When are bloggers off the record?

A post today from David Hornick on Venture Blog asking when, if ever conversations with bloggers are off the record. David writes:
“The bigger issue raised is an important one for the blogging community — when, if ever, is something off the record for a blogger? I think for some bloggers the answer would be “never.” For those of us who are blogging in the context of our businesses, there has to be some more pragmatic line drawing. If companies that pitched me found the details of their businesses discussed on VentureBlog the next day, it wouldn’t take long before no one would pitch me. That said, business blogs are interesting because they are informed by the day-to-day business dealings of their authors. So I will continue to write about the things that interest me in my day-to-day life as a venture capitalist, but I will always be careful not to even push against the edges of confidentiality.”
As a former and sometimes journalist, and as a former senior executive for large media companies, and now as a consultant, I would say that I have been trained to collect and analyze large amounts of diverse data–but to always assume that EVERYTHING is off the record, unless established otherwise, ahead of time. While it may be a cute convention for some bloggers to name drop everyone with whom they had breakfast, dinner, lunch, sex and whatever , we all know those people are like the needy kids on the edge of the cool crowd in high school, or the anxious little bullies in middle management at a big Internet company I used to work for who ran around the airplane-hanger sized offices quoting their bosses’ bosses in every other sentence–in other words, they don’t get any street cred for being name-droppers and suck-ups.
While this blog is deliberately not a work-focused blog, I do write often about business issues and companies that interest me, and I think what I bring to the table that makes the blog worth reading is my informed perspective–and hopefully, my sense of humor. I read Venture Blog for the same kind of insider expertise, more than for blabbed secrets, and that’s pretty much what I expect from all the blogs I read–an insider voice that can help me understand something better.