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.

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