Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Archive for September 2016

The FDA has been using embargoes to manipulate journalists. Here’s how.

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Charles Seife

Charles Seife

Embargo Watch readers may recall a few episodes over the years involving the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA), in which the agency tried to turn reporters into stenographers. In 2011 and 2014, journalists were required to agree not to speak to any outside sources before an embargo lifted, if they wanted access to the information ahead of time.

The 2011 incident made me a little, well, let’s say outraged, and the Association of Health Care Journalists, on whose board I’ve sat since 2002, wrote a letter to the FDA about the policy. The FDA reversed itself, which I cheered. But they went back to their old tricks in 2014, this time ending up on the radar of the New York Times’ public editor, Margaret Sullivan.

Despite the frustration and publicity, the FDA doesn’t seem to have made any changes. And in the new issue of Scientific American, my New York University Institute of Journalism colleague Charles Seife reveals Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 22, 2016 at 1:38 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Does the EurekAlert! hack show us what a world without embargoes would be like?

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eurekalertlogoEmbargo Watch readers are likely aware by now that EurekAlert!, the press release clearinghouse run by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, is offline after being hacked, as I and others reported yesterday. Given EurekAlert!’s dominance in the world of embargoed releases, the episode has understandably led to some musings by science reporters about life without embargoes: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 15, 2016 at 8:30 am

Posted in eurekalert policy

EurekAlert! taken offline after being hacked

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eurekalertlogoEurekAlert!, the embargoed news source run by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), has been temporarily taken offline following a “serious security breach.”

Ginger Pinholster, AAAS chief communications officer and director, office of public programs, said in a statement posted to the site last night at 10:10 p.m. Eastern that usernames and passwords had been compromised, and that embargoed information had been released.

Pinholster tells Embargo Watch that two embargoed releases were released early, and that:

The unknown individual was not selling login information. He seemed motivated to see whether he could breach EurekAlert!.

All of the site’s URLs now direct to a page with this message: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 14, 2016 at 8:06 am

Posted in eurekalert policy