RIP Embargo?

Yet another alleged death on the internet. Alas, poor embargo, we knew you well. Latest w/ the dirk to the chest is Mike Arrington at TC. I’ve written about this topic ad nauseum (which translates into man the spell checker does not like this word), and it’s worth repeating again – there is a place for embargoes, they are used too often, and they aren’t dead. Three times they make sense:

1. Complicated news. If the news announcement is either super technical or very complicated, embargoes make sense because it allows for more in-depth briefings, q/a, etc. Other option is a press conference, which does not really optimize for good questions.

2. Limited spokesperson availability. It often happens that we will only have one or two people available for interviews. In this case, it makes sense to do an embargo because it lengthens the amount of time to do briefings and levels the playing field a bit — you don’t always want to just optimize for the wire services, for example.

3. Demos. If you want to actually *show* the product, it sometimes means getting on a plane and visiting people, often on both coasts. In this case, you don’t want to leave one city, have a story appear and deal with unhappy reporters in the second city who feel they’ve been penalized by geographic distance.

All of us caught in the embargo chaos, as MIke puts it, will survive. As will the tool.

4 Responses to “RIP Embargo?”

  1. Amanda Kristina Says:

    Embargos are horrible. They just complicate thing in my opinion. But I am just talking for me and for my situation. Of course then there are other people who feel like embargos are helpful. It depends on the situation that the person is in. As time passes days will change. maybe embargos will aslo change one day.

    All the best

  2. Stage Two’s blog » A Vision of an Embargo-Free World Says:

    […] “work” when companies are trying to raise awareness about some new product, service, etc. There are cases where no PR is needed, because the news is so big it’ll get written about by […]

  3. mary branscombe Says:

    Both coasts – er, and the rest of the planet?

    I’m happy to work under embargo: I’m coming up on two decades of respecting NDAs. I appreciate the extra time to analyse and write the story: I rather like getting the time to do my research and still have a life. But it never seems that those who break embargos pay any penalty for it, which leaves those who do at more and more of a disadvantage.

  4. Susan Kuchinskas Says:

    I agree with Mary. Not only do news orgs that break the embargos go relatively unpunished, but PR agencies use them to give preference to the big-name media.

    Moreover, Frank, I don’t really buy your reasons why they’re necessary. If the news is complicated, maybe some places just give the gist, while those that have the resources and the space can dig deeper. There’s room for both kinds of stories. And shouldn’t a really excellent press kit obviate the problem?

    Certainly live demos are important, and that is one example of where the embargo might mollify folks on both coasts. Chicago and Atlanta will just have to suck it up.

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