Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Question of the week (#7)

How does your editorial staff handle interactions with public relations personnel?

When groups (often advertisers) want to get a story out they go to their PR groups. Then those PR groups bring their ideas for editorial to you. What's the policy at your magazine on accepting and using such material?

Here's how the ASBPE's "Guide to preferred editorial practices" says to handle PR people.

I.B.5 Public Relations Personnel.
These guidelines outline preferred procedure in dealing with public relations personnel during the preparation of material for publication:

a. If the contact involves arranging for an expert author to produce an article, at an editor’s request, the author should be identified as a guest contributor, with company affiliation and job title clearly listed. The article provided should meet all editorial requirements set by the editors, and should be edited in the manner of staff-generated or freelance-contracted content.

b. Public relations personnel may be asked to help arrange contacts with key sources.

c. When an article idea originates in a public relations department, it is logical for editors and reporters to seek more details from this and other sources.

d. When additional interviews are needed, public relations practitioners may help make appointments and advise editors on appropriate personnel with whom to speak.

e. Public relations personnel are logical sources to provide editors with suitable illustrations to accompany articles, and company clearance for those illustrations, or for designated personnel to speak to the editors, when needed.

f. When the same person handles advertising and public relations responsibilities, a clear distinction should be maintained between the two functions. It is advisable, however, for editorial to seek an alternative source in any case in which a conflict may result.

Click on the comments link below to leave your thoughts.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Editor's Digest (#6)

B-to-B print in decline? Not so fast, please! from Magazine Enterprise 360
Print revenues projected to grow; Internet ads should reap big returns.

WAG Goldilocks statistics from rexblog.com
OK, you don't love working with numbers. I know, that's why you studied journalism. Heck, I thought it was great coasting through college with nary a math course. But not loving something won't get us out of not editing it. So, here's a nice little piece that reminds us how easily facts can become fiction.

The Plus new writers award from Plus magazine
From the site: The competition is open to new writers of any age and from any background who can explain a mathematical topic or application they think the public needs to know about...The competition closes September 30th, 2006.

Pew Global Attitudes Project
from the Pew Research Center
Many of you may already know of the statistical goodies about public interest that can be found on the Pew Research Center's website. The Pew Global Attitudes Project takes a look at what people think from around the world. The most recent addition: Truly a world wide web. It analyzes survey results on Internet usage worldwide.

Publishers changing focus: Web content now more important than print from Folio:
OK, so this feeds in to the whole print-is-dead thing (which I tried to counter in the last Editor's Digest). Instead of looking at the possible negative, let's look at the positive growth magazine brands are seeing on the web.

Pheedo quarterly report details RSS usage trends from Folio:
This is for those of you who know something about RSS feeds. If your website and blog don't have one, I'd suggest looking into it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

New ASBPE ethics code

Note: This post originally apeared on the ASBPE Boston Blog ("New ASBPE ethics code released").

ASBPE has released its new code of ethics, “ASBPE Guidelines for Preferred Editorial Practices.”

The revised code is the product of a six-month review of ethical issues by an ethics committee formed for the purpose. The committee includes six ASBPE officers as well as Jeffrey Seglin, a business ethics expert who writes the New York Times Syndicate's ethics column “The Right Thing.” The committee drew from numerous other ethics guides from journalism associations, B2B publishers, educators, and consultants. It also based the new code on the desires of ASBPE’s members, particularly as revealed in our ethics survey.

The new guidelines go into much greater detail than did the old guidelines, from November 2000. The latest guide also covers subjects not touched on by the earlier code, including graphics, research, trade shows, and contests.

Perhaps most important, the new guidelines advocate that B2B pubs publicize their ethics standards to internal staff, to readers, and to advertisers. Right now, very few business publications seem to publicize their standards outside their own companies. (As I mentioned in an earlier post, PC World is one of the few B2B pubs that does.)

The ethics committee will continue to monitor ethical issues and update the code as needed. The committee will also serve as a sounding board for editors who may raise ethical questions, and will continue ethics conversations though ASBPE’s online discussion forum (members only; login needed) and at conferences and chapter meetings. The committee’s contact information is here.

ASBPE releases new ethics guidelines from PaulConley
Quote: Now our rules on this have been made clear -- tell your readers as much as you can about the sources in your stories. Don't take shortcuts. Don't mislead. Don't say "sources said" when you mean "a source said."
Quote: The ASBPE guide doesn't address everything I would have hoped. For example, there is no clear requirement to label unedited press releases as press releases. Nor is there a call to do a better job of reporting on our own companies by ending the practice of running press releases from our own marketing departments as news (Note, the guide does call for "full attribution to sources," which I interpret as exactly the sort of call to clarity that I want B2B editors to embrace.)

Links to ethics and journalistic standards from the ASBPE

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Editor's Digest (#5)

The future of magazines from Content Matters
Shift the focus of your monthly from news coverage to industry insights.

Don't write the obituary yet; 5 reasons magazines are here to stay from the New York Review of Magazines
Author Nicole Oncina's list:
  1. Magazines are one of the few places to find thoughtful long-form journalism
  2. Magazines are to have and to hold
  3. “The Montage is the Message.”
  4. Magazines are status symbols
  5. McLuhan Loves Magazines
Grammar Slammer from English Plus
An online grammar tool. English Plus sells more expansive versions for computer download.

List of blogging terms from Wikipedia
An introduction to words used in the blogosphere