The mandate for journalists is to "get" the story from sources with diverse, sometime inimical interests. Most news stories are negotiated in defined social contexts among many different actors, including sources, journalists, editors and press agents. Much of this negotiation occurs in an unwriteable register. Such discourse is thus a key site for looking at interpretive agency in newswriting. Speech labeled "off-the-record" is but one of several modes of discourse that are unwriteable in journalistic practice. In this article I examine a case study of journalistic practice, and the efforts I, as a journalist, engaged in to "get" the story from political actors who shift on and off the record while seeking to further their own practical agendas. I follow the conversations with situated political actors, both on and off the record, as the journalist attempts to move, both socially and textually, from unwriteable speech to a writeable story.


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pp. 201-211
Launched on MUSE
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