In all activities there are unwritten rules that 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 Portuguese it is not usually translated, but is sometimes called “outside the registry”. It can be said that such resource comprises a secret, where the person who tells wants the other to know, but not divulge.
As a general criterion, the journalist must be rigorous in relation to the disclosure of their sources of information . In the style manuals published by means of communication , it is specified that a person who provides a report to the journalist (the source of information) should be revealed to readers, because in this way communicates the reliability of the information.
However, this rule has an exception, off the record. Thus, when a journalist’s informant does not wish, for some reason, for his name to appear in the media and for the information provided to be disseminated, this is called off the record information. This means that there is a confidentiality agreement and the journalist is committed not to divulge what he knows.
This type of information is subject to a pact between the journalist and their source of information.
In the media world, it is believed that this “secret” information should not be published, as otherwise the agreement between the informant and the journalist would be violated.
This type of situation generates some controversy and some questions do not always have an easy answer: if the journalist confirms the information off the record through other sources, can he disclose such information? Should the journalist assess his informant’s motivations so that his identity is not known? When news that should not be published is of special interest, for example, a terrorist threat , should the journalist respect the anonymity of their source?
Other terms in journalistic vocabulary
- – Newspapers that publish news with a sensationalist focus are part of the brown press.
- – Due to its social importance , journalism is known as the Fourth Power.
- – As it is an activity in which ethical criteria should be imposed, there is a permanent debate about the limits of journalism.
- – The dissemination of fake news is known as fake news.
- – When a journalist gets an information before his colleagues, there is talk of a hole report .
- – The first paragraph highlighted, which provides the reader with information, is called lead.