Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

MedPage Today temporarily banned from ACC press room after unintentional PARTNER study embargo break

leave a comment »

Embargo Watch has learned that MedPage Today broke an embargo at the American College of Cardiology meeting.

The PARTNER study, of a heart valve replacement technique, was embargoed until 9 a.m. Eastern yesterday, April 3. But here’s what happened, according to MedPage Today vice president and executive editor Peggy Peck:

Yes, we did have an error but it was not “officially” declared an embargo break.

I wrote a draft of a bulletin about the partner results. I sent to our Saturday editor and production person. The email subject line said “Draft of Bulletin for PARTNER Hold for posting Sunday, April 3 at 9 ET when embargo lifts.”

The editor and production person didn’t see the subject line—possibly due to an email platform migration, which means that we are all struggling with getting used to new email format.

The bulletin posted on our site for 12 minutes and it did go out as blast email to our bulletin subscribers. As soon I was realized what happened I told the ACC people and had it removed from our site, I had the text removed from the page that open when the email link was clicked, and I contacted IT to erase the record of the bulletin. We also contacted Google to request them to take steps remove it from Google searches.

The ACC recognized that it was not intentional, but said that I could not be an exception to the enforcement of its embargo policies. So I was sanctioned. I was asked to turn in my credential when I left the newsroom for the day on Saturday. I could get it back until noon, CT Sunday—after the PARTNER results were reported. Additionally, they had granted two extra media badges for two MPT staff who had intended to be here only today. Those badges were revoked.

And that’s the whole story.

We appreciate Peck’s transparency, and particularly her taking the time during an extremely busy meeting. I know MedPage Today takes embargoes seriously, and they even wrote — favorably — about the launch of Embargo Watch last year.

So this would seem to be a case of “it happens to the best of us.”

NB: Recent readers of Embargo Watch could be forgiven for thinking we only cover embargo breaks when they involve our day job’s competitors. After all, we reported on a break by Bloomberg on Friday, and this one was by a worthy Reuters Health competitor too. But that’s not the case, and if you need evidence, read this post about an embargo break by an outfit known as Reuters last year.

Update, 5:15 Eastern, 4/4/11: An Embargo Watch tipster reminds me that MedPage Today and the ACC’s CardioSource announced in December that they would partner to cover major cardiology meetings, as CardioBrief reported.

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 4, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: