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Politico Reporter Blows Embargo, Pew P.O.’D

Newly hired Politico reporter Tony Romm apparently didn’t think the embargo meant him earlier this week, when he blew right through the Pew Center’s embargo rules on a study on broadband use – an annual study that is reportedly highly anticipated. Politico published the story one day before the embargo was supposed to be lifted, causing upheaval among reporters around town who had been working on long-term pieces.

Pew wasn’t thrilled either.

In fact, Pew was upset, as it was described to FishbowlDC. But, funny, when we asked Pew, notoriously sensitive about its PR, if it was upset about the broken embargo, the researcher who wrote the report, Aaron Smith, declined to comment, saying the affair had been handled internally and was over. Smith, however, did apologize in an e-mail obtained by FishbowlDC, saying Politico was supposed to honor the embargo rules like everyone else.

The embargo from Pew was clearly stated: “Pew Internet: new report on home broadband adoption (for Thursday a.m. publication”). To even obtain this e-mail, reporters had to write to Pew to confirm they’d respect the embargo.

Romm had no comment when we made the request over e-mail this morning. But on Wednesday, the day he broke the embargo, he expressed remorse on Twitter: “I have done more harm than good today, and I’ve only been at work for 29 minutes. This can’t go well.”

WaPo‘s Cecilia Kang alludes to “another outlet” breaking the embargo. Read about it after the jump…

> Update: A comment from Dan Berman, editor for Politico. “POLITICO mistakenly broke the embargo on the home broadband report yesterday. Tony has apologized to Pew and we consider the matter closed,” Berman said through a spokesperson.


Posted at 11:45 AM ET, 08/11/2010
Half Americans doubt govt broadband expansion, adoption grows but more slowly

Update 11:30 a.m.: Embargo lifted on report, data included
Update: 1:50 p.m. Note to readers: Thanks for your great feedback in comments section. Another outlet broke an agreement to publish the report Thursday morning. So I’ll try to fill in the very important “why” questions as I go along. A fuller story for the paper is scheduled for tomorrow too. Thanks again.

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