"I made that statement off-the-record, but somehow it found
its way onto the 6:00 news." This is one of the biggest fears
people have when dealing with reporters.
The easiest way to solve this problem is by never going off-the-record.
From a reporter's standpoint, anything you say is fair game.
However, many media-savvy people use off-the-record as a tool to
enhance their relationship and credibility with the news media.
It's important to know the rules, because no mattter how media-savvy
you are, the reporter always has the upper hand when you make an
Have you ever done a television interview and thought it was over
when the camera was turned off? Did you assume that whatever you
said after that is off-the-record? It just doesn't work that way.
In fact, I know some reporters who get their best quotes that way.
the reporter always has the upper hand when you make an off-the-record
Rule No. 1 - The camera is never off, even after the interview.
Have you ever said something to a reporter that you immediately
regretted and then said, "By the way, that was off-the-record."
Rule No. 2 - An attempt to go off-the-record after you've
made the statement usually doesn't work.
Have you ever said, "This is off-the-record" before you
made a statement, but never made clear when you were back on-the-record?
This can confuse the reporter and cause some embarassing public
Rule No. 3 - Make it clear wehen you are back on the record.
Have you ever really asked a reporter what he or she meant by off-the-record?
Rule No. 4 - Make sure you both mean the same thing!
What if you don't really know the reporter or if you have any doubt
Rule No. 5 - When in doubt, don't even think about going off-the-record.
As a media consultant, the safest thing for me to tell you would
be to never go off-the-record. This is indeed the best rule when
there is any doubt.
The disadvantages of making an off-the-record comment can far outweigh
the advantages. You may know someone who has gottent in trouble
for trying it.
If you do go off-the-record, the above guidelines can save you
some headaches. It can even save your reputation.
Courtesy of Al Rothstein Media Services, Inc.,
specialists in spokesperson training and media relations seminars.
Phone: (904) 262-2606
the Most from Interviews
for successful interviews
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the Mistakes Spokespeople Make: Ten Sure-Fire Ways to Blow an Interview
Bad Things Happen to Good Spokespeople: Handling Tough Interviews
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