So, President Obama was off the record when he called Kanye West a “jackass” — a comment that was overheard and tweeted by ABC News “Nightline” co-anchor Terry Moran, and subsequently retweeted, Facebooked and otherwise spread virally throughout the social mediasphere.
Um, excuse me, but: Since when is a president — or any public figure — ever off the record?
Media Relations 101, Rule No. 1: There is no such thing as “off the record.” This goes for presidents of colleges and universities as well as presidents of the countries. It goes for any public figure. (This means you, too.)
Never assume you are ever off the record when talking to a reporter, a blogger, a tweeter. Never assume anything you say while prepping for an interview will not become the story.
This lesson is more important in today’s always-on mediasphere than it’s ever been.
Higher ed PR colleagues: Please make sure your university’s most visible, high-profile employees learn this rule. If you aren’t teaching it to them, then start. Use President Obama’s off-the-record gaffe as a teachable moment.
(Thanks to @SashaWolff for the L.A. Times story link.)