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Off the record, no comment. Part II

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Off the record, no comment.

The flak was taken aback. He was not used to his simple question, can we talk off the record?, being met with a blunt “no, you can’t.”

Yesterday we discussed off-the-record and “on background” and the difference between the two (some say there isn’t any).

A key extra point is that the hack has to agree to talk off the record. We usually do, but you can’t put that condition in at the end of the conversation. Assume you are on, unless we have agreed otherwise.

This isn’t just us being difficult.

It’s a nod to the fact that flaks and the companies they work for abuse off-the-record privileges. They relax into spinning all sorts of nonsense, and get away with it because we have sort of agreed not to hold them to account for what they said.

If a hack says to a flak, it’s on the record or nothing, it may indicate two things. 1) We are tired of being screwed around. 2) We just don’t trust you.

Another point: If it turns out that you lied during an off the record briefing, the agreement is void.

Some colleagues of mine are more militant than others on this. I tend to think there’s a good chance the flak himself was lied to by someone else and move on.

Other hacks keep lists of this sort of stuff, and they never, ever forget.

Be careful out there.

Press release of the day

One in four people in the UK have a “side hustle” says this from Tide, generating £72 billion in total.

The top side hustles include blogging, dog walking and being an “affiliate marketer”, which means driving traffic to retailer’s websites.

This trend must have boomed during lockdown, one assumes.


Off the record, no comment. Part I

Tomorrow's Business

Off the record, no comment. Part III


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