American Heart Association/American Stroke Association General Embargo Policies
Embargoes play an important part in disseminating breaking science-related news to the media. Embargoes give the news media the opportunity to receive and discuss all the facts in a timely manner with healthcare professionals so they can develop thoughtful, multi-perspective, well-balanced interpretations of study findings. Embargoes are especially important to journalists because they give reporters time to also understand the impact study findings may have on patients and professionals.
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 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.
LATE-BREAKING abstracts/studies presented at AHA/ASA scientific meetings:
For late-breaking clinical trial studies being presented at an AHA/ASA scientific meeting, the embargo is the time of each individual scientific presentation (not the beginning of the overall plenary session). News media activities (advance media briefings, news releases, etc.) promoting late-breaking clinical trials are under embargo until the time of presentation.
NON-LATE-BREAKING abstracts/studies presented at AHA/ASA scientific meetings:
For non-late-breaking trials, 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 as a late-breaking clinical trial, the journal article and the meeting abstract will publish simultaneously online at the time of the scientific presentation at the meeting. If a study is also being presented at an AHA/ASA scientific meeting as a non-late breaking clinical trial, the journal article and the meeting abstract will publish simultaneously online at the time of the scientific presentation or AHA news event, whichever comes first.
AHA/ASA news releases, videos, podcasts, photography, and/or other media materials:
- AHA/ASA selects specific studies that they proactively promote in their media materials. Regardless of whether or not a study is promoted by the AHA/ASA, everyone must adhere to the association’s embargo policies.
- Embargo dates and times are clearly listed on all AHA/ASA news materials and reflect the time of publication and/or presentation.
The AHA/ASA communications staff provides 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. (Please see below for specific instructions that may apply to you). 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 or online outlets that provide daily or weekly coverage of health news.
- Bloggers who are associated with traditional media outlets or those who report on breaking health news on a daily/weekly basis.
- Editors, writers of newsletters created and distributed by universities and hospitals for the public/patient/student.
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
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.
Embargo Policies for News Media:
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, news release, manuscript, etc.) to the news media prior to expiration of the embargo period; however, they are allowed to conduct embargoed media interviews as long as the embargo date and time are emphasized to the news media.
- 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 or presented at an AHA/ASA scientific meeting. No individual, institution, agency or organization, other than the AHA/ASA, may distribute written or visual media materials relating to the scientific information prior to the AHA/ASA embargo time.
- 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 co-authors of a study to be presented at an AHA/ASA news conference may attend a news conference as guests as long as their name appears on the abstract being presented at the news conference.
Embargo Policies for AHA Writing Committee members:
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- AHA/ASA spokespersons/writing committee members are not allowed to share any information with the news media prior to the AHA’s Communications Dept. issuing its embargoed release. However, once the AHA/ASA release has been disseminated to the news media, designated AHA/ASA spokespersons and/or the chair of the writing committee may conduct embargoed media interviews.
- Prior to the embargo, all AHA/ASA writing committee members must seek permission from the chair of the writing committee and AHA Communications Dept. prior to conducting any embargoed media interviews.
- AHA manuscripts/abstracts involving AHA guidelines/statements are considered to be embargoed during their development. The embargo is in place until the embargo date and time which has been set by the AHA. All AHA/ASA writing committee members have agreed to this embargo policy as part of their AHA/ASA’s non-disclosure agreement.
Embargo Policies for Institutions / Universities / Companies / Public Relations agencies:
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- Institutions/universities/companies/PR agencies are not allowed to distribute their embargoed news release prior to the embargo, which is when an abstract/study is published in an AHA/ASA journal or presented at an AHA/ASA scientific meeting.
- Upon approval by AHA/ASA Communications staff, once a study’s embargo date/time has been established by the AHA, companies/PR agencies/institutions are allowed to issue a media alert (without study results) and are able to arrange embargoed one-on-one media interviews with their spokespeople as long as they emphasize the embargo date and time to the news media. The media alert is to be used as a tool to promote the fact that they have spokespeople available to discuss the study but it should not contain any specific outcomes data about the study. If the study’s title reflects the outcome of the study, then a description of what the study is about can be used but not the title.
- No individual, institution, agency or organization, other than the AHA, may distribute any materials that include specific information about the study prior to the AHA/ASA embargo time.
- The study author’s name and contact information is listed on the AHA’s news release and media can contact them directly for interviews. Upon request, AHA will also include the contact information for the PR person at the institution/company/agency.
- If a study is being presented in an AHA scientific meeting news conference/media briefing, upon request, the AHA will put the news release from the institution/company/PR agency in the news conference/media briefing room as well as the working newsroom so that reporters have access to their information. The embargo time on the release for a late-breaking study should be the time of presentation and for a non-late-breaking study should be the time of presentation or news media event, whichever comes first.
- 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 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 then will determine whether the study shall remain on the program of an AHA/ASA meeting or be published in an AHA scientific journal. A 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).
- Institutions/universities/companies who want to find out the exact embargo date and time of a study should contact AHA National Center Communications Dept (214-706-1173). AHA staff will advise them as to when the study will be published or presented at a scientific meeting and if the AHA plans on doing a news release on the study. If AHA is doing a release about the same study, AHA will also include the leading author’s name and contact information on the AHA release.
- Institutions/universities/companies who want to get specific study information being published/presented, should get it from the researcher, not the AHA. AHA will only provide the embargo date and time and will not provide anyone with study information unless the researcher contacts the AHA asking them to provide the information.
- Institutions/universities/companies/PR agencies/individuals whose information is being presented at an AHA scientific meeting may not conduct any embargoed promotional media activities (other than individual embargoed media interviews) prior to the embargo or during the official program times of an AHA/ASA scientific meeting. 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.
- At AHA/ASA Scientific Sessions, institutions/universities/companies may display their media materials in the Industry Newsroom (see Industry Newsroom section for more information).
- If media break an embargo as a result of a university/institution/company/PR agency issuing information or conducting an interview, then AHA may enforce sanctions against the reporter/media outlet as well as the researcher/scientist and university/institution/company as appropriate.
Policies for Video / Photography / Camera Credentials at AHA/ASA Scientific Meetings (for news media only)
- No one other than approved news media can shoot photography or video at AHA/ASA scientific meetings.
- News media who want to shoot video/photography at the meeting must advise AHA Communications staff and then media will receive their camera credentials upon their registration at the meeting.
- Once media receive their camera credentials, they may shoot photography/video in the main concourse and in select plenary sessions only.
- 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 the company has a booth in the Science and Technology Hall and wishes to have a production crew take photography or videotape b-roll of the booth, they must get permission and make arrangements directly with the AHA Exhibit manager. Photography and videotaped interviews are not allowed on the exhibit hall floor.
- All non-media requests for camera credentials should contact is Julie Davis at 214-706-1943 or Julie.email@example.com
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, videotaping 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 videotaping guidelines:
- All cameras must be registered by the AHA communication’s staff and display a camera registration tag.
- Videotaping by AHA credentialed broadcast media is permitted in the AHA News Media Center which includes news conferences and broadcast interview rooms.
- Videotaping is also permitted in the meeting concourse and hallways unescorted, as long as it is not disruptive.
- Scientific Sessions and meetings and/or poster sessions may not be videotaped.
- Exception: AHA-credentialed broadcast media may videotape 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 is allowed. All interviews with presenters must be conducted after the LBCT presentation is complete.
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 videotape in the Science and Technology must request permission from AHA Communications staff and schedule an AHA escort during the videotaping.
- AHA will provide at least one pre-determined location for broadcast television crews to lockdown a tripod and videotape general B-roll of activity in AHA Heart Quarters Exhibit only. No roaming photography is allowed.
- Videotaping 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 videotape their booth the booth manager must request permission and an escort through their AHA Science and Technology Hall manager. This cannot be approved by Communications staff.
- Videotaped 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 videotaping in the Exhibit Hall should it become disruptive or potentially impact the safety and security of participants.
AHA's Scientific Sessions Industry Newsroom:
- During AHA’s Scientific Sessions, companies/institutions/PR agencies may register for access to the Industry Newsroom where they may display their media materials. They may not distribute any materials in or around the News Media Center other than in the Industry Newsroom. Media materials relating to a specific study may not be displayed in the Industry Newsroom prior to the embargo date and time.
- The Industry Newsroom is provided for corporate, industry and academic communications and public relations representatives to use as a working room and to display approved materials. A fee is required for registration in the Industry Newsroom. For more information about the Industry Newsroom and how to register for this room, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (214) 706-1857.
- Public information or public relations officials of universities, government agencies and non-profit organizations whose scientists are presenting research at the meeting are allowed to register for free as guests in the Industry Newsroom. However, companies or academic institutions must pay a fee to register and to display media materials in the Industry Newsroom.
- All materials must be approved by AHA staff prior to distribution in the Industry Newsroom and may include product news releases and other industry information pertaining to the AHA/ASA’s scientific meeting program. Upon request, if a news release pertains to a study being presented in an AHA/ASA news conference, it can also be made available to the media in the News Conference Room and the Media Newsroom. These materials must be approved by assigned AHA staff and will only be distributed by AHA staff.
- 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.
- Approved materials provided by industry or academia for the media must be submitted to AHA communications staff at least two hours before the presentation for approval.
- General background information and full print media kits may be placed in the Industry Newsroom, but will not be placed in the News Conference/Media Briefing Room. However, if industry/academic news materials pertain specifically to study that is being presented at an AHA/ASA news conference, approved materials will be placed in the News Conference/Media Briefing Room by AHA staff just before the news conference and will be moved to the news media’s Working Newsroom by AHA staff following the presentation.
- Revocation of media or guest credentials. The AHA/ASA reserves the right to revoke or deny attendance of any registered participant, speaker, exhibitor, news media reporter or photographer of presentations or activities at AHA/ASA scientific conferences and meetings.
- 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.
- Non-AHA news media materials may not be distributed by e-mail, postal mail or in person until the embargo lifts on the abstract/study, even if they are sent out labeled with the correct embargo date and time.
- Violating this policy is considered an embargo break and penalties apply (see detailed embargo policy).