Gawker on PR: Embargoes and Secret Sources

October 23, 2007


As our industry congregates in Philly for the annual PRSA conference, to discuss ethics, and best practices for the new PR World order, we continue our series with Choire Sicha, managing editor of Gawker who explains why embargoes are rarely worth the trouble, and why you can trust him with your dirtiest of laundry.

Read on to see Sicha throw an elbow at Freud CEO Matthew Hilzik for messing around with briefing books, and speculate how Dan Klores would work the blogs like a “filthy fellow” were he still pitching:

PRNewser: Do you honor embargoes? How far does quid pro quo go?

Choire Sicha: Anyone will honor an embargo, if there’s something good that’s embargoed. You know what? Almost nothing ever is! And this weird embargo meets vague “promisings” of an item thing that goes on? That’s always crap. And annoying. But you know what also? Publicists actually don’t use blogs enough. Anyone is perfectly happy to be used if the item’s good. But what makes an item good is usually not what a publicist has.

But some people do have the dirt. People like Matthew Hiltzik don’t send their people to sell some stories enough. Why isn’t he peddling dirt? Instead he spends his time putting together 15-page briefing books on how great Katie Couric is? That’s so 1980s.

Dan Klores would be working the blogs like a filthy fellow, if he wasn’t so busy with his fantastic third career. What I’m saying here is: Good bloggers don’t give up sources any more readily than good newspaper reporters. Our doors and email boxes are always open, and we’re as close-lipped as they come, so come on and bring it.


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