May 11, 2009

Daddy Types: Another Word For Nothing Left To Lose

As happens so often here at Daddy Types, I recently received an unsolicited press packet about a revelatory, new baby product being prepared for the market. At the bottom of the email, however, was this restriction which, when asked about it, the publicist described as a "gentleman's agreement":

As you are the very first in the world to receive this press pack, we would like to let you know that there is an embargo for trade publications until July/August issues and consumer publications and web platforms until September issues. Please let our team know your intended publication date so we are able to help with your deadlines.
Now I'm not going to pretend to be naive about either the practice of embargoes or the process of traditional publishing, and yes, in its own way, I suppose it's an honor even to be asked.

But while I have plenty of issues, none of them are dated, and even if "web platforms" weren't shunted to the end of the "you may write about us now" line, I would not agree to letting a subject control the editorial decisions of what, when--or if--something gets covered on DT.

I love to get tips, and if any of you papas and mamas have new products you'd think the Daddy Types crowd would be interested in, go right ahead. But as a gentleman, I must tell you upfront that I will not abide by an embargo. So please time your "leaks" accordingly.


so are you not talking about said product because you wouldn't think it would interest us, you don't like their embargo request, or you are honoring their embargo after all?

oh, it's interesting, or it appears to be. but so far, there's not enough info to really move on it. just fluff.

Ah... I interpreted your post that you will *not* be covering their product, purely on anti-embargo principle. No?

That's just dumb on their part - nothing is 'off the record' or 'not for attribution' unless you stipulate in advance and get agreement that the statements are so, and nothing is embargoed unless the writer in question agrees to embargo it to receive it. If it leaves your lips or computer, it's public.

since there are two months in between trade reporting and "web platform" reporting, there will be plenty of time to report on it, if necessary. frankly, the idea that a press release for a piece of baby equipment is to be treated as a secure, top secret piece of information is cuh-razy

I have a friend who's worked in both journalism and PR circles and it seems like the PR folk sort of regard journalists as a bunch of sad little people waiting for whatever table scrap of a press release available so they don't have to do any work.

It shouldn't work that way; the journalists are doing the PR people a favour if they decide to print the release at all.

Can't you let me know now? I need to figure out if it is cool enough for Ms. Kaz and I to start working on another baby...

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