At Last: Study Confirms EPA 'Friday Surprise' Press Release Trend

November 16, 2011

For years, reporters have believed that EPA and other federal agencies had a tendency to issue press releases about unpopular actions late on Friday, a point in the news cycle when media may overlook them. Now statistics confirms the hunch.

Researchers at the nonprofit and nonpartisan think tank Resources for the Future fed into their computers some 21,493 press releases issued by EPA between 1994 and 2009.

Their conclusion: "Press releases announcing enforcement actions or regulatory changes were issued more often on Fridays and before holidays, a time when news has the least impact on media coverage and financial markets."

  • "Strategic Release of News at the EPA," Resources for the Future, October 2011, by Lucija Anna Muehlenbachs, Elisabeth Newcomb Sinha, and Nitish Ranjan Sinha (RFF Discussion Paper 11-45) October 2011.