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When should you tell journalists about an embargo?

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When should you tell journalists about an embargo?

When is it right to embargo a story? I had to weigh this up following a press dinner at Fortnum & Mason this week.

The occasion was both the annual Christmas preview, held in the store’s wood panelled boardroom, and an introduction to the incoming CEO Tom Athron. As you’d expect, there were new products to pore over and the man in charge had lots to say in his speech about following on from the fabled Ewan Venters – and how he felt about the Piccadilly landmark.

But it’s what he said to me when we sat together at dinner that made my ears prick up – I’d asked a perhaps provocative question about one aspect of Fortnums, expecting a general reply, but to which he replied that I should do some digging. I then did so with the Chief Customer Officer, and got more juicy tidbits (while also enjoying roast goose and gin and orange jelly – this is a place which knows how to woo the press…).

As I thanked the PR on my way out, I said “well that’s interesting news” to which he was quick to reply, “Yes, all embargoed till the release goes out.” 

Now we’re not talking ‘hold the front page’ material, but who doesn’t love a scoop? It did make me wonder why everyone hadn’t been told our conversations were subject to an embargo. Unless, of course, it was a teasing tactic… 

What Lisa Thinks…

190th birthdays are not really a thing, but you can’t help but admire Young’s Pubs for wanting to raise some cheer after a brutal time and this chirpy release on events and promotions at the group’s pubs make me smile


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