Embargo/Recording Policies

American Heart Association/American Stroke Association General Embargo/Recording Policies as of Sept. 1, 2014



The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s (AHA/ASA) embargo policies and penalties for breaking an embargo are outlined in this document. Penalties for breaking an embargo may include, but are not limited to: loss of media credentials to AHA/ASA events, loss of access to embargoed materials, possible ban from submitting abstracts for scientific meetings or manuscripts for publication in AHA journals.

AHA/ASA reviews embargo breaks on a case-by-case basis. Circumstances of the embargo violation will be evaluated and may include information provided by the media outlet, individual or company before a determination is made regarding appropriate penalties.

Embargoes for late-breaking clinical trials and Clinical Science Special Reports are handled differently than embargoes for non-late-breaking trials (see below).  For questions, regarding the AHA/ASA’s embargo policies, call the AHA Communications Dept. at 214-706-1173.


Explanation of Embargo Policy

LATE-BREAKING abstracts/studies and Clinical Science Special Reports presented at AHA/ASA scientific meetings:

The embargo time for each study is the beginning of the overall late-breaking plenary session.

NON-LATE-BREAKING abstracts/studies and non-Clinical Science Special Reports presented at AHA/ASA scientific meetings:

The embargo lifts at the time of the AHA/ASA scientific presentation or the AHA news conference, whichever comes first.

Manuscripts/studies published in American Heart Association scientific journals:

Embargoes on journal articles lift the day and time the articles are published online or in print (whichever comes first) by the AHA/ASA. This includes all manuscripts/studies published in AHA scientific journals, including those not being promoted in AHA/ASA news media materials. If a study is also being presented at an AHA/ASA scientific meeting, the journal article and the meeting abstract will publish simultaneously online. All studies published in non-AHA/ASA journals are under embargo until their time of presentation at the AHA/ASA meeting.

Specific embargo times for Late-Breaking abstracts and Clinical Science Special Reports will be updated and posted prior to AHA/ASA meetings.

AHA/ASA news releases, videos, podcasts, photography, and/or other media materials:

  • Embargo dates and times are clearly listed on all AHA/ASA news materials and reflect the time of publication and/or presentation.
  • At the association’s Scientific Sessions and International Stroke Conference, the AHA/ASA communications staff provide advance one-on-one interview opportunities or media briefings for reporters to talk with researchers whose work is featured in AHA/ASA news media materials. These opportunities are arranged so that reporters can develop their story before the embargo lifts. Although advance media opportunities are offered prior to the embargo, they do not supersede or override any embargo time associated with the abstract, manuscript or study.

Who May Receive Embargoed Information:

  • Reporters, writers, producers and editors with staff credentials from newspapers, magazines, online news services, wire services, radio or television networks and stations.
  • Freelancers with approved credentials and/or an assignment letter from an approved media outlet (Freelancers are required to provide three by-lined articles written for major clients within the past six months.)
  • Online news services, online outlets or bloggers that provide daily or weekly coverage of health news.
  • Editors of medical journals who are reporting on news being presented at the meeting.
  • Editors, writers of newsletters created and distributed by universities and hospitals for the public/patient/student.

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Acceptable media credentials for media organizations and freelancers include:

  • National Association for Science Writers (NASW) membership card.
  • International Science Writers Association (ISWA) membership card.
  • Letter on official letterhead from an editor of a recognized publication or a producer of a recognized broadcast program certifying that reporter/freelancer is covering news for the respective organization.
  • Government issued press credentials.
  • Official Media outlet issued credentials/ID.
  • Business cards will not be accepted as credentials.

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Who cannot register as media:

  • Industry representatives and financial or industry analysts.
  • Writers/editors or contributors for patient publications created and distributed by industry, such as pharmaceutical companies or device manufacturers.
  • In-house and/or industry newsletters/magazines/ websites supported by industry or publications supported by a retail chain store, such as a drug store.
  • Staff from public relations firms, advertising agencies or production companies.
  • Representatives of corporate, academic or hospital public relations/advertising/marketing departments.

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Embargo Policies for News Media:

  • The embargoed materials available from the AHA/ASA meetings and journals include original journal articles, abstracts from scientific meetings, written news releases, audio news releases, video news releases and any other materials associated with the scientific information being presented or published.
  • The embargoed information is intended specifically for each reporter’s individual use and is not to be distributed to non-media individuals. By accepting AHA/ASA embargoed materials through e-mail, fax, regular mail, from the AHA’s online Password-Protected Embargoed Media Newsroom site or via media registration for scientific meetings, reporters acknowledge the embargoed information is for their own personal use and they will not distribute or publish the embargoed information prior to the embargo time. The embargo policy also applies to any news release issued by a university/institution/company about a study that is being published in an AHA/ASA journal or presented at an AHA/ASA scientific meeting.
  • Failure to abide by AHA/ASA embargoes will result in suspension of media credentials, which will affect membership privileges to the embargoed password-protected online newsroom, attendance at AHA/ASA meetings, the ability to receive AHA embargoed media materials and to conduct embargoed interviews with AHA/ASA spokespeople.
  • The media outlet that employs the reporter also will potentially be suspended from receiving embargoed materials. If an embargo is broken during an AHA/ASA scientific meeting, the reporter’s media credentials may be suspended immediately and they may be asked to leave the meeting at once and not return.
  • Once a media outlet/reporter has been suspended, it is the responsibility of the reporter and media outlet to reapply to receive embargoed media materials after the suspension period ends.

Policies for Video / Photography / Camera Credentials at AHA/ASA Scientific Meetings (for news media only)

  • No one other than approved news media can shoot photos or video at AHA/ASA scientific meetings.
  • News media who want to shoot video/photos at the meeting will receive their camera credentials upon their registration at the meeting.
  • Once media receive their camera credentials, they may shoot photos/video in the main concourse and in select plenary sessions only.
  • Recorded B-roll and interviews at the Convention Center during a scientific meeting is prohibited for non-registered news media (see one b-roll exception below.) The best option for any interviews would be to secure a meeting room or other room at a nearby hotel.
  • B-roll exception -- If a company is an exhibitor and wishes to have a production crew take photos or record video/b-roll of the booth, they must get permission and make arrangements directly with the AHA Exhibit manager at exhibits@heart.org.
  •  Photography, video and recorded interviews are not allowed in the Science and Technology Hall. (See exceptions below)

Policies for Recording Devices/Photography at Scientific Sessions 

General still photography and recording guidelines for registered media
Registered media attending scientific presentations may use video cameras, still photography or audio recording under the conditions described below.  
  • All cameras must be registered by the AHA Communication’s staff and display a camera registration tag.
  • Non-flash photography of speakers during oral or poster scientific presentations and his/her materials is permitted to registered media.
  • Hallway/concourse interviews – audio recordings, video recordings and still photography by accredited reporters is permitted  in hallways and concourse areas; however, the media representative must cease their recording/photographing  if a member of the AHA staff deems it disruptive.
  • Audiotape recording in meeting/presentation rooms for strictly personal and non-commercial use is permitted if not disruptive.
  • Still photographs or audio recordings taken in meeting rooms/presentations for commercial use require advance consent by the AHA and the speaker prior to publication.
Broadcast media video recording guidelines:
  • All cameras must be registered by the AHA Communication’s staff and display a camera registration tag.
  • Video recording by AHA credentialed broadcast media is permitted in the AHA News Media Center which includes news conferences and broadcast interview rooms.
  • Video recording is also permitted in the meeting concourse and hallways unescorted, as long as it is not disruptive.
  • No video recording is allowed in Scientific Sessions meetings and/or poster sessions.
  • Exception:  AHA-credentialed broadcast media may record video of the daily Late Breaking Clinical Trials (LBCT) presentations from a lockdown position on a riser available for news media in the LBCT presentation hall. No roaming photography/videography is allowed.  All interviews with presenters must be conducted after the LBCT presentation is complete.
Photography/Video in the Science and Technology Hall:
  • Media must have permission from a booth staff person/manager in order to use flash photography in a booth located in the Science and Technology Hall.   Media using flash photography in a booth in the Science and Technology Hall do not need to be escorted by AHA Communications staff. No roaming photography is allowed.
  • AHA-credentialed broadcast media wishing to record video in the Science and Technology must request permission from AHA Communications staff and schedule an AHA escort during the video recording.
  • AHA will provide at least one pre-determined location for broadcast television crews to lockdown a tripod and record general B-roll of activity in AHA Heart Quarters Exhibit only. No roaming photography/videography is allowed. 
  • Recording video/specific B-roll of other exhibit booths is prohibited.
  • If a Science and Technology Hall booth manager wants to allow a broadcast media group to record video of their booth the booth manager must request permission and an escort through their AHA Science and Technology Hall manager.  This cannot be approved by AHA Communications staff.
  • Recording video interviews are prohibited in the Science and Technology Hall. All exhibitor interviews must be conducted outside of the main Science and Technology Hall area.
  • Science and Technology Hall B-roll may only be taken Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., local time, Monday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. local time, and Tuesday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. local time, with an AHA escort.
  • The AHA/ASA retains the right to cancel video recording in the Exhibit Hall should it become disruptive or potentially impact the safety and security of participants.

Embargo Policies for Researchers / Scientists / Spokespersons:

  • Abstracts or manuscripts accepted for presentation at AHA/ASA scientific meetings or to be published in an AHA journal may not be presented at other meetings or published in other journals prior to the embargo time set by the AHA/ASA.
  • Any researcher associated with an abstract being presented at an AHA/ASA scientific meeting or with a manuscript being published in an AHA journal must comply with the embargo policies of the AHA/ASA. Researchers may not distribute embargoed written or visual information (slides, manuscript, etc.) to the news media, to any commercial entity, or to anyone externally prior to the embargo date and time; however, they are allowed to conduct embargoed media interviews as long as the embargo date and time are emphasized to the news media.
  • The researcher’s institution (medical and academic institution or health agency) may issue an embargoed release on non-late-breaking studies two business days prior to embargo, but they are not allowed to issue any embargoed information on Late-Breaking Clinical Trials or Clinical Science Special Reports being presented at AHA/ASA scientific meetings (see Embargo Policies for Medical Institutions/Universities).
  • If the news media breaks an embargo as a result of a researcher conducting an embargoed interview or as the result of their public relations department /agency or institution providing them with written or visual information, the researcher risks having his study pulled from being published in and AHA Journal or presented at an AHA/ASA scientific meeting.
  • Failure to honor embargoes may also jeopardize future acceptance of studies and/or exhibition at AHA/ASA scientific meetings or acceptance of manuscripts for publication in AHA scientific journals.
  • Researchers who are presenting their study in an AHA/ASA embargoed media briefing or news conference may bring one co-author of the study as a guest to the AHA/ASA media event. Corporate sponsor representatives are not allowed in any AHA/ASA media event at an AHA/ASA scientific meeting.

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 Embargo Policies for AHA/ASA Scientific Statements and Guidelines Writing Committee members:

  • AHA/ASA guidelines/statements are embargoed during their development, and members of the writing committee are not allowed to share any information about the content of the statement/guideline with the news media or colleagues prior to the AHA’s Communications Dept. issuing an embargoed news release.
  • If the AHA/ASA is developing a news release to highlight the statement/guidelines, the AHA/ASA will work with the chair or co-chair of the writing group as a representative of the writing group. Only the chair or co-chair may conduct media interviews about the statement/guideline, except in rare instances that must be approved by AHA/ASA Communications staff.
  • AHA/ASA statements and guidelines represent AHA/ASA positions. Institutions and universities may not issue embargoed news releases to promote their faculty member’s participation as a member of the writing group until the embargo has lifted. Please note that AHA/ASA has Communications staff across the U.S. who will promote the statements or guideline locally.
  • If the AHA/ASA is not developing a news release to highlight the statement/guideline, this policy still applies.
  • All AHA/ASA writing committee members must agree to this embargo policy as part of their AHA/ASA’s non-disclosure agreement.

Embargo Policies for Medical Institutions / Universities / Health Organizations:

  • Studies published in AHA/ASA Journals:  Universities, medical institutions and health organizations who are involved in a study may distribute their own embargoed news releases 2 business days prior to the embargo and authors of studies and representatives from the institution may conduct embargoed media interviews during the embargo period. However, no one other than AHA is allowed to issue embargoed media materials pertaining to scientific statements, guidelines, Clinical Science Special Reports or late-breaking clinical trials.  
  • Scientific statements and guidelines: Universities, medical institutions or health organizations are not allowed to issue/distribute embargoed news releases or other information about AHA/ASA scientific statements or guidelines prior to embargo.
  • Late-breaking clinical trials and Clinical Science Special Reports presented at AHA/ASA scientific meetings: Universities, medical institutions or health organizations may not issue any embargoed news releases or other information prior to the embargo. The embargo time for late-breaking trials/special reports is at the beginning of the plenary session at an AHA/ASA scientific meeting.
  • No individual, institution, agency or organization, other than the AHA/ASA, may distribute the study’s manuscript, abstract or presentation materials, such as slides, that include specific information about the study prior to the AHA/ASA embargo time.  Contact the AHA/ASA Communications Dept. at 214-706-1173 to request manuscripts or presentation materials.
  • Universities and medical institutions must alert the AHA/ASA Communications Dept. about their release by providing the name of the study, the first and last authors’ names that are listed on the study and the journal or meeting where the study is being published or presented. AHA/ASA also asks that the universities/medical institutions include the name of the AHA journal where the study is being published or the name of the AHA/ASA’s scientific meeting where the study is being presented in their news release.  For questions, contact the AHA/ASA Communications Dept.at newsreleasenotifications@heart.org or call (214) 706-1173.  AHA/ASA does not approve or review news material content developed by universities/medical institutions, but does need to be aware in case AHA/ASA staff receive media inquiries about the materials.
  • Upon request, AHA/ASA may make the institution/university/organization’s embargoed news release available in the news conference/media briefing room as well as the working newsroom for studies presented at an AHA/ASA scientific meeting news conference or embargoed media briefing. For AHA/ASA scientific meetings, the embargo time for a late-breaking study and Clinical Science Special Reports is the beginning of the plenary session. For non-late-breaking studies and non-Clinical Science Special Reports, the embargo time is time of presentation or news conference, whichever comes first.
  • Universities, medical institutions and health organizations who need to confirm embargo dates and times should contact AHA/ASA Communications Dept. at (214) 706-1173 or newsreleasenotifications@heart.org.
  • Universities, medical institutions and health organizations must obtain specific study information from the researcher. AHA/ASA will only provide the embargo date and time and will not provide anyone with study information unless the researcher contacts the AHA/ASA asking them to provide the information.
  • Universities, medical institutions and health organizations whose information is being presented at an AHA/ASA scientific meeting may not conduct any embargoed promotional media activities other than sending out an embargoed news release and conducting individual embargoed media interviews. Promotional media activities refer to any activity that may involve multiple news media outlets, including media briefings/news conferences, satellite media tours, corporate receptions, investigator meetings, etc.
  • Only the presenter/lead author of the study and one co-author of the study being presented in an AHA/ASA embargoed media briefing or news conference at a scienitfic meeting are allowed to attend the media event.
  • At AHA Scientific Sessions, universities and medical institutions may register to have their own media material displayed in the Online Industry Newsroom for a fee (See Online Industry Newsroom section for more information.)
  • If media break an embargo as a result of a university, medical institution or health organization issuing information or conducting an interview, the AHA/ASA may enforce sanctions against the reporter/media outlet, the researcher/scientist and university/institution/company as appropriate.

Embargo Policies for Companies / Corporate Sponsors of Studies

  • Pharmaceutical companies, device manufacturers or companies that are corporate sponsors of a study are prohibited from issuing embargoed news releases, statements or proactively promoting their spokespeople prior to embargo. They also are not allowed to conduct any type of event where media are in attendance prior to embargo. However, corporate sponsors may make representatives available to answer incoming inquiries from the media during the embargo period.
  • At AHA Scientific Sessions, companies may register to have their own media material displayed uin Online Industry Newsroom for a fee (See Online Industry Newsroom section for more information.)
  • If a company feels that for legal reasons it is obligated to release information about a study prior to the embargo, the company must notify AHA/ASA in advance in writing regarding the legal rationale as to why the information must be disclosed, and advise specifically who would receive the information, how/when the information would be disclosed and exactly what information would be released. AHA/ASA then will determine whether the study shall remain on the program of an AHA/ASA meeting or be published in an AHA/ASA scientific journal. One specific consideration will be whether the company plans to release qualitative information (i.e., the primary endpoint was/was not met) rather than quantitative data (specific study results).
  • Representatives from public relation agencies or companies involved in a study are NOT allowed in embargoed media briefings or news conferences at AHA/ASA scientific meetings.  The only exception is when a representative of a company is an author of a study being presented in an AHA/ASA embargoed media briefing or news conference.
  • Industry and exhibitor events for the news media may not be held during Scientific Sessions operating hours.  Permission for officially-sanctioned satellite events must be obtained from the AHA Scientific Meetings staff.  Media should not be invited and are not permitted to attend investigator meetings.  Violating this policy in considered an embargo break and penalties apply.
  • The media interview rooms are for media only and can only be reserved by them.  PR representatives are not allowed to use any media center rooms for their activities and will have to conduct their activities elsewhere.
  • Companies that have questions about issuing news releases should contact the AHA Communications Dept. at (214) 706-1173 or newsreleasenotifications@heart.org.

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AHA's Scientific Sessions Online Industry Newsroom

  • During the AHA's Scientific Sessions, companies/institutions/PR agencies may register to ahave their media materials displayed in the Online Industry Newsroom.  They may not distribute any materials in or around the News Media Center other than in the Online Industry Newsroom.
  • A fee is required for for the Online Industry Newsroom.  For more information on and how to register for this online newsroom email onlineindustrynewsroom@heart.org or call (214) 706-1173.
  • Once a company has registered for the Scientific Sessions Online Industry Newsroom, they must send their media materials to onlineindustrynewsroom@heart.org so they can be posted in the online newsroom.
  • All media materials to be displayed in the Online Industry Newsroom may include news releases, background information and other industry information.  Upon request, if a news releasse pertains to a study being presented in an AHA/ASA news conference/embargoed media briefing, it can also be made available to the media in the news conference/media briefing room and the working newsroom. Companies are responsible for providing printed copiesof their news release to AHA Communications staff on site so they can distribute it to the media.
  • General background information and media kits may be displayed in the Online Industry Newsroom, but will not be placed in the news conference/ media briefing room. 
  • Company representatives may not pass out literature, statements or news releases in or around the adjacent hallways and areas of the News Conference/Media Briefing room and the media's Working Newsroom.
  • Upon receipt of media materials during Scientific Sessions, AHA Communications staff need at least four hours during business hours to post media materials in the Online Industry Newsroom.


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