Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Should reporters be required to listen to a briefing to get embargoed material? A poll

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Over at CardioBrief, Larry Husten has the story of what I call a “troubling development.”

In a nutshell, a PR agency representing Medtronic told Husten — and, I assume, other reporters — that if he wanted to see a set of slides, under embargo, that were going to be presented at the American College of Cardiology meeting, he had to commit to listening to a pre-briefing from one of the study authors.

This isn’t good, as Husten points out:

So what’s the problem here? Listening to a PR pitch– err, “pre-briefing”– shouldn’t be a prerequisite for receiving embargoed materials. Access to the content shouldn’t depend on a willingness to submit to the spin cycle. I’ve never seen access to content linked so explicitly to a PR pitch. This strikes me as a very dangerous– and telling– precedent.

There’s more to Husten’s usual smart critical take on this, so please go read his post (which quotes me). When you’re done, or if you’re ready now, please vote in this Embargo Watch poll.

Written by Ivan Oransky

March 31, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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