What “off the record” means: Matt Flegenheimer gives his interpretation of ways journalists get information from Washington officials and rules they sometimes follow.
“As a general principle, a reporter’s best course of action is to establish jargon-free parameters in plain English at the start: Can a source be quoted by name? Can we use the information if we leave out the name? Can we at least describe the source’s job?” he writes.
“But among those who have long dealt with the news media, like politicians and their charges, there is occasionally a sort of shorthand for these questions.”