3 things you should never say to a reporter

A few things you might see as helpful suggestions may actually come off as combative or just plain confusing.

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• Always assume the interview is “on the record,” meaning the reporter can print everything you say, unless otherwise specified from the outset. • If you want to say something to the reporter that you don’t want printed, you can ask, “Can we go off the record?” You cannot say something and then try to take it back, though. That’s not the way it works. • If you want to say something to the reporter that you’d like to see in the article but don’t want attributed to you, you can ask, “Can we go on background?” or, “Can I say something that is not for attribution?” This means that you cannot be quoted, but the sentiment of what’s expressed can be stated in the article. • Unless the reporter agrees to go off the record or on background, everything you say can be printed. Including anything that precedes the phrase, “Don’t quote me on that.”

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