Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Reuters breaks Lancet embargo

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logo_lancetThe Lancet lifted an embargo early on Thursday, following a break.

From an email sent out to The Lancet press list at 7:02 a.m. UK time Thursday morning: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

October 11, 2016 at 1:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Embargo on overdrinking proves hard to swallow for university press release

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32.coverThe Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) lifted the embargo early Friday on a paper scheduled for release today, after a university jumped the gun with a press release.

From a note sent to the PNAS media list Friday: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

October 10, 2016 at 10:02 am

Posted in Uncategorized

EurekAlert! back online, weeks after hacking incident

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EurekAlert_StackedLogo_Wht-RedBoxA number of science journalists may be breathing a big sigh of relief this afternoon, if they check their inboxes.

Nineteen days after going dark because it was hacked, the embargoed section of the EurekAlert! press release service is back online.

The site was taken offline late on the night of September 13 because of an “aggressive attack on September 9” in which usernames and passwords were compromised. Eventually, two embargoed press releases went out prematurely.

Today, Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

October 2, 2016 at 2:45 pm

Posted in eurekalert policy

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

Motherboard loses embargoed access following Science break — which came on heels of previous probation

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motherboardI have an update on Monday’s post about an embargo break by Motherboard on a study in Science about how dogs understand language. Reporters at Motherboard — and VICE, Motherboard’s parent company — have been sanctioned for the break, and will lose access to EurekAlert!, provided by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), for six weeks.

[Please note this post — including the headline — has been updated. A previous statement by AAAS saying that Motherboard had been previously sanctioned was in error; AAAS told us this morning that the previous break had led to probation, not a sanction.]

It turns out Motherboard was just about to come off of probation for another recent embargo break. AAAS chief communications officer Ginger Pinholster tells Embargo Watch: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

August 31, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized