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RealTime IT News

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](http://www.Wagged.com), one of the longtime biggies in tech PR that counts Microsoft among its key clients.

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(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](http://www.mediasurvey.com/) that included editors from the *New York Times* (Damon Darlin), Wired.com (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."