Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

What people are saying about Embargo Watch

with 5 comments

Columbia Journalism Review‘s Curtis Brainard, writing in The Observatory column, says Embargo Watch is “a new blog launched by one of the country’s top medical writers,” and that “the debate about breaking embargoes and whose interests they serve is extremely important.”

The Society for Environmental Journalists Watchblog:

Few journalists know or appreciate the work of Ivan Oransky, a medical journalist who publishes Embargo Watch, a watchblog on how news embargoes affect access to information.

Charles Petit, writing in Knight Science Journalism Tracker:

Inspection of embargo breaks seemed to some of us (me) a dusty corner of journalism criticism to live when he started this site up, but it turns out to be an insightful, sharp, and entertaining way to observe the behavior of journalists and their quarry (and press agents and their prey too) in general.

Scott Hensley in NPR’s health blog, Shots:

We’re not sure how Oransky finds the time to do this, but we’re glad he does.

Gary Schwitzer’s HealthNews Review blog:

The Embargo Watch blog is a great concept. It becomes a repository for embargo-related issues. It provides a social media platform for all parties involved in the dissemination of health/medical/science (and other) news and information to weigh in on the issue. Who knows? It may even lead to a better system.

Reporting On Health’s TalkBack blog calls it “a must for any health journalist’s RSS reader.” Reporting on Health is a project of the University of Southern California Annenberg/California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships program.

In a post called “The Embargo Watchdog,” MedPage Today‘s Kristina Fiore:

I’m eager to follow Oransky’s posts, and am curious to know what you think of embargo policies.

In her “don’t get caught” blog, Denise Graveline, who has had leading communications and media roles at organizations including the American Association for the Advancement of Science,  American Chemical Society, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:

Just five posts in (at this writing), the blog already offers communicators loads of lessons in each post, with real-life case studies you can use to educate yourself or build a case for your policies.

Evan Lerner of ScienceBlogs:

If you’re not already familiar with Ivan’s blog, it really is a great look at the inner workings of science communication.

Martin Robbins, writing in The Guardian:

Embargoes themselves are a difficult and controversial subject best left to the likes of Ivan Oransky…

Maggie Koerth-Baker, Boing Boing:

Frustrated by the concept of embargoes, in general? Join the club. I highly recommend the Embargo Watch blog for some in-depth discussions of what purpose embargoes serve, why journalists follow them, and how the system needs to change.

“I…wouldn’t have believed it possible to blog exclusively on embargo issues. Yet — perhaps it’s the times we live in — they do keep popping up. And Ivan has absolutely made it work.” — Tabitha Powledge, in the National Association of Science Writers’ “On Science Blogs This Week”

Written by Ivan Oransky

February 28, 2010 at 10:17 am

5 Responses

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  1. Invaluable insight for any journo/reporter just getting into the game or who’s been playing for awhile. In today’s fast-paced, instant access world, the rules are too easily broken, even by those who make them. It’s interesting to take a deeper dive into embargo policies and ethics in journalism, and I suspect that this blog will become an important’game-changer.” Thanks Ivan.


    February 28, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    • Thanks, Liz! I look forward to your input.


      March 1, 2010 at 3:03 pm

  2. Ivan, congrats on your latest gig! While the major journals make their embargo policies easy to follow, the smaller journals don’t understand that the purpose of the embargo is to create a level playing field for news coverage. They often post researchers’ studies without notice, creating a nightmare for the institution’s PR officer. Another time, a smaller journal refused to lift the embargo one day early for everyone when reporters were begging the editor to include a UCLA autism study’s finding in related autism stories breaking the previous day. The editor refused, blindly citing “journal policy.” As a result, the UCLA study and its publishing journal received zero coverage.

    Editor’s note: At Elaine’s request, I’ve removed the names of the two publications whose reporters she was working with on the autism study, because she hadn’t spoken to them before posting her comment.

    Elaine Schmidt

    March 5, 2010 at 2:03 pm

  3. Embargo Watch is my favorite thing to read and I look forward to every new posting. Ivan is serious but also has a great sense of humor as he points out the often absurd and contradictions in the embargo world.

    David Levine
    Co-Chair, Science Writers in New York

    David Levine

    July 29, 2010 at 3:42 pm

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