Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Online ethics tool

This post is from the ASBPE Boston Blog ("Online tool helps support ethical decision-making").

Here's a potentially useful resource: The American Society of Newspaper Editors and The Poynter Institute offer an online Ethics Tool designed to guide you through a solution to an ethical problem. The tool poses a series of questions and then compiles your responses into a printable document you can use to analyze the problem.

In light of ASBPE's ethics survey results showing that a significant number of B2B editors feel their publications "only sometimes" back them on ethical issues, it seems as if this tool could be useful. For instance, an editor could use it to help map out an argument to convince managers that an ethical dilemma does, in fact, exist. And it couldn't hurt to be able to point out that two respected organizations, ASNE and Poynter, created the standards used in the decision-making process.

In order to protect your confidentiality, you must be a registered Poynter user to use the tool (registration is free). Once you've answered the initial questions, you can invite other staff members will be able to collaborate on the project and upload relevant documents if they register too; only you and those invited by you are able to see your case information. But if you'd rather skip the online process and just work out your problem on paper, you can do that by printing out this questionnaire. The questionnaire is directed toward deciding whether or not to publish information; it doesn't sem to have been designed to answer questions such as whether it's ethical to sell ad space on a gatefold cover.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Meeting recap: Research and reveal

The three panelists discuss how to conduct effective industry research.
By Jody Shee

B-to-B publishers no longer can merely depend on their print publications, trade shows and websites to earn the revenues they need in an era of shrinking advertising dollars. Given their expertise in the industries they cover, it makes sense to increase revenues by adding to and channeling that knowledge into sellable research, said a three-person panel at the April meeting of the Kansas City chapter of the American Society of Business Publication Editors.

Whether your publication conducts primary, editorially driven research or analyzes secondary research conducted by others, you can publish limited results in the magazine and sell a more complete hard copy or an online version, said Marjorie Troxel Hellmer, vice president of Cypress Research Associates in Kansas City, Mo.

One form of effective research is a brand usage and attitudes survey of the top five brands in your industry, Troxel Hellmer said. Magazines can ask their subscribers to rank the brands in several areas. In publishing the results, you may be able to increase advertising sales among those brands as you provide a service for them that they may not be able to do themselves.

Most of the 200-plus studies conducted by Prism Business Media in Overland Park, Kan., are primary editorial research projects to provide fresh content for the publications and to present at trade shows, said Lynn Adelmund, Prism’s director of marketing research. Much of the research benchmarks operations important to the trades the magazines serve.

For example, one magazine studies how much corporate marketers spend on coupons, point-of-purchase materials and other marketing methods, she said. Another survey studies salaries and another provides state-of-the industry studies.

Research allows you to create original content that may be picked up by the national news media and wire services, Adelmund said. It also provides information about your audience, which is compelling reading to them.

Additionally, primary research leverages your publication as the most important and authoritative source for information, she adds.

Expansion Management magazine published by Cleveland-based Penton Media has created an information and marketing niche by conducting annual research to help corporate executives evaluate future expansion locations. The magazine analyzes areas of the country for their middle-class livability, including school ratings, crime rates, home costs and traffic conditions, said chief editor Bill King.

While the research primarily is intended for the magazine audience, the company has found that by offering information about the research on its website, it gets requests for the for-sale information from other industries and families. This builds the audience and the revenues. “Revenue solves all problems,” he adds. King estimates that 30 percent of the magazine’s annual revenues come from research.

All the panel members agree that if you conduct primary research, whether driven by the editorial or advertising staff, it’s important to allow editorial to have a hand in it since they know the audience better than the advertising staff does. Adelmund offers this advice to editorial teams:
  • Include your research reporting plans to your annual editorial calendar to keep yourself on task.
  • Divide your topic study into segments to allow for fewer, more precise questions, which will encourage a higher response rate and will give you more areas of study.
  • Update your research regularly to provide a point of reference for comparing results from one study to the next.
  • “And when the study reaches a point of decline, stop doing the study,” she recommends.
And when you release new research, send an email announcement to your advertising base and the media with links to your website, to the study and to a press release, King said, adding that it’s not a good idea to attach a PDF file to the email as it is slow.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Don't miss out!

Don't forget to RSVP for the Kansas City chapter of the American Society of Business Publication Editors' April 12 panel discussion on conducting effective industry research.

If you would like to attend, please send an e-mail to Amy Fischbach, Kansas City chapter president by noon today, April 11. We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Editor's Digest (#4)

The twilight of objectivity from Slate
A good article on the shift from objective news coverage to opinion-based coverage. News and issue coverage on the internet through blogs and podcasts is becoming more personalized, communal and thought-driven, should print media reconsider it's bias against reporter bias?

For more on this topic, read Objecting to objectivity from PaulConley.

I agree with you, completely from Slate
A brief report of the findings reported by two economists about bias in the media.

Competing with non-magazine blogs from MagazineEnterprise360
You have a print publication. They don't. What they do have are engaging, informed blogs. What you have in print doesn't matter online. Online it's your blog vs. theirs. Are you going to let them win?

Intermittent blogging and traffic from B or not 2B
Failure to regularly blog will cost you readers. Keep up on your posts and watch readership grow.

Do questions make good headlines? from GameDaily BIZ's Media Coverage (found via B or not 2B)
Make sure your questionable heads are drawing your readers in without making them feel cheated.

A quick thought:
"If your magazine is thinking about launching a blog, it's a good idea to have an idea of what the blog will do that is different from what the magazine does. Sometimes the difference is nothing more than a more frequent publishing schedule. But the smartest folks in publishing will use a blog to extend a magazine brand deeper into the lives of its readers."
You can read all of Paul Conley's post here.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Question of the week (#6)

How should editors handle advertiser freebies?

As an editor, stuff comes your way. Now, we b2b editors may not be privy to the same swag as our compatriots the consumer pubs, but stuff comes our way nonetheless — sometimes really cool stuff.

Should editors accept gifts from advertisers?
And are we only talking about big gifts here? Or do you think the little things count? I may be willing to give up my collection of pens with advertisers' names on the sides, but I really would be very sad to part with the USB flash drives from advertisers. Oh, and I have that nice computer bag too...

Should editors let outside companies pay for their travel costs?
Is there a distinction between a company paying for an editor to come listen to an advertising spiel and paying for an editor to attend a sponsored lecture series or something else along lines of being a benefit to the industry? What if the advertiser pays for the editor's travel to cover a special event or product launch?

Does accepting these gifts automatically affect editorial? Or can a magazine's other policies prevent the appearance of favoritism in print?

If gifts are acceptable under some circumstances, how transparent should the giving be?

Click on the comments link below to leave your thoughts.