said today that his site will no longer respect press embargoes, the informal system where press outfits agree to hold back publishing until an agreed upon time so that multiple sources can cover a story well. Arrington says that embargoes are broken too often, that PR people are too pushy and that the whole system is a wreck.Michael Arrington at TechCrunch
We disagree. We think embargoes can be very useful for all parties. This Fall we published a post about how and why embargoes work in tech blogging and we thought we'd share those thoughts now that the controversy has flared up again.
We wish that more press outlets, both blogs and traditional media, were better at respecting them. Well run embargoes don't include briefings of sites that have a history of breaking embargoes and that's a big part of the problem. No one is perfect and every site that receives embargoed briefings has broken at least one, usually on accident, at some point. They are easier said than done on all sides.
Why Embargoes Are Good
We argued in our previous post that embargoes are good for the following reasons:
- They give multiple blogs a chance to review a technology in depth, instead of making it a race.
- This means readers get to read multiple perspectives on an interesting topic. Different bloggers have different strengths and ways of looking at things.
- Embargoes lead to more total coverage than exclusives. If you're someone for whom the only thing that mattered in high school was to win the approval of the most popular kid in school and you want to extend that philosophy into your work life as an adult - then the richness and breadth of your work and life experience will suffer accordingly. Exclusives are the tactic of people with weak products and of reporters who compete better in bullying than in writing.
How should embargoes be run well? We discussed our perspective on it in depth in our post Why and How Embargoes Work in Tech Blogging.
We hope you'll join us in the conversation on that post and that you'll continue to email us your embargoed announcements at firstname.lastname@example.org.