Dan Shapley / News Editor
Israeli acute paralysis virus, a new virus possibly imported from Australia, could be one culprit in the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder, the mysterious disease striking bees.
That's the word from DelawareOnline.Com, the Web site of the Wilmington (Delaware) News Journal -- which apparently broke an embargo and published an Associated Press story about the results four hours (according to the time stamp on the story) ahead of schedule. The journal Science had imposed the embargo after releasing the information to reporters several days ago. A simple Google News search for "bee science" turned up the story.
Here's an excerpt:
WASHINGTON â Scientific sleuths have a new suspect for what''s been killing billions of honeybees: a virus previously unknown in the United States. The scientists report using a novel genetic technique and old-fashioned statistics to identify Israeli acute paralysis virus as the latest potential culprit in the widespread deaths of worker bees, a phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder. Next up are attempts to infect honeybees with the newfound virus to see if it''s indeed a killer.
Newspapers are routinely asked to observe embargoes on information, particularly new scientific discoveries. The deal between sources and journalists is made so that reporters can get early access to new information -- and enough time to ask appropriate questions on complex topics -- before news hits the world. It also lets news-makers control the news cycle on a story. In this case, the results had been discussed in a press call earlier this week, and reporters were asked to wait to publish until 2 p.m. today.
News outlets, of course, are always hungry for a scoop. The new bee disease research had already been leaked, in smaller pieces, over the past several weeks. Here are two examples, here and here, submitted by community journalists from The Daily Green. And here's a summary of the state of the embargo in The Daily Green's blog by Kim Flottum, The Beekeeper.
As it happens, the Science asked DelawareOnline.com to remove the story, and they did -- though a caching issue may have left it accessible for some time afterward. This story was also removed from the Web, for a period of time prior to 2 p.m., at the request of Science.
Gene Sequence Key To Bee Disease Breakthrough
New Site Breaks Embargo, Releases Bee Study
The Daily Green Saves The Bees: Ongoing coverage of Colony Collapse Disorder
The Beekeeper: Kim Flottum's blog about Colony Collapse Disorder
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