Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

CDC lengthens embargo time on MMWR

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mmwrStarting this week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is lengthening the embargo on its flagship publication, the MMWR.

An email sent to media last week:

Notice to News Media – New MMWR Embargo Policy

CDC is changing when it releases the media materials and the embargo time for its weekly publication, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), giving reporters additional time with the material before it’s released.

Beginning next week, Wednesday, August 28, reporters on CDC’s media list will receive the embargoed MMWR media materials and journal e-book (the articles) on Wednesday afternoon when it becomes available – typically sometime between 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. ET.  Also, please note that beginning August 29, the materials will be embargoed until 1:00 p.m. ET on Thursdays, rather than the previous embargo of noon ET on Thursdays.

We believe these new policies will give reporters more time to research and develop their stories related to MMWR; and also, based on input received from many of you, it’s worthwhile for us to attempt this change. We will remind you about the change of embargo again before it begins next week.

As always, thanks for your interest and coverage of CDC’s MMWR publication.

CDC’s Division of Public Affairs, News Media Branch

The change means reporters will have as much as 21 hours with the full report, instead of about four, since the old release time was about 8 a.m. on Thursday mornings. I suspect that means MMWR news will be more likely to make the cut for coverage, since many reporters may have decided to pass if they couldn’t write a decent story in four hours. Whatever the case, a longer embargo time is always welcome, particularly if the point of the embargo — as journals like to claim — is to “give reporters more time to research and develop their stories.”

Written by Ivan Oransky

August 26, 2013 at 9:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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