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At 2:37 PM -0400 8/11/04, Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. wrote:
First, I do want to add that the original researchers, peer reviewers, and
everyone (not just the press) are bound by embargoes. Communication
*between* these parties is encouraged, for the reasons outlined in Christian
Embargoes are intended as honor-code agreements that let reporters do
enough research in advance to get a well-written story out on
deadline, when the paper comes out. By and large, they work, but
problems can happen.
In this case, and in many others, a story leaks out shortly before
the embargo because somebody screws up and forgets to note the
embargo, so somebody further along the line thinks it can be
Sometimes a reporters picks up a story independently, at a conference
or through good research, not through embargoed distribution.
Sometimes the organization handling the embargo blunders and either
distributes releases to the wrong people or announces press
conferences in advance in terms that leak the story.
Once in a very rare while, a reporter or a publication will
intentionally break an embargo to get ahead in what they consider an
Jeff Hecht, science & technology writer
Boston Correspondent: New Scientist magazine
Contributing Editor: Laser Focus World
525 Auburn St., Auburndale, MA 02466 USA
v. 617-965-3834; fax 617-332-4760