So, a fairly well-known New York new media outfit just sent us a press release saying they’ve hired a new VP of ad sales. There’s nothing wrong with that. We like to write about hires and fires in the industry.Here’s the crime: The email came in with “EMBARGOED TIL MONDAY” attached to the subject line.
This is ridiculous for two reasons.
First – and some PR people never seem to understand this – you can’t send a reporter news and pre-emptively declare it’s embargoed.
An “embargo,” those of you lucky enough to not understand the jargon, is an agreement reporters and PR people come to in which the reporter will agree to hold news until a certain time in order to learn about it before the announcement.
How it’s supposed to work is the PR person will send the reporter a tease about the news and ask if they’d like to agree to an embargo. The reporter will then agree, and get the news, or say no thanks and hear nothing more.
When a PR person sends a reporter all the news without asking to agree to an embargo – guess what? – that news is fair game to report right away.
The only reason we’re not reporting the news we got from this new media outlet is that it’s really boring news and it’s not worth fraying our relationship with the company over.
And this point gets to the second reason this embargo email is so completely ridiculous.
Usually, “embargoed” news is big news – a product launch, a merger, etc.
Never have we ever – ever – been asked to hold news ON THE HIRING OF A VP OF AD SALES. Yeesh.
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