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Off the Record
Off the record

The phrase has several related but distinct meanings. People who choose to be confidential sources for journalists should firmly and quickly establish what meaning applies, when offering information.

The source may in insisting that his/her contact with the journalist remains a secret:

  • be content for the information provided to be published, provided there is no attribution to identify the source (i.e. the information can be used but is non-attributable); or
  • be content for the information provided to be published, provided there is no attribution to identify him/her as the source, and provided the journalist is able to get someone else to confirm the information and to be the attributable source (i.e. the original source is providing a tip-off); or
  • not want the ...

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