Break the news ourselves

By on 21/08/2009 in Blog

deborah-harries_002Head of News Deborah Harries responds to an article in PR Week (14 August 2009) ‘Wall Street Journal policy shift heralds the slow death of the embargo’.

The embargo-breakers have got their toe in the water on this side of the Atlantic and it is not exclusive to the Wall Street Journal.

Twice I have had an embargo broken by a Midlands news organisation. It was honoured by the traditional outlet but broken on the web version several hours earlier.

Apologies were offered and the blame lain at the door of the software uploading the stories, but you've got to wonder. I've also had a blogger joke with me about how he was tempted to break a story as it was so good.

Even if we are holding these stories for now, competition amongst the media is such that we won't be able to plug the dyke for long.

Embargoes are about helping both parties package a story to best effect and they are based on trust, if that is broken then there has to be a strike rule.

Or you could be completely radical and take control of your own news. We have effectively broken two big stories ourselves in the last month on our new online press office (

So, perhaps we should concentrate on breaking our own news rather than fretting about the embargo-breakers.

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There Are 3 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Tony Cox says:


    An interesting post. We are just starting to develop a digital newsroom and I’m interested to know if you send embargoed releases to bloggers, rather than just the websites of ‘traditional’ media?


  2. Deborah Harries says:


    Thank you for your comment. Yes we have sent out embargoed news releases to both bloggers and traditional media previously but I am reaching the point of not issuing anything to anyone under embargo. I think the exception, and this may be the way we go, is to issue news on an embargoed but exclusive basis. This way I think a journalist and their respective newsdesk is more likey to honour the embargo and know that if they break it you are unlikely to do a deal with them again.

    I’d be interested to hear/see more of your digital newsroom.


  3. Tony Cox says:

    It is early days for us, but we are hoping to deliver a true digital newsroon in the near future.