Former, high-profile, newspaper gossip columnist Bridget Saunders appeared on a TV current affairs show recently expressing surprise that comments she had made earlier to other journos, off-the-record she thought, were broadcast – putting her in a pretty unflattering light.
So, if a hard-bitten and experienced hack can’t sort out what’s on- or off-the-record, then maybe it’s not as simple as it seems. But, really, it is: If you don’t want the media to publish/broadcast something – don’t tell them it! Easy.
Having said that if you are not generally in the media glare, journos will likely give you a bit of leeway, if the issue is not major. But if you are regularly in the media commenting on stuff, you’re ‘fair game’. Reporters are talking to you to get a story not to make friends!
Last night’s Media 7 show had four senior journalists on the panel discussing what is off- and on-the-record. It’s invaluable watching for all people and companies wanting to understand the nuances of dealing with reporters. Find the Media 7 show here.