Climate Home News reporters try, whenever possible, to report information from named sources.
However much of our reporting is on sensitive diplomatic spaces. To bring readers the full picture Climate Home will occasionally rely on sources we cannot name.
Not all people define “off the record” and “on background” in the same way. We think it is important that anyone speaking to us knows exactly how their information will be used. Our reporters use the Associated Press definitions, which are outlined below.
On the record: The information can be used with no caveats, quoting the source by name.
Off the record: The information cannot be used for publication.
Background: The information can be published but only under conditions negotiated with the source. Generally, the sources do not want their names published but will agree to a description of their position. Reporters should object vigorously when a source wants to brief reporters on background and try to persuade the source to put the briefing on the record. These background briefings have become routine in many venues, especially with government officials.
Deep background: The information can be used but without attribution. The source does not want to be identified in any way, even on condition of anonymity.
In general, information obtained under any of these circumstances can be pursued with other sources to be placed on the record.