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This morning, the Washington Post published what seemed to be quite the scoop—special access to the highly protected Real World DC house and a jolly tour with cast members.
Thing is, the Post’sDan Zak wasn’t the only journalist allowed into the Real World house. Actually, about 10 to 15 other media outlets, including the Washington City Paper, were invited to the house on a special Real World D.C. Press Day on Oct. 2.
So, why didn’t you see every Washington news outlet bombarded with Real World DC gossip on Oct. 3? (And trust me, this stuff is blog, page-view gold—-there’s no reason to hold back unless you’re trying to lose readers.)
Well, MTV issued an embargo on all Real World-related content until early November, a little closer to show time.
As far as I know, all the other reporters followed this guideline—which meant we didn’t post videos, and we didn’t let details slip about cast members Mike, Ty, Callie, Josh, Erika, Emily, Ashley, or Andrew, which were delivered in neat little written bios.
Ty, for example, is a “guy’s guy, but there just might be a roommate who steals his heart.”
The reason the whole world now knows similarly intimate cast details is that Zak got ahead of the competition.
Did he break the embargo?
“[The Post] let it out early,” said MTV publicist Tamika Young, and then she gave me full permission to do the same. “You’re free to post yours early.” Was she, well, pissed about it? I inquired.
She seemed nonchalant: “We didn’t respond to it,” she said.
So I called Zak ‘s editor, Lynn Medford. Was this any way to treat an embargo? To handle a time-tested journalistic tradition? No, she let me know. Zak had actually gotten permission from MTV. He e-mailed me proof.
hey tamika — can we run our video/story sooner than nov. 1? like oct. 29? when’s the soonest? (nov. 1 is a sunday, and doesn’t work well for us.) please let me know at your earliest convenience.
Young replied: “Oct 29th is fine.”
A few minutes later, I gave Young another ring. By then, her tone had changed a little bit.
“We did chat about it, but I have no further comment on the situation,” she said.