Daily Rundown Tackles On Record, On Background, Off Record and Hazy Netherworld of Phrases in Between
MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown” ran a segment this morning that many journalists and their sources find perpetually confusing – the rules on sourcing information.
“In my view, the term ‘On the record’ everyone can understand,” said NYT reporter Mark Leibovich who appeared in the segment. “Beyond that, any of the gradations…mean nothing.”
Albert Oetgen, managing editor of NBC News’s Washington bureau, has studied the topic and wrote a story on it with “Daily Rundown” co-host Chuck Todd in the The Atlantic that published Monday. The piece’s headline: “When ‘Bite Me’ is ‘Off the Record.’”
Oetgen stressed that terms mean little and reporters should reach a personal understanding with those they cover. “You have to ignore the terms and make the agreement with the people you interview,” he said.
But there’s a wrinkle. The terms mean different things to different people….