Who cares if journalists break embargoes?

December 7, 2011
Category: Uncategorized

When The New Yorker’s David Denby broke an embargo on reviewing “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” earlier this week, Sony was “furious.” Denby praised the movie but had published his review more than a week before he was supposed to.

The incident prompted journalists to question the advantages of an embargo. NPR’s Linda Holmes said embargoes give critics time to review movies without the pressure of having to be first. But, she said, “nobody’s hands are clean when it comes to the fact that everybody wants to do everything sooner — not critics, not studios, and not audiences, who do in fact tend to read the first reviews to come out more eagerly than the last ones.”

In a live chat, NPR’s Holmes and Reuters’ Jack Shafer — a critic of embargoes — talked about the issues surrounding them and addressed questions such as: What’s the perceived value of embargoes? Is it really a big deal if journalists break them? Are there any good reasons for breaking them? And do readers even notice?

You can replay the chat here: