Community Update

Digital Empowerment Toolkit Now Available!

At World Pulse, we recognize the need for ongoing learning—for you and for your community! Our toolkits aim to provide the resources you need to advance your social change work.

We are excited to introduce our Digital Empowerment Trainers’ Toolkit, a dynamic resource to help you bring the benefits of connecting online to women in your community. Check it out today! »

On & Off the Record -- answers to your questions

I hope this note finds each of you well. I've been receiving some questions about on the record and off the record interviews, so I thought I would post an answer to the whole group. Please keep your questions coming, I'm always here for you!

In your newsgathering pursuits there are three types of interviews or quotes a source can give you:

On-the-record – means that the source is authorizing you to use his or her name, description and identifying details and quote what he/she had to say fully in your article. (You may also paraphrase this kind of source while still giving them credit for the information.) Make sure the names of your on the record sources are always spelled correctly.

Off-the-record – means that a source will talk to you but you CANNOT use the sources name. You may use some general descriptive information to validate the source (i.e. says a woman, 31, who has worked in the streets for years.) the information that you’ve learned from this source but it should be verified by one other person or one document. In some instances however, there will not be any other source who can verify what someone is telling you, if it is a personal story. Remember to only grant anonymity to a source when you feel he or she has a valid reason. And most importantly, give your reader a brief reason why you have granted anonymity to a source. For example, .....who did not want to identify herself for fear of reprisal from her employer.

On Background – On background means that your entire conversation with a source CANNOT be used. You cannot use a sources name or the information that he or she gives you. You may take the information you learn from a “background” source and try to find it from other on the record sources.

Remember, your word and your honor are a big part of your career! If you promise someone anonymity or “background” status, you MUST honor it. You may only divulge the names of confidential sources to your editor and mentor, who are also obligated to protect your sources.


giftypearl.abenaab's picture

Thanks Cristi

Hello Cristi,
Thanks for the reminder. It is very helpful.

Gifty Pearl Abenaab
Greight Foundation

Magazine »

Read global coverage through women's eyes

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Community »

Connect with women on the ground worldwide

PAKISTAN: They Went to School and Never Came Back

PAKISTAN: They Went to School and Never Came Back

Campaigns »

Be heard at influential forums

WWW: Women Weave the Web

WWW: Women Weave the Web

Programs »

Help us train women citizen journalists

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

Blog »

Read the latest from World Pulse headquarters

Announcing Our Prize Winners!

Announcing Our Prize Winners!

Partners »

Join forces with our wide network of partners

Nobel Women's Initiative

Nobel Women's Initiative