Yesterday, Piers Morgan found himself in the firing line yet again, after tweeting the BBC’s highest paid talent list, ahead of the 11am embargo.
In doing so, it derailed the BBC’s plans, and multiple media industry leaders took to Twitter to condemn Piers’ “naff, delusional & unprofessional” attempt to ‘get the scoop’ by leaking the news early.
Although it is based upon trust, it is generally considered bad practice for any media outlet to disrespect an official embargo, and a breached embargo causes PRs up and down the land to tear their hair out.
An embargo is an agreed time in which information can be made accessible to the public – it essentially gives the journalist enough time to produce a detailed news story, with context.
Embargos are put in place to benefit both parties – ignoring them, or trying to be first out the door, can lead to misleading information being put in the public domain, often with crucial context omitted.
Trust is key in ensuring a healthy and productive relationship between PRs and journalists is retained. The media should be able to trust that they’re being told the truth by PRs, and PRs should be able to trust that their requests around the release of certain information are respected.
The alternative is a more formal arrangement, with penalties applicable for breaches – which, let’s face it, nobody wants. The reckless behaviour of amateurs such as Piers Morgan could result in a more rigid, less friendly, agreement being enforced by those who have been burned.
Our advice to Piers – step away from Twitter and stick to what you’re best at (whatever that may be).