Guidance: Ask Ex-administration Officials About NDAs : Memmos We need to know whether they have signed non-disclosure agreements that could restrict what they say. It may determine whether we go ahead with an interview. It's also something to disclose.
NPR logo Guidance: Ask Ex-administration Officials About NDAs

Guidance: Ask Ex-administration Officials About NDAs

When interviewing officials who have left the White House about their time with the Trump administration or current issues involving the administration, it is important that we ask whether they signed non-disclosure agreements covering their work and what they can say about the president.

Many people in the administration have signed NDAs. While those NDAs may not be enforceable, we should know whether the persons we're interviewing feel bound by any restrictions about what they can say. If so, that is information that will inform our decision about whether to go ahead with an interview and is information we need to share with our audience if we do proceed. Consult with a DME if you have questions.

Show producers and bookers: Ask the person, "have you signed a non-disclosure agreement that restricts what you can say about your time in the administration or about the president?" If the answer is yes, follow up with "do you feel bound by that agreement?" Other questions could follow, of course, to fill in details and help us make the decision about whether to go ahead.


Memmott’s Missives & Musings Standards & Practices Editor Mark Memmott writes occasional notes about the issues journalists encounter and the way NPR handles them. They often expand on topics covered in the Ethics Handbook.