In all activities there are unwritten rules, but they are part of everyday reality. In the world of journalism one of these rules is off the record. It is an English term that is opposed to another, on the record. In Spanish it is not normally translated, but is sometimes called "off the record." It could be said that such a resource includes a secret that the person who tells it wants the other to know but not to use it.
As a general criterion, the journalist has to be rigorous in relation to the dissemination of his sources of information. In the style manuals published by the media, it is specified that the person who provides a news item to the journalist (the information source) must be revealed to the readers, since in this way the reliability of the information is communicated.
However, this guideline has an exception, off the record. Thus, if an informant of the journalist does not want his name to appear in the media for some reason and for the information provided to be disseminated, it is referred to as off-the-record information. This implies that there is a confidentiality agreement and the journalist agrees not to reveal what he knows.
This type of information is subject to an agreement between the journalist and his source of information.
In the world of the media, it is considered that this "secret" information should not be published, otherwise the pact between the informant and the journalist would be breached.
This type of situation generates a certain controversy and some questions that do not always have an easy answer: if the journalist confirms the information off the record through other sources, could this information be disseminated? Should the journalist assess the motivations of his informant So that their identity is not known? If the news that should not be published is of special interest, for example a terrorist threat, should the journalist respect the anonymity of its source?
Other journalistic jargon terms
- Those newspapers that broadcast news with a sensationalist approach practice tabloidism.
- Due to its social importance, journalism is known as the Fourth Estate.
- Being an activity in which ethical criteria should be imposed, there is a permanent debate on the limits of journalism.
- The spread of fake news is known as fake news.
- When a journalist has obtained information before the rest of his colleagues, there is talk of a scoop.
- The lead of the news is also known as lead.
Fotolia photos: dovla982 / rogi