreement is usually thrashed
out before the interview begins. Sometimes, public figures say something
and then attempt to retract it by insisting it was 'off the record' after the
event.

But by then it is too late, particularly if it is in the public interest that the
story be published.

In this instance, Samantha Power was promoting her book and it was
established in advance that the interview was on the record."
To begin with I don't know why any journalist would accept an off-the-record
interview. Why do an interview that you can't attribute to someone?

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