When the legendary H. L. Mencken, as a rookie journalist, was assigned to cover political upheaval in Cuba in 1918.  When he arrived the government had implemented a news blackout and would not permit any telegrams to be sent regarding the events that were occurring.  Mencken linked up with a clever local who was sure that the news embargo could be bypassed.  While his stymied and infuriated colleagues expressed their frustration with the government, Mencken and his local guide went down to the waterfront and paid (half now, half when the job is done) a boater to send the stories from Florida to Mencken’s editor in Baltimore.  The paper scored several scoops using this example of capitalistic enterprise.  Mencken outmaneuvered the competition and established himself as a superstar of the journalism world with a variation on the “end run.”

And you thought a “news embargo” was a modern technique?



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