Said his source at the Journal:
“We won’t take any embargoed information without prior approval of a deputy managing editor.”
However, in chatting with two folks at the Journal today, they acknowledged that while there is truth to the rumor in some senses, it’s not really a new policy and it certainly isn’t as black and white as TechCrunch’s policy (although I’m not sure they really abide by it).
According to one source there, not a lot has changed, in that they are only interested in embargoed data that other folks don’t have access to:
“We can still work on advanced stuff with a certain publication date in mind, but we can’t accept an embargo that ties our hands to a particular time, particularly one that isn’t exclusive.”
A second person at the Journal played it off as a “non-story.” Noting that there hasn’t been any formal memos or meetings around not honoring embargoes. The “non-story” isn’t that surprising given Robert Thomson’s recent doctrine on breaking news. Journal staffers are now openly judged on the stories they break, therefore tying themselves to embargoes that aren’t exclusive doesn’t make much sense for the paper or their career path.
So yes, Journal staffers are less inclined to take embargoed news, but that doesn’t mean they’ll break it. They’re just not interested in news that everyone else has (especially if you’re not a Fortune 500 company). They’ll still work in advance on some (although the number will probably decrease) trend stories, which they’ll just tie to breaking news when they find out about it (like they have before). And, they’ll still wait to cover “embargoed” news from companies like Google: which Google gives them access to in advance (Saying we’re announcing this at 2:00 p.m.), without access to third parties, because they want to write a balanced story (And any Google story ensures site traffic).
The more things change, the more things stay the same.