This tech news is not embargoed

Embargoes — can’t live with them, can’t live without them. That was one of several themes running through a spirited discussion among tech journalists and PR people last night.

For the uninitiated, embargoes are the controversial process where a tech company, usually its PR firm, offers to give advance details on a news story in exchange for the reporter agreeing not to publish the story until the exact release date and time dictated by the vendor.

The event, titled: “Embargo 2010: An Industry Discussion on Future Rules of Media Engagement,” was held in downtown San Francisco at the Varnish gallery and wine bar and hosted by [Waggener Edstrom](, one of the longtime biggies in tech PR that counts Microsoft among its key clients.


(Photo: from left to right: Mark Glaser, Damon Darlin, Tom Foremski and Dylan Tweney. Photo by Marie Domingo).

The kickoff was a panel smoothly moderated by former tech reporter [Sam Whitmore]( that included editors from the *New York Times* (Damon Darlin), (Dylan Tweney), Mark Glaser, MediaShift (PBS) and the tech blog Silicon Valley Watcher (Tom Foremski).

The reason embargoes are controversial is they require reporters give up a level of control in how and when a story is reported. Publications and Web sites also often break embargo agreements, deliberately or by accident, leaving the competition fuming as they scramble to catch up in this increasingly real-time news cycle.

“Embargo is Latin for ‘(expletive) you’!” cracked Tweney. “For the reader embargoes let us do more timely, thorough coverage, but we’ve also been screwed by them.”

News Around the Web