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March 14, 1986

The Press Embargo

Author Affiliations

KING-AM Seattle

JAMA. 1986;255(10):1288-1289. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370100082013

To the Editor.—  I read with great interest the editorial on news embargoes in the Oct 11 issue of JAMA,1 especially since an article I'd written on the subject for a radio news trade publication was cited. But one issue was not explored, and that's the question of why the embargo system appears to be under attack. Simply put, it's because of abuses by those issuing the embargoed news. It's not unusual for newsrooms routinely to get news releases that, for no apparent reason, are marked "hold for release." Usually, the time of release is set to coincide with a traditionally slow news time period such as Sunday night. The obvious intent of the release writer is to use the embargo system as a way of getting publicity that the story may not otherwise warrant, simply because it has less competition for news time at the time it's released.

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