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The Information’s 411 – Jawbone, Off the Record

On this seasonably, yet still surprisingly warm week in San Francisco, we went long on two stories. They both happen to touch on similar topics about the process of reporting while dealing with sources and companies on and off the record.

The first was a debate—a polite discussion, really—between Jessica and Frank Shaw, who heads up communications at Microsoft. After Jessica wrote her column last week about how companies too frequently insist on talking to reporters either on background or off the record, (and reporters too frequently accept those terms), Frank disagreed.

What started as an email debate over the merits of on background conversations, turned into a recorded on-the-record chat between the two. 

Next is Reed Albergotti who walked us through his months-long reporting process into Jawbone. Beyond the deep dive into the company's struggles was a discussion about the value of speaking to its CEO, Hosain Rahman, on the record as well getting information from current and former employees on background. It all adds up into an interesting narrative about how to best assess Jawbone’s past troubles and figuring out whether the company will make it.

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