PaidContent’s Rafat Ali spoke with sources at The Wall Street Journal and learned that editorial staff will no longer accept embargoed news but will still take embargoed exclusives. According to Ali:
Not all embargoes are identical — according to our sources, the WSJ will accept embargoes for exclusives but not when other media outlets are involved unless the story is considered big enough.
A WSJ spokesperson denied any change in policy, stating, “There is no change with our embargo policy. We honor deals when we make them.” While Ali ran a story with the headline, “WSJ’s New Policy: Won’t Take Herd Embargoes,” this seems like a non-story to us. In speaking with a number of PR pros, and from our own experience, it is known that the WSJ, and other publications of similar size and stature routinely avoid or flat out don’t honor what are often called “herd embargoes,” where many reporters are briefed on a story in advance and then asked to hold the news until a certain date and time.
The key phrase mentioned in Ali’s story, and one that applies to all embargo pitching is: unless the story is considered big enough. When you actually have news, and reporters want it, there is a bit more room for PR at the negotiating table.