Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Archive for March 2012

Another new set of autism figures, another botched CDC embargo: An Embargo Watch tick-tock

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It’s deja vu all over again.

From an October 2009 press release by the Association of Health Care Journalists — where I’m on the board of directors — announcing that the AHCJ was objecting to how the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had handled an embargo about new autism statistics: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

March 29, 2012 at 12:03 pm

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Facing criticism, EASL changes its embargo policy — and earns a spot on the Embargo Watch Honor Roll

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Yesterday, I criticized a strange embargo policy in place for an upcoming European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) conference. That policy, which drew Adam Feuerstein’s ire along with mine, allowed anyone who had paid to attend the April conference — including investors — to get abstracts this week, while they were still under embargo.

This morning, in an email to its press list, the EASL announced it was changing the policy: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

March 22, 2012 at 8:16 am

Confusion reigns as PR firm-managed EASL embargo lets investors have access to abstracts before they’re public

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For the second year in a row, the embargo policy at the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL)’s International Liver Conference is exasperating reporters who cover drug companies and biotechs — chief among them TheStreet.com’s Adam Feuerstein.

Last year, it was a “freely available but embargoed” policy that drove Feuerstein — who has had more than his share of run-ins with bizarre and indefensible embargo policies — mad. And this year’s? Feuerstein has minced no words. Yesterday, he called it “misguided, unfair and quite frankly unworkable.” (Today, he added “confused” and “incompetent” in light of the news that news of a delay in putting the abstracts online, delivered in an EASL email, was news to the people running the conference press office.) As Feuerstein wrote yesterday: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

March 21, 2012 at 9:06 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Did some news outlets get a negotiated exclusive on Climate Central sea rise study despite universal embargo?

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Last week, Environmental Research Letters published three studies reporting higher risks of floods in U.S. coastal areas, thanks to global warming.

The journal and Climate Central, where the researchers are based, embargoed the news for 10:30 Eastern. But three news outlets — the New York Times, the AP, and my own employer, Reuters — ran stories at midnight, more than ten hours before the embargo was scheduled to lift. (You can see a roundup of coverage by Knight Science Journalism Tracker’s Charlie Petit, who notes that the Times “got this out late yesterday, a slight jump on the competition.”)

So what happened? Michael Bishop, the Institute of Physics staffer who handles press for the journal, told me last week: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

March 20, 2012 at 9:30 am

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USPSTF takes another tack on announcing screening guidelines, this time on cervical cancer

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Here’s an announcement from this week that marks an unusual move by a government-backed group that offers guidelines on various tests:

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) will publish its final recommendations on screening for cervical cancer in the Annals of Internal Medicine and on their website on Wednesday, March 14th.

This announcement is currently public information.

The announcement then details how reporters can obtain embargoed copies of a USPSTF press release on the new guidelines, and the recommendations themselves.

I won’t be breaking the embargo by saying that this involves — wait for it — women. And the USPSTF published a draft version of the guidelines for public comment in October.

That move, however Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

March 9, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized