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Hush-hush material

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Hush-Hush Material

I’ve had a few interesting emails recently containing embargoed information. Food is not, some might think, a subject that really lends itself to hush-hush material but sometimes there are legitimate reasons such as awards announcements or competition-sensitive launches.

However, if a PR is to send either the information itself with a clear embargo notice or an advance note gauging interest, could they please adhere to a couple of guidelines (and I can’t believe I’m the only journalist to think this):

Please give us enough notice to make space in our schedules, should the material merit it. I got an email yesterday for a launch tomorrow… Even on a newspaper, we have features lined up ready to go to press and just can’t switch things in and out on a dime (plus who’s got huge teams of writers ready to process the material into a feature in an hour these days?)

If you send the teaser and I respond positively, do actually follow through. I was sent notice that I could find out the winner of a forthcoming food/drink award under embargo and said yes, it would make a good lead feature. Then, only delays and silence. The opportunity has passed and if they got a better offer elsewhere, at least have the courtesy to tell me.

I’m not by any means perfect – I received under-embargo advance information on a report from a major retailer and in the deadline melee, forgot to get back to the PR in question in a timely fashion, so in those circumstances I would expect them to go elsewhere as I totally understand they want coverage. Again, just let me know (and please know I feel bad about it)…

What Lisa Thinks…

“The somewhat misleading subject line in this press release email (sounding negative when it was positive) did make me read on and I’m glad I did as it was interesting.”

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