Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Heads up, reporters: Press officers for a number of UK and European scientific societies are cleaning their embargo lists

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Journalists take note: Emma Mason and Mary Rice, who run press operations for a number of European scientific societies, are cleaning up their reporter databases:

We are re-organising our media databases for 2011 to ensure that: a) they only include journalists who want to be on them, b) that you are receiving information on the areas you are interested in, and c) everyone who is on our databases has agreed to abide by our embargoes.

Journalists can find out more at the RiceMason site.

The move is partly in response to discussions on Embargo Watch, Mason told me on Twitter, and it’s a good one. One of the subtexts of some of those discussions was just how clean these media lists are. It’s clear that lots of people — Wall Streeters, for example — have access to material they shouldn’t. And most media lists seem to just grow, without press officers ever deleting reporters who’ve left journalism.

All of that could partially explain how porous many embargoes are, and explain one way a reporter who never agreed to any such embargoes could end up with material before it’s released. It’s one thing if that reporter was really enterprising, but another if there’s someone with years-old-access, who shouldn’t have it anymore and has nothing to lose, is leaking studies. Cleaning up a list also confirms that reporters actually agree to embargo policies — something other press officers may need to be reminded is important.

So kudos to Mason and Rice, who have made other smart changes, at least one in response to an Embargo Watch post. And reporters, check in with them to make sure you’re on the lists you want to be on.


Written by Ivan Oransky

January 14, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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